We are so used to reading stories of natural hair being “rejected in the workplace”, that to be both a top professional and relaxer‐free is almost unimaginable. In all actuality, that is far from the truth. Here are eight top black female professionals, including CEOs, who wear their natural hair.
1. Dr. Helene Gayle
Dr. Helene D. Gayle has been President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere (CARE) USA since 2006. Prior to these positions, she served as “the AIDS coordinator and chief of the HIV/AIDS division for the U.S. Agency for International Development; director for the National Center for HIV, STD, and TB Prevention, CDC; director of CDC’s Washington office; and health consultant to international agencies including the World Health Organization, UNICEF, the World Bank and UNAIDS.”
2. Esi Eggleston Bracey
Esi Eggleston Bracey is Vice President & General Manager of Global Cosmetics Innovation at Proctor and Gamble. She has held that role for several years.
More about Bracey from Vyneworld:
Esi made history when she joined Procter & Gamble in 1991 as she was one of the youngest employees to become general manager. She is now in charge of over 1,000 employees and is responsible for P&G’s popular CoverGirl and Max Factor brands, which have garnered over $2 billion in retail sales worldwide.
History Maker: First female African‐American to attain her position at P&G. She said this of her “first” status, “If my role inspires people to appreciate our unique gifts, then I’m making a difference, and that means a lot to me.”
3. Ursula Burns
Ursula M. Burns has been chairman and CEO of Xerox, since 2010 and 2009, respectively.
Here is more about Burns from the Xerox website:
“In addition to the Xerox board, she serves on the board of directors of both the American Express and Exxon Mobil Corporations. Burns also provides leadership counsel to community, educational and non‐profit organizations including FIRST — (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), National Academy Foundation, MIT and the U.S. Olympic Committee, among others. She is a founding board director of Change the Equation, which focuses on improving the U.S.’s education system in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). In March 2010, U.S. President Barack Obama appointed Burns vice chair of the President’s Export Council.”
4. Window Snyder
Window Snyder was a senior security strategist at Microsoft for three years and chief of security (officially “Chief Security Something‐Or‐Other”) at Mozilla Corporation after that. Currently, she is the Senior Product Manager for Security and Privacy at Apple Inc.
5. Susan Chapman‐Hughes
Susan E. Chapman‐Hughes is Senior Vice President of the Global Real Estate and Workplace Enablement, Global Human Resource Shared Services for American Express. As an experienced global executive, she has also “led various organizational business transformation and growth efforts in Fortune 500 companies including Citigroup and Level 3 Communications.”
6. Paula Madison
Paula Madison is the CEO of Williams Group Holdings, the majority owner of the Los Angeles Sparks. She is also an award‐winning journalist, held the position of news director at WNBC‐TV and was the first Chief Diversity Officer in the history of NBCUniversal.
7. Linda Clement‐Holmes
Linda W. Clement‐Holmes has been Chief Information Officer at The Procter & Gamble Company since January 1, 2015. Prior to that, she served as Global Information & Decision Solutions Officer at Procter & Gamble and Senior Vice President of Global Business Services.
More about Clement‐Holmes from P&G:
“Clement‐Holmes is a 27‐year P&G veteran, and maintains her existing global business services responsibilities. She has spent 27 years with P&G, and joined it as a systems analyst and moving up the ladder in its information technology and business services units. She has been a Director of Cincinnati Financial Corp. since February 1, 2010. Ms. Clement‐Holmes holds a BSIM degree in industrial management and computer science from Purdue University in 1982.”
8. Valerie Amos
Valerie Amos was Under‐Secretary‐General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator at the United Nations since 2010. (She recently resigned to pursue other ventures but is still worth mentioning.)
More about Amos:
“From 2007 to 2009, Ms. Amos was Chair of the Royal African Society and a Fulbright Commissioner. Between 2003 and 2007, she served as Cabinet minister, Leader of the House of Lords and Secretary of State for International Development. In the latter role, she was called upon to participate in discussions and negotiations to tackle conflicts and post‐conflict situations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sudan, Zimbabwe, Sierra Leone, Liberia and other parts of the world. From 2001 to 2003, she served as Africa Minister.
Born in 1954, she holds a Bachelor of Arts in sociology and a Master of Arts in cultural studies.”
Do you know any other top professionals who wear their natural hair? Are you comfortable wearing your natural hair to work?