Voices heard about leadership

Two professors at the university were issue editors and contributing authors of Volume 11, Issue 5 of Advances in Developing Human Resources. Assistant professor for management, entrepreneurship and marketing
Dr. Marilyn Byrd and professor of social work, sociology and criminal justice
Shirley Walker are strong advocates about the challenges of African American women in leadership roles.

The issue is titled “Giving Voice: The Sociocultural Realities of African American Women’s Leadership Experiences,” published in October.

“It was an honor to be asked to do the journal because Advances is thematic
and they have never done an article on African American women,” Byrd said. “It’s a highly competitive process and privilege to be asked to do the journal.”

The associate editor for Advances Susan Lynham asked Byrd to edit. Lynham
has since become the editor. Byrd said she was asked to write because Lynham knew it was an issue that she was interested in.

“As an editor I had to select contributing authors,” Byrd said. “I looked for professors who had written on the topic of leadership experience of African American women. I then gave them a special invitation.”

Walker’s article is titled “Reflections on Leadership from the Perspective of an African American Woman of Faith.”

Walker said, “I hope it changes peoples perspectives in the workplace and
female workers of color will be better understood and better supported in their various leadership roles. There will be a much better understanding of a race issue and a gender issue.”

From invitation to publishing, the journal process took 10 months.

“The topic is so under explored,” Byrd said. “We think about leadership as men and more specifically white men. There’s not a lot talked about the issues a black woman has to experience on race, class and gender.”

Walker said not a lot has been written on the subject, especially from a woman of faith.

“It’s great to hear the voice of African American women in the workforce”,
she said. “I want people to know the importance of God and faith playing in what you do.”

All the authors who contributed to the journal were African American women.

“I consider it an opportunity to begin the discussion,” Byrd said. “There has never been a co-edited and authored by African American women former or present leaders in a predominantly white organization.”

Byrd said the publishing is an opportunity to enlighten society and is a big step.

Byrd was appointed to a three year term on the editorial board of ADHR in September.

“Sue Lynham invited me to become a member of the editorial board. Getting
this to print was a big step. When race, class and gender converge, it sometimes presents a disadvantage because we’re perceived in societal
conflicts,” Byrd said. “Most leaders don’t have to experience all three at the same time. It is a passion of mine to give voice to the issue. It opens doors for more discussions to take place on the experiences of African American
women.”

Author: Mary Beth Kelton

I am a senior at UMHB and loving it! I am the features editor for The Bells and I also intern at the Temple Chamber of Commerce. I transferred to UMHB fall 2008 and God has done so many amazing things with my life. I am excited to graduate in May but more excited about the next two semesters and the memories that I will gain. I plan to continue my education by obtaining a masters degree in sociology after graduation unless I am somehow blessed with a job.

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