These Former C-Suite Executives Founded An Entire Month Dedicated To Black Professionals. Here’s How

BLACK PROFESSIONALS MONTH IS DESCRIBED AS 31 DAYS OF SUPPORT THROUGH VIRTUAL WORKSHOPS, PANELS, CONFERENCES, AND OTHER PROGRAMS.

Black professionals hold only 3.2 percent of all executive or senior leadership roles and less than one percent of all Fortune 500 CEO positions. 

Former Reebok executive Denise Kaigler and her friend Jerome Hutchinson, Jr., who once led programming at Radio One and CBS Radio had first-hand experience with these sobering numbers. 

 

After successfully climbing the corporate ladder to head of marketing at Reebok where she led campaigns for Venus Williams, Scarlett Johansson, 50 Cent, and Jay-Z, among other A-list celebrities, Kaigler alongside Hutchinson founded Black Professionals Month (October), which is described as 31 days of support through virtual workshops, panels, conferences, and other programs. 

“I was able to break through the barriers that are systematically placed in front of us as Black professionals, and truly gain access to the right opportunities over time,” Kaigler shared. “ I knew I needed to disseminate this valuable information I learned through my years of experience working my way up the ranks.” 

Although her work ethic was a key contributor to her ascent to the top, Kaigler also acknowledged she wouldn’t have gotten there without help. 

“I believe you need three important people in life to help push you to the next level in your career: a mentor, a coach, and a sponsor,” Kaigler shared. “A mentor helps teach you key information, a coach pushes you to apply what you learn and a sponsor invests in and champions you for opportunities you would’ve otherwise never had exposure to.”