As March comes to a close, we celebrate women who have redefined their respective industries and blazed a new trail for the next generation.
As the calendar turns, we are taking a collective pause at Boardroom to look back on a month in which we caught up with 11 women moving mountains. Each of the women profiled has independently left a lasting impact, challenging those around them to dream big and do more.
Throughout March, our writers connected with powerhouse women across sports, media, music, film, and fashion. They told us, in their own words, about their incredible accomplishments, observations from their experiences as women in industries built around men, and their hopes for the next generation of change-makers. The women featured throughout the month discussed how they’re taking up space, building in places that weren’t designed to champion women, and how their unique experiences across race, ethnic background, location, and gender identity frame their experiences and inspire them to build towards a new reality.
As we close the chapter on Women’s History Month 2023, we celebrate this group of women and their ongoing work to build a new future for those who follow in their massive footsteps.
How NJ/NY Gotham FC is Changing Women’s Sports in the Northeast
Big things are happening at NJ/NY Gotham FC.
Through the brand refresh over the offseason, as well as a re-tooling of the roster, Gotham FC is ready to extend its impact beyond just the NWSL.
Whitney Harper: Uniting Hip-Hop & Haute Couture
Have you ever wondered how Saweetie continues to secure bags on bags’ worth of memorable brand deals and partnerships? How about how City Girls’ JT suddenly became the fashion femcee face of Kiss Colors & Care? Perhaps you’ve noticed how GloRilla’s red carpet appearances have maintained her Memphis flair while she stays decked out, creating high fashion moments one after another.
Well, the answer comes down to two words: Whitney Harper.
The founder of Harp Media & Creatives speaks with Boardroom about putting femcees and the women of hip-hop first in brand deals and partnerships.
How Marguerite Jones Continues to Keep That Same ‘Big Energy’ in A&R
Coming from a journalism background, Marguerite Jones knew the realm of being in the media through her content creations and production projects with industry heavyweights such as Teyana Taylor, Wiz Khalifa and Lil Kim.
How Gia Peppers’ Undeniable Journey Became A Blueprint For Women In Journalism
From hosting Amazon Music’s latest “Rotation” series to VH1’s Black Girl Beauty, Gia Peppers is a glistening force in entertainment journalism. From being a courtside personality for her hometown’s Washington Wizards and hosting VH1’s limited series Black Girl Beauty to contributing on the Today Show and signing on as host and executive producer of Urban One’s podcast “More Than That with Gia Peppers” following her role as one of five podcasters on “Black Girl Podcast” featuring cultural curator Scottie Beam, she’s forged a path for Black women to limitlessly exist in entertainment. The trailblaze is one she still attributes to the warmth of her community.
Janine Nabers: Swarming the Hollywood Writers’ Room
Ahead of the Swarm series premiere on Prime Video on March 17, Boardroom caught up with Nabers about the show’s sensitivity towards mental health and wellness, making room for Black women in Hollywood writers’ rooms, and how Beyoncé’s “Beyhive” fandom may (or may not) have served as an inspiration for the limited series.
Reflecting on the experience, Nabers said, “I think what was probably the most challenging about it was that we were really trying to break the mold and tell a story in a genre-bending way that hasn’t really been told before with a Black woman at the helm and really committing to the idea of the pilot as the origin story of a villain, and kind of taking it from there and seeing where it goes.”
The Undeniable Ascent of ESPN’s Monica McNutt
Few media personalities have the ability in such short order to have audiences wondering, ‘hey, where has this breath of fresh air been hiding?’ And if Monica McNutt still isn’t a household name to you, Boardroom is here to introduce you.
The hooper and ESPN personality discusses breaking into sports media, building equity and dignity for women in the industry, and the base of support that powers her forward.
Carla Banks-Waddles: The Fresh New Princess Behind ‘Bel-Air’
Carla Banks-Waddles had an exciting — if not nearly impossible — challenge: how do you draw inspiration from one of the most loved television shows of all time to make a new version for the next generation?
“It’s a tall order because so many people did not want us to futz with it,” Banks-Waddles admitted to Boardroom about the task of bringing the beloved show back to life. “The beginning, middle, and ending of that original series was so perfect, so I think people were rightfully nervous about what was to come and what we were going to do with it. I think a lot of the writers, including me, were just big fans of that, so I think there was a natural respect and understanding of what people were feeling of, like, ‘don’t mess it up.’”
With Bel-Air, she tapped into a foundation of respect and desire to hold the sacred legacy of Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, while allowing her team to move forward with authenticity and genuine intentions.
Gina Prince-Bythewood: Hollywood’s Woman King
“You have to have swagger within this industry, and certainly as a Black woman now navigating the big sandbox I’m happy to be in at this point and trust it was hard-fought to get here,” she said, “but there’s a supreme belief that in my abilities. I know I belong here. I know I deserve to be in this space, and I know I’m gonna knock it out.”
From writing for A Different World to directing blockbuster hits Love & Basketball and Beyond The Lights, Prince-Bythewood has proven herself as an enduring power player in the film industry.
Dany Garcia Builds it Bigger
The word “mogul” is a term thrown around frequently — and sometimes lazily — when it comes to recognizing prominent figures. But a woman who undoubtedly fits within the definition is Dany Garcia. She currently serves as chairwoman of the XFL while investing in or partnering with an ever-expanding number of companies to create a booming portfolio for both herself and her longtime business partner and former spouse, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.
Her journey to greatness has taken her from the world of professional bodybuilding to her current position at the top of an emerging sports league.
Valentina Shevchenko: The Bullet Abides
We wouldn’t recommend attempting to make a movie about Valentina Shevchenko’s life — not just one movie, anyway. A single flick ain’t enough to capture the bang-bang intrigue, sensibility, and peak human athletic triumph that has marked the celebrated mixed martial artist and future UFC Hall of Famer’s professional life on a truly global scale.
She shoots guns, spins pirouettes, and broke Halle Berry’s ribs. “Bullet” is a true international woman of mystery — and she might just be on her way to becoming the greatest female MMA fighter ever.
Morgan DeBaun & Blavity: Inside the Empire Creating a Space for Millennials in Media
Morgan DeBaun founded Blavity, Inc. for a highly specific reason: as a means to fulfill a self-discovered need for the millennial generation to have a Black-owned company that housed Black products, ideas, and solutions and valued Black audience satisfaction.
Nine years later since its 2014 founding, DeBaun has curated a media empire that evolved into a market leader in Black media, housing divisions across various verticals of technology, entertainment, lifestyle, and more.