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Why These Women Are Already the MVPs of 2017 (And So Are You)

Goals for 2017

Are you still in your feelings?

I’m referring to President Barack Obama’s Farewell Address that he gave last week in Chicago. I know—too emotional. President Obama spoke to a crowded venue full of folks who have supported him for the past eight years—everyone from young Millennials  to people who grew up during the tumultuous times of the Civil Rights era—individuals who never imagined a time when a Black man would serve as the President of the United States. 

Obama Farewell

Photo: President Barack Obama

However, no matter what the story is, the sentiments remain the same. Seeing our First Family leave the White House will go down as probably the most difficult thing to adjust to this year—at least in my book. I grew up with the Obamas starting at the age of 14. I was at the the peak of my high school career and entering the beginning phases of young adulthood. I was able to call the Obamas my First Family until I graduated college at 22. It has been eight long, lifechanging years. Yet, in a matter of a few weeks, all of the never-ending hope that has filled people for years will disappear once the next president, an under-qualified reality star, takes office. I don’t know about you, but I’m scared of what the next four years will bring. But despite the complete setback that may happen in our country, you and I have the opportunity to create the change we wish to see. Sure this sounds cliche and is easier said then done, but the fact of the matter is that there are people who are already paving the way for long-term change. 

 Obama Farewell Address

Did you hear about…

The six Black women who worked under presidential candidate Hillary Clinton? They were highlighted in New York Magazine as the most number of Black women to ever work on a presidential campaign. These hidden gems were:

  • Denise Horn, Director of African-American Media
  • Brynne Craig, National Deputy Director of State Campaigns and Political Engagement
  • Zerlina Maxwell, Progressive Media Director
  • Neisha Blandin, Deputy Women’s Vote Director
  • Ida Woldemichael, Senior Designer
  • Maya Harris, Senior Policy Advisor

And it doesn’t stop there. During the time of the presidential campaign, there were other women making history such as:

  • Kamala Harris, the first Black woman Senator in California since 1999
  • Ilhan Omar, the nation’s first Somali-American lawmaker of Minnesota
  • Catherine Cortez Masto, the first Latina Senator of Nevada

I vividly remember these historic moments—it was such a beautiful sight to see on Twitter. My timeline was filled with women achieving groundbreaking accomplishments and supporting each other with tons of You go girl!’ along the way. But outside of politics there are everyday women—entrepreneurs, actresses, influencers, and more—who continue to inspire me in the most unbelievable ways. From the television screen to the magazines, the images that we see are extremely important.

I appreciate and yearn for…

Realistic portrayals of women’s lives—especially women of color. From the humble beginnings of Awkward Black Girl on YouTube to Insecure on HBO, Issa Rae is dominating the film industry as an actress, writer, director, and producer—oh yeah, and Golden Globe nominee! She shows me that I can be a Jackie of all trades if that’s what I truly desire.

Issa Rae | Insecure

Photo: Issa Rae

I’m able to explore the world and step outside of my comfort zone thanks to Zim Ugochukwu, founder of Travel Noire—a multi-million dollar digital platform that equips travelers of color to explore the world fearlessly and design the journey of their dreams. 

Zim Ugochukwu | Travel Noire

Photo: Zim Ugochukwu

I see myself and young women who look like me in printed publications because of trailblazers like Teen Vogue Editor-In-Chief Elaine Welteroth. She started her career in 2013 as the first African-American to hold the title of Beauty Editor at the publication. Welteroth’s revamping of the magazine has exposed us to a younger generation of change makers such as Zendaya, Yara Shahidi, and Amandla Stenberg. These ladies are wise beyond their years and incredibly vocal about social issues and racial injustices

Elaine Welteroth | Teen Vogue

Photo: Elaine Welteroth

And let’s not forget entrepreneurs such as Myleik Teele, founder of curlBOX and creator of the My Taught You podcast. She’s like the best friend who knows the inside scoop on all things career, personal development, relationships, and business—and she never hesitates to keep it real.

Myleik Teele | CurlBox

Photo: Myleik Teele

I don’t know what’s in store for this country.

But what I do know is that there are many women, maybe even some in your community, who are in need of your support. Powerful change comes in numbers and no effort is too small. Whether it’s sharing inspirational articles on social media, contributing a post to a publication, buying a product or service of your favorite girl boss, creating your own product or service, or tuning into a webinar to support a fellow creative, every single one of your efforts makes a differenceIt’s up to you and me to change the tune of this country, and that depends heavily on building a group of women to help keep you sane in all aspects of your life. So get friendly on social media, attend more networking events, pursue that big idea that you’ve been putting off for way too long, and build your network of powerhouse women who will carry the torch for change in this country. We need all the positivity and momentum we can get for the long road ahead.

Written by Brea Finney, Contributor

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