Black Women and Leadership

with Demarius Love of the African American Mayors Association

According to the Women in the Workplace 2018 survey, women of color are significantly underrepresented and less likely to be promoted to leadership positions.

Demarius Love of the African American Mayors Association discusses how his organization is elevating the voices of female leaders.

Posted on:

February 10, 2019

Produced by: National Newsmakers Team

Anderson: As of January 2019, no Fortune-500 company is led by a Black female CEO. The leadership gap extends far beyond private enterprise, impacting politics, medicine, academia, and other sections. Hello, and welcome to "Comcast Newsmakers." I´m Tetiana Anderson. And joining me to discuss efforts to build a leadership pipeline to empower Black women is Demarius Love. He is the Operations Manger of the African-American Mayors Association, and, Demarius, thank you for being here.

Love: Thank you.

Anderson: So, the Association represents mayors all across the country. What are some of the cities that we´re talking about? Just give me a list.

Love: So, a few of the cities that we´re talking about -- of course, Atlanta, Georgia, with Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, large cities, like Mayor London Breed out of San Francisco, Mayor Sylvester Turner out of Houston, Texas, as well as smaller cities like Mayor William Johnson out of Holly Hill, South Carolina, and a few other smaller cities like Troy, South Carolina, as well. One thing that´s unique about our organization -- We represent cities large and both small.

Anderson: So, cities all across the country. You really do value the leadership of women in the organization.

Love: Yes.

Anderson: I know that in 2017, Toni Harp was the first woman elected to head the organization. It was under her leadership that the group really developed this sort of multi-pronged platform, and it´s something you guys are still working on. Give me some of the highlights of what you´re focusing on.

Love: So, our three main points were equitable pay, maternal health, and a pipeline for women in leadership. And so, those were the three things that we really focused on under Mayor Harp´s leadership, and so, as far as creating a leadership pipeline, we´ve challenge cities -- not only cities, but communities and companies -- to create these pathways to further inspire women -- minority women, specifically -- to take the leap of faith and to go forth and apply for leadership roles and to create other leadership roles for them.

Anderson: When it comes to the whole leadership aspect, that´s something that the association is very focused on, whether it´s African-American men or African-American women who are coming into these roles as mayor. And I know that´s something that your organization is extremely excited about now.

Love: Very much so. At the beginning of January 2018, we held a reception honoring the incoming class of Black women mayors. This was one of the largest groups at one time that we have African-American women leading cities, and not only small cities. It was known in the past for women to lead smaller cities. These women are leading larger cities like your New Orleans, Louisiana, where Mayor LaToya Cantrell is. And you have, of course, Atlanta, Georgia, where Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms is the mayor of. And, of course, Charlotte, North Carolina, were Mayor Vi Lyles is serving as mayor. And so, we are truly excited, and that is one thing that we wanted to push forward and push companies to create leadership roles for minority women, not only to create leadership roles, but to give them opportunities to lead.

Anderson: Certainly. Well, whether it´s in medicine or whether it´s in business, whether it´s in other sectors of society, women´s leadership certainly is key. And that´s kind of what I wanted to ask you about, because it´s not that men don´t care. Clearly, you´re a man who cares about women being powerful leaders. But, you know, how important would you say it is from your organization´s perspective to really push these women into power.

Love: It is extremely important. And, of course, Mayor Harp laid that out in her three-pronged leadership -- her speech -- when she took over as the President of African-American Mayors Association in that women are more than capable of leading. We trust women to raise our children and to lead our households and things like that, and so women definitely have what it takes to be leaders, if not more. We turn to our mothers for leadership and for guidance, and so that is one thing that we have really pushed.

Anderson: Well, certainly that´s evidenced by the members of your organization, whether they´re men or women. So, Demarius Love, thank you so much for joining us.

Love: Thank you.

Anderson: And thank you for joining us, as well. For more great conversations with leaders in your own community and across the nation, be sure to visit I´m Tetiana Anderson.

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