Meet the most strategic women in history
by Nicolegvalentine 09 Feb 2018 Comment (0)
February is known nationwide as Black History Month. Here at Winly, we wanted to highlight five pioneering and innovative black business women who are not often credited for their strategic acumen. All of these women were able to use their brilliant minds to create and innovate in challenging environments. Read on and be inspired by their stories.
Katharine Johnson is an important woman in black history. Her beginnings were very modest, but once she accepted a position at the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics’ (NACA), the first aerospace program, her life changed. Her affinity for math was noticed by those at NASA and she is credited for many major space explorations. Her most notable work is that of the first human to orbit the Earth, John Glenn. Most recently, we have been able to hear her story in the movie “Hidden Figures” where she is portrayed beautifully by Taraji P. Henson. Her ability to strategize and calculate space trajectory and timing for launches for so many missions has landed her a noteworthy spot in our minds.
Scout Launch Vehicle Program. Her NASA history is also featured in the movie “Hidden Figures” where Octavia Spencer uses her talents to give a stunning performance.
Mary Jackson’s beginnings at NASA were more complicated than that of Vaughan and Jackson. In 1951, Jackson gained employment at Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory’s West Computing Unit. After two years of computing and strategizing, she was recruited to join engineer Kazimierz Czarnecki in the Supersonic Pressure Tunnel. By demonstrating her skill, she was given a promotion, with classes only offered at the all-white high school. Not one to let hardships defeat her, Jackson finished the classes and gained her promotion and became NASA’s first black engineer in 1958. Janelle Monae portrays Jackson in the film “Hidden Figures”.
Perhaps one of the most iconic strategists in black history is Harriet Tubman. After escaping slavery in 1849, Tubman made it her mission to provide refuge for as many slaves as she could. Known as Moses, she created a secret code, usually songs, to let others know how to get to a safe house or where to meet in order to escape. Since slaves would sing spirituals in the field, this strategy allowed the secret codes to remain secret and the slave masters would often encourage the singing. Tubman helped to liberate slaves from 1849 to 1859 and freed close to 300 slaves.
Madam CJ Walker
Madam CJ Walker is a business entrepreneur who is known for her hair care products. Her path to notability started in 1906 when she created her own shampoo and ointment. As a natural marketer, she was able to sell her products by providing free demonstrations. Later in 1906, Madam C. J. Walker Manufacturing Company was born. Through trial and error and successful business strategies, her company had become black America's most successful business. Door to door sales with pitches and demonstrations set the example for business like Avon and Mary Kay, that weren’t founded yet. By becoming the first self-made millionaire in America, Madam C.J. Walker left her mark on the world and let people know that you can get your start by giving yourself a start.
These five wonderful women show us that adversity can be overcome with a strategic mindset. There is nothing too big to keep anyone from fulfilling their dreams and mission. Each of these women worked hard and built inspiring legacies. All five teach that by building skill and creating strategy, we also have the opportunity to make a mark on the future. Ready to get started on your business strategy journey? Check out .