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International Women’s Day 2023: Celebrating Boardroom’s Favorite Power Players

Last Updated: July 1, 2023
Boardroom is celebrating International Women’s Day by giving women across entertainment, sports, tech, and culture their flowers today, this month, and every day thereafter.

Nikole Hannah-Jones, East Dockery, Jemele Hill, Jessica Coleman, Danyel Smith, Tyla Barnes, Taylor Rooks, Whitney Bronson, Joy Taylor, Janaé Adams, Maria Taylor, Ruth Etiesit Samuel, Jewel Wicker, Keithina Montgomery, Ese Ighedosa, Kyla Wright, Kimberley Martin, Jenny Vrentas, Sara Avery, Ethiopia Habtemariam, Megan Armstrong, Kelly L. Carter, Sheila Matthews, Candace J. Rodney.

Some of the women we’ve named you may know; some of them you may not. This is by design. Within this list are both the superstars of today and luminaries of tomorrow. The reason these individuals serve as beacons of inspiration for not just the Boardroom staff, but the industries we represent at large, is not only because of their work but because of the way they treat others and how they carry themselves as authentic power players in their respective areas of expertise.

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Transparently, as a male-founded, owned, and operated platform with a majority-male staff, most of us here at Boardroom have never walked in these power players’ shoes to see the trials and tribulations of what they have gone through as women across tech, culture, sports, and entertainment; but we do our best to listen when they speak. The women within our very own Boardroom universe from the editorial and social teams to administrative and audience development graciously carry our efforts towards proper representation and gender equality for women and femme-identifying persons within our company. Each has grace, ferocity, hunger, kindness, empathy, dignity, respect, honesty, resiliency, compassion, and so many other praiseworthy traits.

While we could write more words to highlight these women, the priority lies in educating ourselves and championing these women beyond their public wins. Celebrate women today, tomorrow, and every day.

And for International Women’s Day 2023, Boardroom is doing just that.

Baroline Diaz, Vice President of A&R at Interscope Records

Caroline “Baroline” Diaz (Robin L Marshall/Getty Images)

Baroline started, like many people, with a dream and a hustle to create a safe space for artists. She served as the former A&R at Interscope Records and is now chairwoman of her label Great Day Records. The proud Afro-Latina Bronx, New York native has accolades on projects from artists like Moneybagg Yo, Est Gee, Rob 49, and Lil Poppa, and managing rapper Babyface Ray.

Young Black girls need to see people like Diaz disrupt the standard position for women in the music business. — Kenyatta Coleman, Entertainment Contributor

Jazerai Allen-Lord, Streetwear Creator & True to Size Founder

Unfortunately, when it comes to the conversation around sneakers, women are often left out of the conversation. True To Size founder and award-winning sneaker strategist Jazerai Allen-Lord has continued to create a space for women, especially Black women, in the kick conversation through her work as an influencer, sneaker community philanthropist, and cultural curation.

To add the cherry on top of her receipts of accomplishments throughout the years, Allen-Lord, who is also known as Nerd Like Jazzy on social platforms, was recently tapped for the M&M’S® Brand Super Bowl LVII campaign for the reimagining of the “femme fatale” Green M&M. Allen-Lord collaborated with the Green M&M to premiere her very first sneaker design, telling her story across TikTok and Instagram inspiring future entrepreneurs. As a fellow sneaker lover, Allen-Lord’s work makes me feel seen, appreciated, and heard as a Black woman in this space that wasn’t created for me. — D’Shonda Brown, Entertainment & Music Editor

Kimberly Goldson & Shelly Powell, CEO & Creative Director and President & COO

Kimberly and Shelly are sisters who created a fashion brand of their dreams. Their mission is to transform & empower everyday women that dare to be bold and vivacious, fearless, and distinctive trendsetters. Seeing how hard they work and how far they come inspires me to never give up my dreams. – Louise Messinga, Executive Assistant

Debbie Embaie & Judene Small Jean-Louis, Partners, Andreessen Horowitz’s Cultural Leadership Fund

Judene Small Jean-Louis

Debbie Embaie and Judene Small Jean-Louis are partners in the Cultural Leadership Fund, Andreessen Horowitz’s venture capital fund focused on fostering Black equity across the tech industry. Embaie and Jean-Louis aren’t just natural-born leaders; they are connectors, energizers, builders, and advocates for ensuring Black entrepreneurs always have a seat at the table. You can often find them enriching networks virtually or in person and working behind the scenes to cultivate change. Today, I’d like to honor them for the work they do and the seeds they continue to plant. May they grow beautifully. — Michelai Graham, Web3 & Tech Reporter

Coco Gauff, Tennis Player & Entrepreneur

Let’s give some flowers to the amazing Coco Gauff. An enormous international tennis star who turns 19 on March 13, Coco has not only excelled on the court for years but is also the only women’s tennis player with her own signature shoe deal, getting creative influence on her New Balance line as well. Gauff should be an inspiration for women everywhere as someone who can thrive no matter their age. — Shlomo Sprung, Writer

Taylor Rooks, Sports Journalist & Host

I have to check the math again, because this blows my mind in such a way that I can scarcely reckon with it — how is someone able to be so skilled, incisive, and telegenic so as to be directly linked to a flagship NBA broadcast (the NBA on TNT) and a flagship NFL broadcast (Thursday Night Football)? Yes, Taylor Rooks will probably say she’s lucky to be in the position she’s in, but you’re not likely to find many in the industry who have worked as tirelessly to reach such heights only to continue to grind and grind. All this, of course, is not even to mention her credentials as a newsbreaking reporter — a rare verve she finds profound ways to put to use as an interviewer capable of extracting an uncommonly candid response from a top athlete or entertainer.

Am I older than Taylor Rooks? Yes. Yes I am. But I still want to be like her when I grow up. – Sam Dunn, Managing Editor

Jamila Mustafa, Host of MTV’s TRL

Jamila Mustafa (Jason Kempin/Getty Images)

Jamila Mustafa is a storyteller and media personality who has created her path on television with appearances on shows like ESPN’s EBC at Rucker Park, BET’s BREAKS, and MTV’s TRL. Mustafa became Bennett College’s youngest commencement speaker and even received a personal letter of honor from President Joe Biden for leadership. With her passion and love for pop culture, the 2022 Black Enterprise 40 Under 40 honoree opened doors for Black girl journalists who want to make a difference with their stories in the media. — Kenyatta Coleman, Entertainment Contributor

Jess Sims, Instructor, Peloton Interactive

Jess Sims has always been at the top of her game. After graduating from Trinity College, she headed to the heartland for a stint with Teach for America, and like many of the best teachers, quickly ascended the ranks, becoming a principal at the Harlem Village Academy. The former hooper harnessed the same grit and leadership in the classroom that led her to serve as captain of her college squad for three years — but by 2016, she felt something was missing. She turned to fitness.

Her skills as a teacher served her in the move, and she quickly found herself at an emerging brand with a whole lot of potential: Peloton. In her time with the IRL and on-demand fitness company, Sims has become one of its wildly popular instructors. Her dynamic personality and relentless love of squats inspire members on the bike, treadmill, and through her challenging full-body strength classes.

However, Sims herself says, “there’s so much power in the ‘and’” and has created a life that demonstrates just that. Never one to forget her first love of hoops, Sims serves as the in-arena host for the New York Liberty. There and on the Peloton platform, she caught the eye of ESPN execs, who added her to the College GameDay lineup for the 2022 college football season, but that’s not all. Sims’ signature cool-girl style won her a place as a Jordan Brand ambassador, where she utilizes the platform to advocate for the power that lives within women’s sports. — Bernadette Doykos, Sr. Director, Editorial Strategy


Emerging Tech September 28, 2023

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