› Are you an African American professional looking to change or enhance your career? Listen to the voices of these African American professionals as they tell their career stories in their own words:
Vice President of Marketing and Sales
I am an African American female in an industry that is very supportive of females, though we are not equally represented in senior level positions. Being a double minority has not been a hindrance in my career, because my success is easily documented by growth numbers. However, African Americans in senior level positions are more scarce than females.
Discrimination will always exist in the work world, just like in real life. African American females must always keep their focus on their career and watch their backs. This is done by creating allies and carefully monitoring the social and political climate of the workplace.
My job is to ensure company growth through membership and client retention. This is where my strong intuitive and creative abilities play an important role, as it is critical to have a finger on the pulse of the industry, economy and competition at all times.
Sports Marketing Executive
I have seen discrimination in a look, in an innocuous comment, and in many sideways jokes. It is never anything serious enough to report, but it is always clear enough, and the attitude of that person becomes evident.
This job does move my heart, because I love baseball. I love watching the young talent come through here and develop into major league ballplayers. I love the fact that I have brought some of the players to the attention of the majors, and even helped them get signed to their first contracts.
I have definitely found my sweet spot, because I am involved with the game that I love, and I take pride in having mastered a professional and technical skill set that was not expected of me.
In the educational field, especially in high school and middle school, being African American and male are a tremendous advantage, as both groups are underrepresented when compared to student demographics.
Unfortunately, I also encounter awkward situations in which my colleagues automatically nominate me to speak to specific students or parents based on a shared ethnic background. I know they have good intentions, but it is a little insulting and frustrating at times. Sometimes, I wish I could explain to them that being African American doesn’t mean I have an instant connection to every other African American on the planet; there is no secret code or language.
I think everyone wishes they could change parts of their job or work situation, but for me, at the end of the day, I get to work with kids, so everyday is a great day.
Survey Research Assistant Manager
This employment experience has provided much needed clarity in my long-term career aspirations. The ability to comprehend and apply statistics is extremely valuable in business and life. I have a more mature understanding of research and communication as well.
I am African American and Cherokee Native American. Honestly, for me it is best to just get the job done and go home; people choose to be offended more often than not. Discrimination seems irrelevant to me in 2011, to me it's best to just move on and achieve.
Correctional System Case Manager
Sometimes we get clients who are working very hard to have a better life when they get released. They take advantage of all the educational programs that are available. I occasionally get letters from them thanking me for my help and telling me that they are doing well. It makes me feel good to know we are getting through to some of the juveniles, and that they are being rehabilitated.
For the most part, my ethnicity and gender have been assets when dealing with clients, particularly African American males. They seem to be relaxed when talking to me. They openly discuss their fears and concerns about their court cases.
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