Date of Award

Fall 2013

Degree Type

Professional Project - Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Public Service

Department

College of Professional Studies

Abstract

Drawing on a narrative analysis of Black women and their leadership, this project focuses on a Black woman’s need to navigate the intersection of race and gender in the 21st century. In a time when there are more opportunities for Black people and women than ever before, why is addressing this even relevant? This endeavor was motivated when the principal investigator was hired as the first and only Black woman to be Associate Director for a 40-year old program that serves 250 low-income and first generation students at a local post-secondary institution. The purpose of this project is to shed light on Black women and leadership, especially in the City of Milwaukee, for a new generation of potential leaders. Women, ages 20-35 who are seeking to direct the trajectory of their lives in a way that makes significant change, gathered and spoke about the desire to understand better their needs and responsibilities to lead. Utilizing the Critical Race Theory (CRT) and Black feminist theory, the gap in literature indicates the relevance of this project. Wanting to ensure that leadership literature includes Black women from the millennial generation in 20 years, this project sought the inspiration and guidance of current leadership. This project asks six Black women leaders, who currently reside in Milwaukee, how they learned to lead and what it takes to lead successfully. In looking to create a path of lifetime success, there is little research that adequately explains ‘the what’ and ‘the how’ concerning what it takes to lead as a Black woman, both in position and influence. While every person’s learning is different and personal experience has a large impact, this project found similarities in attitude, communication, and active contribution to changing and maintaining internal and external perspective.

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