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University of Phoenix College of Doctoral Studies releases whitepaper examining underrepresentation of African American women in corporate senior level leadership

By Sharla Hooper

Authors Dr. Alfreda Goods, Dr. Adrian Allen and Dr. Lisa Langford explore how diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives might be falling short

University of Phoenix College of Doctoral Studies has released a new whitepaper, “Narrowing the Path to C-Suite Positions,” in a collaboration between authors Alfreda Goods, DM, a fellow in the Center for Workforce Diversity and Inclusion Research (CWDIR), Adrian Allen, DBA, and Lisa K. Langford, DM, also a fellow in CWDIR.

Women, and African American women specifically, are disproportionately underrepresented in senior-level leadership positions in United States corporations. While one in four C-Suite positions are filled by women, only one in 20 is a woman of color. To date, there are only three African American women who have attained CEO status in Fortune 500 corporations.

The whitepaper aims to understand what is missing from Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives to successfully promote more African American women into senior-level positions. The concept of racial microaggressions is explored in depth and highlighted as a significant negative contributor to the disparity in leadership. The whitepaper also proposes mentorship and sponsorship approaches as actionable improvements that can be made to corporate DEI programs.

“African American women often realize there are two or more structures to learn, navigate, and be responsible for, where invisible and unconscious biases prevail and surround this dual standard,” states Goods. “A practical method to consider for increasing the representation of African American women in senior-level positions is creating corporate mentorship and sponsorship opportunities. Positive mentorship programs can promote the inclusion and acceptance of African American women as part of the organization and not as outsiders.”

Goods possesses over 15 years of corporate experience in banking financial processing, where she supported significant clients nationally and internationally, and has instructed graduate and undergraduate Business Administration students for over 18 years. Goods received her Doctor of Management in Organizational Leadership from the University of Phoenix, a Master of Management with distinction from Bellevue University in Bellevue, Nebraska, and a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from the University of Houston. She has received recognition for her community work with the NYC Department of Youth and Community Development and recently launched her brand ANVOEL – A New Voice on Ethical Leadership, with the vision to change the mindset of leaders that the concept of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) is the norm and not the exception.

Allen currently serves as an assistant professor and manager at her undergraduate alma mater, Shaw University, an HBCU experience and opportunity to mentor, nurture, and facilitate strategic alliances with future leaders. She has over twenty years of experience in higher education. Allen earned her DBA in Management at Argosy University at Sarasota, MBA from Pfeiffer University, and MSHA at Strayer University. She also holds certifications in Six Sigma and is a Scrum Master.  

Langford has more than 15 years of higher education teaching experience. She served 21 years in the military and now works as a senior project manager with the federal government.   Langford earned her Doctor of Management (DM) at the University of Phoenix, where she began her career in 2006, and an MBA from Pfeiffer University. She is a certified life coach and a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

The full whitepaper is available at College of Doctoral Studies research hub and as a direct link here.

About the College of Doctoral Studies

University of Phoenix’s College of Doctoral Studies focuses on today’s challenging business and organizational needs, from addressing critical social issues to developing solutions to accelerate community building and industry growth. The College’s research program puts students in the center of an effective ecosystem of experts, resources and tools to help prepare them to be a leader in their organization, industry and community. Through this program, students and researchers work with organizations to conduct research that can be applied in the workplace in real time.

About University of Phoenix

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