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9 women to get to know this Black Girl Magic Day

These women are making their mark with their leadership, innovation and achievements.
Leanne Mair, Ashley Williams and Kerrie Carden.
Posted at 1:14 PM, Feb 15, 2024

It’s national Black Girl Magic Day, a day to celebrate Black women for their power, beauty, success and resilience. 

The day also raises awareness about the disparities faced by Black women, from health care to the workplace. 

The national holiday on Feb. 15 comes during Black History Month, which honors the triumphs and tribulations of Black people throughout U.S. history.

In honor of Black Girl Magic Day, here’s a look at some Black women making notable strides:

Susan Allen

Susan Allen co-founded feminine product company Here We Flo, birthed from two best friends having a chat in the bathroom while studying for their master’s degrees. 

Allen and her partner were on a mission to create natural, planet-safe products that empower women to feel confident in life’s messiest moments. Allen and her team of 14 women create products for bladder, menstrual and sexual wellness, and are challenging the shame around the topics of periods and sex. 

Their story is one of determination and resilience. 

“As two women of color (I'm Black Caribbean and my co-founder is Indian & Persian), we are often the only people in the room that look like us that are doing what we're doing and that has come with people doubting us and our vision,” Allen told Scripps News. “In addition to that is the fact that we've scaled a business through a pandemic, a supply chain crisis, a cost-of-living crisis and a recession and it's really forced us to become more resilient and confident in ourselves that we can persevere through anything.” 

Kerrie Carden

Kerrie Carden is the founder and CEO of finance company Equip Advisory. As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, Carden specializes in providing services to BIPOC, queer and trans professionals, while seeking out people and organizations that prioritize equity, social justice and ethical decision-making. 

Carden is a certified financial planner and works with people trying to make ends meet or with a significant amount of debt. She also provides career and business coaching.

“I was drawn to financial planning first by a personal desire to improve my own systems for my family but as I learned more, I saw the ways in which that information wasn’t as readily available in my communities. I was bothered that so much of the financial advice I could find available to consumers was shaming or focused on the desires of people who already have more than enough,” Carden told Scripps News. 

“As a queer Black woman, I wanted to provide constructive support to folks in my communities to help them build intergenerational wealth that can positively impact them and our society at large.” 

Ashley Williams

Ashley Williams is the first Caribbean American to be crowned Miss Virginia, and represented the state in last year’s Miss USA pageant. She graduated from Florida International University with a degree in psychology and was a Miami Dolphins Cheerleader from 2018 to 2021. 

"As a former NFL Cheerleader and a state title holder within the Miss Universe system, I am among a small group of Black women in these roles,” Williams told Scripps News. "I didn’t let the small number of representation in these organizations stop me from achieving greatness. I let it fuel me, to inspire others who look like me. Never be limited by other people’s imaginations."

Shafonne Myers

Shafonne Myers is the creator behind Pretty Pear Bride, which bills itself as "the world’s only magazine for plus size brides."

Myers’ work helps champion size inclusivity in the wedding industry, empowering women to feel body confident.

She is also the CEO of wedding media company and digital marketing agency Aisle Society, and owner of matching software Matchology.

“As a Black woman in the wedding industry, my identity fuels my mission to ensure diversity and inclusivity are celebrated on every aisle, including the aisle of being the CEO of a major wedding media company,” Myers told Scripps News.

“Everybody deserves to see someone who looks like them and I'm here to write those stories,” she said. 

Brandie Kekoa

Brandie Kekoa is an entrepreneur establishing herself as a “curly hair healer.” 

Through her holistic hair care products and services, she promotes self-love and confidence with her brand Be Kekoa. She’s developed a dedicated customer base, along with celebrity endorsements like that of actress Tamera Mowry.

“My mission from the beginning has been to bring out the confidence in my clients, to be bold, to embrace their natural curls and see the beauty that has always been within each of them. That is the meaning of Kekoa — bold and courageous,” Kekoa told Scripps News. 

Quoting actor Larenz Tate, she referenced the motto, “Never beg for a seat when you can build your own table.”  

Leanne Mair

Leanne Mair is the founder and CEO of Benefactum Group, a consulting firm specializing in racial and gender equity. She is also the author of "Closing the Gap: How to Include Black Women in any Gender Equity Strategy."

Mair’s motto is to “live authentically, live intentionally and live luxuriously,” whether at a conference, date night or girl’s night.

She has been recognized as a LinkedIn Top Voice for Gender Equity 2023 for her work in the corporate world.

“My mum is my biggest inspiration as she taught me two important things; one is that I can achieve anything and two, when something isn’t working for you, it’s not a failure if you change course. Taking both these allowed me to stop trying to prove myself especially as Black woman in the workplace and recognizing when the only outcome would be harm to myself and it also helped to motivate me to fulfill my dreams of being a CEO and an author. To be courageous even if I was still scared,” Mair told Scripps News. 

Angelique Smith

Angelique Smith, a Chicago entrepreneur, philanthropist, and founder of The Clean Junkie, is helping bring a Chicago team to the Women’s National Football Conference, a female professional tackle football league.

The addition of the Chicago team, hailed as the first professional sports team in the city majority-owned by a Black woman, expands the WNFC to 17 teams.

“The opportunity to bring a team to Chicago has always been my vision. After women's football in the city ended in 2017, I felt the absence of an empowering community of female athletes. As an athlete then, I intimately understood the value and importance of being part of a team, and I couldn't bear to let that spirit fade away,” Smith told Scripps news.

She also expressed how her community shaped her into the entrepreneur she is today.

“I was raised by a remarkable community of strong Black women, where I witnessed their unwavering work ethic, discipline, and entrepreneurial spirit from an early age. Their encouragement and exposure to these experiences have planted the seeds of my dreams and taught me to believe in the higher power and the power of aiming high,” she said. “This led me to many leadership positions and a desire to create opportunities for my community and my business, The Clean Junkie, a residential and commercial cleaning business was born.” 

Tanisha Mackin

Tanisha Mackin turned pain into power after experiencing the most traumatic event of her life, the loss of her husband one year after their marriage.

Mackin, a publisher and best-selling author, is also a travel influencer who emphasizes healing through travel. She uses her platform to share her travel journeys across the globe while teaching others to find their purpose against all odds.

"My focus shifted from grieving to fostering connection and resilience with my children through travel, which eventually blossomed into a shared passion and a thriving publishing and travel business,” Mackin told Scripps News.

Her essence of triumph in times of adversity has helped teach self-care and perseverance, particularly within the Black community. 

Gabrielle Gambrell

Gabrielle Gambrell is an award-winning consultant, speaker, professor and media expert. She currently works for brands across a number of industries, and has served media giants like Comcast, NBCUniversal, Paramount, CBS Corporation, Disney, ABC and Amazon.

Gambrell has been recognized for her work through a number of achievements, such as appearing on COLOR Magazine's 2023 40 Under 40 Powerlist, and the 2023 Advertising Week New York's Future is Female shortlist.

“Being a Black woman in technology, media, entertainment and sports is an honor and a privilege,” Gambrell told Scripps News. “All of these highly desired and sought after industries, like many others, still have a long way to go in terms of proper representation of the audiences that we serve. The Black community often over indexes and our support and engagement is truly second to none.”

She said her determination is fueled by those before her.

“I also am driven knowing how hard my ancestors worked for me to be here. As a proud fourth generation college graduate, I am committed to learning, and growing.”