Walker’s Legacy Sucess Profiles recognize unique women of color in business who embody the legacy of Madam C.J. Walker, the first female self-made millionaire. In this installment, meet our dynamic new team members – the Walker’s Legacy National City Directors.
In celebrating the announcement of the newest additions to our team, Walker’s Legacy City Directors will be hosting Meet Your Match, a mentor-matchmaking event. This national programming promotes direct networking, mentorship, and engagement with successful business leaders hosted in partnership with SCORE, the nation’s largest network of expert business mentors, with more than 10,000 volunteers in 300 chapters.
Learn more about our City Directors below and register to attend a Meet Your Match event in your city here.
Chicago, IL – Sierra Wallace, Esq.
Sierra’s passions are fighting for justice and empowering others. As an Assistant State’s Attorney for Cook County, ensuring equity and justice reform remains the focus of Sierra’s career. Sierra was born and raised in Chicago public housing and believes her formative experiences and struggles have helped shape her passion to serve and empower under-served communities.
Despite consequences and obstacles, Sierra is committed to being the voice for the voiceless and is not afraid to stand up for what’s right. Presently, Sierra is Regional Director of the National Black Prosecutors Association and is a progressive prosecutor promoting holistic and progressive policies in prosecution. She believes in moving forward and creating innovative approaches to address societal challenges. Sierra currently serves as an Auxiliary Board member for Lawyers Lend a Hand and Junior Board member for Just the Beginning- A Pipeline Organization. Sierra has also previously served as a constitutional law adjunct professor in the city of Chicago.
“Women of color are a group of powerful women but historically we have been marginalized and denied resources. Despite obstacles, we’ve continued to RISE and dominate our spaces. I want to help nurture our collective passions and enhance our entrepreneurial and professional endeavors.
“As a woman of color, I understand the importance of helping us elevate.”Sierra Wallace, Chicago City Director
Dallas, TX – Dr. Catrina Pullum
Dr. Pullum has been called a trailblazer, a transformer, and a visionary. Dr. Pullum serves as the President of Pullcorp Media & Business Consulting Group. Dr. Pullum creates a platform for women to share their stories of Triumph through the Arts. She serves as an executive team member for Women In Film. She is an extraordinary woman leading a life of purpose. A dynamic speaker and vision executioner, Dr. Pullum has a knack for helping individuals take their ideas from concept to reality. Dr. Pullum has been featured in Essence & Black Enterprise Magazines along with other publications. Dr. Pullum oversees Creating Opportunities For Excellence Mentorship Academy. The academy features influencers who mentors young women from 15 to adulthood in various areas of their lives. Dr. Pullum is an active board member for various charitable organizations such as Hip Hop Legend, McLyte’s Educate Our Men Scholarship Foundation.
“As a woman of color, we hold the power of being underestimated. This means we can do things in a furtiveness mode and by the time people recognize we did it, it’s already done. As a believer in the Iron Sharpening Iron method, it is up to women like myself to reach out to other women in need or reaching out to younger women to help them avoid our mistakes.”
Her life’s mission is to help women heal and grow their greatness by empowering them to walk into their purpose on purpose! Her enlivening presence compels people to stop allowing limits placed on them to hinder their growth toward becoming all that they have been destined to Detroit
Detroit, MI – Anistia Thomas
Anistia Phiaria served as President Emeritus of the Ann Arbor Ypsilanti Black Chamber of Commerce (of the U.S. Black Chambers) empowering small business owners to succeed within the community. As Founding President, making history as running the first African American Chamber of Commerce in Washtenaw County surfacing 3200 businesses under her stewardship has merged major partnerships with business resources to the entrepreneurial community. Anistia also served as Advisory Board Member: Alzheimer’s Association: African American Initiative and Advisory Board Director: Budgeting & Economic Development, Washtenaw County: My Brother’s Keeper under the Obama Administration, as well as Advisory Board Member African American Initiative of The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
Anistia serves as the Detroit Chair and now Detroit City Director of Walker’s Legacy. Anistia and the Detroit Chapter has founded several programs for Detroit since it’s May 2016 inception, including its Power25 Women Leaders (now in 6 cities), the Moms Who Hustle programwith the W.K. Kellogg Foundation graduating 30 Women of low income households awarding business grants, FoodPreneurs Series, Online Accelerator Prospectus Program graduating 75 female entrepreneurs, Detroit Business Revenue and Profit Events, partnership with the Women of Color Entrepreneurial Circle (MBCC), partnership with SCORE- registering 60 women for their Mentoring program (the largest recruitment in over 25 years) a University Cohort launched at Michigan State University, with 4 additional MI Universities scheduled to launch Fall 2017, international editorial opportunities for Detroit businesswomen. She is Founder of the Walker’s Legacy Institute for Women, opening to the public in 2018. Anistia is also a National Entrepreneurial Mentor with Google on their leadership and skill building for entrepreneurs and professionals campaign.
Houston, TX – Joy M Hutton
Joy M. Hutton is a native of Chicago, Illinois. She has dedicated her professional life to helping others through nonprofit leadership and business development for over a decade. Joy graduated from Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, with a Bachelor of Arts and holds a Master of Public Administration from DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois. She also earned her Nonprofit Finance Certification from Rice University in Houston, TX. “As a woman of color entrepreneur, it is important for me to pour into and invest in other women as my mentors have done for me”
Joy is a seasoned professional with a strong strategy orientation and has worn many operating hats before starting her firm, Joy of Consulting. She is a visionary and possesses the skills to formalize a company’s strategic planning processes, cultivate working relationships across the organization, and has the ability to make quick decisions.
“As a woman of color entrepreneur, it is important for me to pour into and invest in other women as my mentors have done for me”
Joy is truly an advocate for small businesses. She holds leadership positions with the following organizations: National Small Business Association, Congressman Pete Olson’s Small Business Advisory Council, Johnson Space Center Small Business Council, and LiftFund. She is also a co-host on the Business Breakfast Talk Show, a radio show that delivers tips for those who want to start and run a business.
“I am selfless and believe in sharing resources with others. This is the only way to build a true tribe of people that will carry their work out into their communities.”
Philadelphia, PA – Tamika Taylor
Born and raised in the city of brotherly love, Tamika Taylor has always had the passion for entrepreneurship which led her to an integral role within the United States Department of Commerce and U.S. Small Business Administration to extend the reach of online federal resources and business assistance programs. Tamika studied organizational leadership at Pennsylvania State University and has worked with firms such as Public Financial Management and Janney Montgomery Scott to develop marketing strategies for public, private and nonprofit entities. As CEO of The TaylorMade Executives Company, she works to enhance career development strategies, entrepreneurial education and connects business owners to supporting organizations. Tamika believes in the importance of securing a business mentor to ensure long-term success and partners with various organizations such as SCORE Philadelphia, Startup Open and the American Entrepreneurship Award to deliver small business resources and tools to global communities. She is also the Founder and Managing Director of Dream Big Philly, a local initiative that aims to expand opportunities for emerging small business owners.
While minority women are the fastest growing group of entrepreneurs within the economy, there are still significant barriers women of color face while growing their enterprises. Many minority women are first generation entrepreneurs and rarely have access to networks where financing, resources, and mentors are readily available to them. Women are moving toward investing in themselves by prioritizing entrepreneurial and financial strategies to advance their careers and level work-life balance. It becomes increasingly important for minority women to build strategic alliances, coalitions and affiliation groups to strengthen entrepreneurial interests and inspire support for each other within their pursuits and endeavors.
“I hope to help women of color build their sphere of influence, understand the support networks available to them and provide a safe space…”
“…to address unique challenges, share ideas, encourage growth and increase leadership opportunities.”
New York, NY – Amina Cush
A native of Queens, NY – Amina is a content creator, critical thinker, doer, dreamer and boundary pusher. Her passion for connecting creators and entrepreneurs of color with resources and insight to monetize their businesses led her to found The Melanin Mixer – a content platform and series of events that utilizes tech and digital strategies to scale small businesses. She holds a Bachelors of Arts in Advertising and Public Relations and a Master’s of Science in Integrated Marketing. With 10+ years of experience in brand marketing and events she currently leads events on the brand marketing team for health tech startup on NYC.
“Working with women of color is important to me because it is imperative that we create spaces where women of color feel supported.”
“Specifically from a business perspective. Typically we struggle with funding and overall support in respect to mentorship and resources, because our dreams and goals are seen as subordinate to others. Women of color should be able to exist in spaces and feel safe, appreciated and respected. I look forward to building out entrepreneurial programs that provide insight and resources for WOC that contribute to their financial success.”
Atlanta, GA – Vanessa Parker
Vanessa Parker is a project manager by day and serial entrepreneur after the 9-5 is done. She is the Director of Operations & Training for her family business Divas In Defense® and the founder of PinkBoss. PinkBoss is a resource for aspiring female entrepreneurs looking to launch their side hustle while still employed. It is her mission and purpose to equip women with the resources to use their passions and skills to generate an income that will allow them the flexibility to do what they love every day.
“Working with women of color is important because as a young woman, all of the women of color that I aspired to be like were so far away. They were either celebrities or public figures that I could not touch or reach. In this position, I feel that working with women of color is important because of how empowering the impact will be in our community.
It goes deeper than just working in an office, it is my goal to work across all platforms and pour into young women of color of future generations.”
“They are looking up to us and I strive to be a tangible inspiration to young girls like my daughters and her friends. Good role models are created one at a time and together I believe that we can win! There is no I in team and I strongly believe that joining forces with other women of color can create a strong army of unstoppable, powerful women.”
Charlotte, NC – Valerie Maureen Starks
Always eager to help others maintain their passion, focus and stay faithfully on track, Valerie spends her days multitasking as a mother and wife, and working with entrepreneurs and business clients.
With 25+ years expertise as a television/radio cause-related marketer, Valerie specializes in strategic partnerships, community engagement, media sales, marketing and sponsorships. Valerie has worked with entrepreneurs, non-profits, large and small businesses, national and local groups, government, media, churches, public schools, hospitals, and colleges and universities.
From her work at NBC-TV, U.S Census Bureau, YMCA, City of Chicago Mayor’s Office, Communities in Schools, Chicago Public Schools, Washington DC Health Department and currently radio, she’s been first to serve in many dual job titles. Valerie planned a host of special events and created campaigns in major cities engaging community and diverse target audiences. She’s a proud graduate of Howard University, earning a B.A. in Broadcast Journalism/Communications from what’s now the Cathy Hughes School of communications.
She’s a very active and devoted member of the historic Rockwell AME Zion Church; leads media ministry; is co-chair for Women’s Day; and volunteers for other causes supporting women and children.
“Black women are born survivors and are fabulous because the greatest love of all lives inside of us. I remember watching my mother like she was a television when I was growing up, coming home after a long day of work as a banking manager and in real estate, yet still giving my sister and I her full attention.”
She continues, “I always thought she was the best mother in the world, there for us and my police officer dad no matter how tired she was. Sometimes we need to be reminded as we juggle career, family and aspire to achieve personal goals, we as black women aren’t doing anything that our ancestors and mothers didn’t do for us. During adversity, I find women of color to follow their dreams and do all they can to have an impact. Too many role models have been trailblazers for us. I hope to help them blaze trails now for the next generation; create a legacy like Madam C.J. Walker, and together believe “Yes we can”!”
Miami, FL- Quadeera Teart
Quadeera Teart is the Chief Brand Engineer at Quadeera Teart & Co., a social media marketing firm in Miami, FL that helps clients win online and in the community. Her passion is teaching entrepreneurs and business owners how to effectively market to women using soulful content.
Quadeera’s work has been supported by Honey Shine, Inc., Microsoft’s DigiGirlz, Clinton Global Foundation, Miami Dade College, AARP, and more. In addition to running her business, she currently serves as Associate Producer of Tech, Beats, & Bytes, an online web series curated by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs; currently filmed in Miami, FL.
My favorite quote is by Oprah Winfrey and it says, “Step out the history that is holding you back. Step into the new story you are willing to create.”