We love learning about Boss Babes and how they are owning their careers. Angelina Darrisaw is our Career Crush for many reasons. She is dedicated to empowering diverse Millennial women. She is the definition of multifaceted! she is a social entrepreneur, an international business and career coach and digital media strategist. She is the founder and CEO of C- Suite Coach, a career coaching platform that provides accessible professional development resources to diverse working professionals. She helps employers utilize their workforce to create business solutions that engage diverse employees.
Angelina has also worked with Google to bridge the digital divide and highlight women business owners. She also services small businesses as a mentor through General Assembly’s inaugural mentoring program. She was also a two time finalist in Miss New York!
We are learning from her power moves and we added her newest publication, Playing at the MVP Level 2018, to our reading list. She is an executive woman and one of our favorite lady bosses! She shared some of her career tips with us!
Finding your path in college can be tough. Did you always have a certain path/ career goal in mind or did you figure along the way?
I definitely did not have clarity on what I wanted to do growing up. I learned along the way, driven by my curiosity. Having a desire to learn about what other people do, can help a lot if you were like me and weren’t born with that clarity. I have a BA in Political Science, an MA in Management and a certificate in coaching. Political science helped me be more analytical, management gave me business essentials, like accounting, finance, etc. and I my coaching training gave credibility to my coaching business.
The one theme I will say was recurring as a passion was wanting to do something that involved working towards racial/socioeconomic equality. That stemmed from seeing disparities as a child (commuting from a low-income neighborhood in brooklyn to the wealthy upper east side for school) and witnessing the dynamics of inequality firsthand.
Lastly, coaching was a key resource I used in uncovering what it was I am passionate about. Because I enjoyed so much, it seems at time hard to hone in on what truly moved me. Working with a coach gave me insights to myself that helped me connect the dots. Without seeing it at the time, each step I’d taken prepared me to be ready for the next- my coach help me identify that. Being able to tell the story of why you made each career choice also helps you build your next moves.
“I definitely did not have clarity on what I wanted to do growing up. I learned along the way, driven by my curiosity. Having a desire to learn about what other people do, can help a lot if you were like me and weren’t born with that clarity”
What are some activities/ interests in college you pursued to help you reach your goal and discover your passion?
I went to a small liberal arts school. The size and the curriculum let me try a lot of different things, including putting on events, running D1 track, choreographing dance, and academically excelling.
Second, I’d say that right now there are no black women who are CEOs of Fortune 500 None. Zero. If we want the dynamics of what leadership in the workplace looks like, it will require some sacrifices. We have to get promoted. We have to get raises. We need hiring power and influence. That means you can’t quit just because a coworker speaks over you all the time or rudely touches your hair. I’m NOT saying accept unacceptable treatment. I’m saying find workable strategies for addressing the uncomfortable situations that come up at work. When I am feeling frustrated and want to quit. I say to myself, “GENERATIONAL WEALTH.” If we want to change stats that upset us, we have to stay in the game, invest in our success and grow in our careers.
“We have to get promoted. We have to get raises. We need hiring power and influence. That means you can’t quit just because a coworker speaks over you all the time or rudely touches your hair.”
We would love to learn more about your entrepreneurship journey and the C- Suite Coach. What was your Aha moment? How did you prepare yourself to lead?
Read about how Angelina found her calling in life here: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/angelina-darrisaw/self-love-workshops-with-15-year-old-girls-challenged-my-career_b_8523450.html – This article probably nails the aha moment!
In terms of preparing myself to lead, I invest heavily in my development and have asked every company I’ve worked for to do the same. For me, working full time first and moving to a management role was important for me to do before leaving. Getting a coach was also a game changer for me. I needed accountability and feedback and for someone to help me realize key pieces I was missing.
Your career has been amazing and we can only aspire to be as bossy as you! Can you tell us what your younger self did to prep for this role?
Everything from acting to political theory to study and community service abroad. I wasn’t great at everything, but there was something so liberating and defining about putting myself out there and trying different things. It made risk feel a lot less scary and that helped me a lot in my career – to take risks and not box myself in. If you aren’t clear right away about what you love, trial and error is really helpful.
Did you see a lot of black women in leadership positions as you navigated your career? If so, how did they inspire you?
Yes and no. In my direct industry, there were very limited black women in leadership. But my whole life, I had seen black women lead. Maybe not as a Fortune 500 C- suite leader, but in my community, in my churches, in my education. I realized that while my mom, an educator didn’t know all the dynamics of my office, she knew quite a lot about what I needed to consider to develop myself, what I needed to do to be a stand out for opportunities, etc. And when I found black women leading in other industries, I embraced them and convinced them to give 30 minutes of their time. Our representation in leadership is quite limited in most industries, but that doesn’t mean we don’t lead… it just means we have to get creative about how we will be inspired to keep growing and who we will to for inspiration.
Transitioning into the traditional workplace can be challenging for millennials. We are unconventional and don’t alway pertain to the typical 9 – 5 workday. What advice do you have for black millennial women who are trying to thrive in corporate America?
There is some advice here that is relevant to every young person. Like… Negotiate right away. You don’t have to wait until you have a certain number of years of experience to advocate for yourself. If working from home one day a week is really important to you, then make a good case for why you should have it. Be willing to walk away if it’s truly important to you.
Or Be willing to learn. You have a lot to contribute and you should, but you also have room to grow and learn…
But for Black millennial and gen z women specifically, first, I’d share this article. https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/blackwomenatwork-how-to-thrive-at-work-when-you-are_u
Some last words of advice?
- Be bold and somewhat ruthless in all things. In asking for what you want, in saying no to what you don’t want.
- Recognize that not all of your mentors have to look like you.
- Take opportunities that will stretch you that you don’t always feel ready for.
- Stop being humble all the time, take the compliment, and more importantly, recognize that you deserve to be where you are.