We covered everything from professional disadvantages that women of color experience, family, the informal education that colleges and universities provide, and how she is evening out the playing field to give exceptional women of color a fighting chance.
It all started for Courtney when she was a scholarshiped campus leader as an undergraduate student at the University of San Francisco. During her years there, she continued working at a law firm to cover her education costs. Inspired by the events during Katrina, Courtney wanted to have a direct positive impact instead of operating behind the scenes.
Therefore, Courtney went to straight to Fordham and obtained a Masters in Urban Studies. While she was there, Courtney researched urban minority women’s ability to integrate into society. With the pervasive nature of violence against women, Courtney’s research illuminated that urban minority women lacked robust networks. Instead young minority women were being hidden away at home in an effort to protect them from the variety of dangers in their community. This layer of protection was in turn harming these women’s abilities to get out of those communities as they lacked the social capital.
However, upon graduation, Courtney was offered an incredible opportunity in New York and began her “adult” life. But, as is the case with all transitions, it was a significant challenge. Faced with this new environment, Courtney quickly discovered that she needed the guidance that many of her peers received. Seeking this resource, Courtney couldn’t find the kind of organization she needed. So, in true driven millennial form, Courtney started her own non-profit the Color MeB. “I remember there was a lot of snow that year in New York, I had lost my job and I was really down from all of these challenges. But, I really wanted to provide direct value and promote successful women.”
From that day forward, Courtney has been growing CMB to offer trainings, webinars, networking opportunities and an insightful blog created for minority women. When asked what has been her greatest success, “Getting an article published with Bustle and being asked to speak as an alumna graduation speaker were the external validation that we were going in the right direction with CMB.”
On the greatest lesson? “Take your time. There’s always this pressure to have the grades, experience, you had to rush. There isn’t a huge rush, take the time so you can figure our what you want to do.”