ESSENCE’s New Campaign to Drive Career Advancement

NEW YORK, April 2, 2015 — ESSENCE will reveal findings from its study, Black Women at Work, at an invitation-only panel discussion in New York. The study, commissioned by ESSENCE in partnership with Added Value Cheskin, uncovers the workplace challenges facing today’s African-American women.

Moderated by MSNBC host and ESSENCE contributor, Melissa Harris-Perry, the panel includes Sylvia Rhone, President, Epic Records; Wanji Walcott, Managing Counsel, American Express; Nailah Flake-Brown, Managing Director, Morgan Stanley; and Shawn Outler, Senior Vice-President, Macy’s.

The panel will cover key findings from the study, including the fact that while Black women are feeling increasingly confident and continue to make career strides, they experience unemployment rates almost double that of White women, and are disproportionately impacted by the wage gender gap. The public is invited to follow the conversation @essencemag.

The panel marks the beginning of ESSENCE’s year-long #BlackWomenatWork campaign, which will offer concrete strategies for career advancement through comprehensive content and programming.

“We know that African-American women are three times as likely to be head of household in comparison to the general population, therefore success at work is both a personal and an economic priority,” said ESSENCE Editor-in-Chief Vanessa K. De Luca. “This study has led to a critical conversation around tactics to improve our careers, and by extension, our day to day lives.”

“We have uncovered the unspoken and disparaging effect of stereotypes, real or perceived, that are limiting Black women in the workplace and confounding employers who want to promote and retain them,” said Stephen Palacios, Executive Vice-President, Added Value Cheskin. “These insights are the start of a better workplace for both.”

“While women have achieved significant triumphs within the workplace and are confident in their credentials, ESSENCE is committed to shifting workplace paradigms by examining the intersection of race, ethnicity and gender on African-American women,” said Michelle Ebanks, President, ESSENCE.

ESSENCE #BlackWomenatWork includes:

Live Events

Work & Wealth Conference: October 2015, New York City. An interactive one-day-experience featuring expert keynotes, career workshops and coaching sessions for more than 500 women.

Empowerment Experience (EEE) at the ESSENCE Festival: July 3-5, New Orleans. EEE will offer an on-site ‘Career Connections’ Fair in partnership with the National Urban League, as well as interactive ‘Empower U’ workshops on career development and financial literacy.


ESSENCE #BlackWomenatWork: Women are invited to share their personal career journey @essence_debates on Thursday, April 2nd at 12:30 PM (ET), as a preview to the April 3rd #BlackWomenatWork panel discussion.

ESSENCE Empower U: Beginning May 1, free online courses are available on topics ranging from financial empowerment to health and beauty.

ESSENCE Network Newsletter: This offers weekly tips and inspiration for young professionals to achieve their dream job and enjoy a full life.

ESSENCE magazine:

Dedicated to careers, the April issue (on sale now) features an expanded ‘Money & Power’ section, including an in-depth feature on Black Women at Work covering the findings of the study and outlining advice for advancement.


ESSENCE Communications Inc. (ECI) is the number one media company dedicated to African-American women, with a multi-platform presence in publishing, live events and online.