You've heard of the glass ceiling.
It's the barrier holding women back from breaking through to the highest echelons of corporate America. A few women are promoted to those power seats, but the realm of leadership in America's top companies remains mostly male--and mostly white.
If striving for success in that reality weren't daunting enough, some women face an additional barrier: the black ceiling.
That's the barricade blocking African Americans from ascending into the top levels of corporate leadership.
Black women who aspire to become senior executives or CEOs face the double obstacle of the glass and the black ceilings, especially in certain industries where the statistics for female and black representation are discouraging.
Think about how difficult and disheartening it might seem as a black woman aspiring to excel and transcend to a corporate leadership position through the glass ceiling and the black ceiling in the historically white male energy industry.
We are five African American female executives who have achieved all of the above.
And by sharing our stories in this book, our objective is to offer our lives and our careers as inspirational blueprints for other women and people of color who aspire to leadership positions in the corporate arena.
We have blazed new trails in the energy industry by shattering ceilings. However, much work remains. The low representation of women and people of color at the helm of corporate leadership requires a strong commitment to persevering past the many obstacles that can delay and derail a career.
That is why we convened on the pages of this book to show that, Yes, it can be done! We show it through: our own personal belief systems; networking with other women and people of color in our industry; receiving guidance from mentors; committing long hours to our jobs; relocating when opportunity knocked; pursuing our education and training to propel us on an upward trajectory in our field; and celebrating the successes as they come.
Very importantly, we have demonstrated a commitment throughout our careers--and now into retirement for some of us--to reaching back to mentor others so they can follow the paths that we have blazed into uncharted territory for women and people of color in corporate America.
We hope that by reading The Energy Within Us: An Illuminating Perspective from Five Trailblazers, you will be inspired and informed about how to succeed in business and in life.