“The Memo: What Women of Color Need to Know to Secure a Seat at the Table”
by Minda Harts
Several years ago, a book circulated among businesswomen that advised them to “lean in,” speak up and coalesce. Minda Harts says she eagerly read the book but, once finished, she felt it didn’t speak to her experiences. Like most women of color in business, she’d always “leaned in” because she had to. That book spurred her to come up with The Memo.
The ugly truth, she says, is few organizations teach women of color how to deal with mostly-white workplaces. It’s not just a matter of showing up and doing the work; you need to survive and build “your squad.”
Networking is at the top of the list in importance. You may not feel like going to happy hour with coworkers who have irritated you all day but go anyhow. By joining in you give people a chance to get to know you. You might find an office friend, Harts notes.
Women of color must learn “respectability politics” as well as office politics, she says.
It sounds like another platitude, but know your worth. Invest in yourself and stand out, then get the self-confidence you need to ask for what you want.
Finally, if you’re white and reading this book, pay attention. Says Harts, “Women of color will be the majority of the workforce by 2060; if I were a white woman, I would do better.”
“The Memo” offers helpful words for those who are the lone women of color at their workplaces. It teaches strength in the face of racism, self-confidence and how to school coworkers while keeping your job.
It gives young women of color a sisterhood; albeit, one made of paper.