We’re sharing eight books by BIPOC women CEOS, entrepreneurs, and executives worth reading in honor of Women’s History Month.
As far back as slavery, Black women have transformed their pain into progress. As April Ryan’s recent book declares, “Black Women Will Save the World.” But what I know for sure is that we can’t do that until we save ourselves first. From the CEO of a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion consultancy to a visionary meditation and dharma teacher, these Black women have authored books that will change the way we, as Black women, advocate for ourselves in life and at work.
Breathe Black People by Zee Clarke (Mar 14, 2023)
“Zee Clarke has spent over 20 years leading teams at Fortune 500 companies and tech start-ups in Silicon Valley. After undergoing several race-related challenges, from racial profiling and harassment by the police to microaggressions in the workplace, Zee Clarke realized that mindfulness and breathwork were much more powerful outside of the yoga studio and in the context of our everyday lives. In her powerful and timely book, “Black People Breath”, Clarke draws on her professional expertise and experience as a Black woman to share mindfulness exercises, breathwork practices, and meditative tools centered on healing from and surviving racial trauma and filled with deeply personal stories highlighting the many systemic challenges that people of color face, this mixture of guide and memoir offers thirty-three practical techniques based on the emotions elicited from these experiences. “Black People Breathe” gives you the tools to process complex feelings physically, mentally, and emotionally.”
Racial Justice at Work: Practical Solutions for Systemic Change by Mary-Frances Winters and The Winters Group Team ( Feb 14, 2023)
“Mary-Frances Winters is the founder and CEO of the Winters Group Inc and author of “We Can’t Talk about That at Work,” “Inclusive Conversations,” and “Black Fatigue.” In her latest book, “Racial Justice at Work,” Winters and The Winters Group team focused on creating justice-centered organizations. This book shows how to go beyond compliance to address harm, share power, and build equity. This thought-provoking, solutions-oriented book offers strategic advice on how to adopt a justice mindset, anticipate and address resistance, shift power dynamics, and create a psychologically safe organizational culture. Individual chapters provide pragmatic how-to guides to implementing justice-centered practices in recruitment and hiring, data collection and analysis, learning and development, marketing and advertising, procurement, philanthropy, and more.”
Sensual Faith: The Art of Coming Home to Your Bodies by Lyvonne Briggs ( March 21, 2023)
“In her book debut, “Sensual Faith: The Art of Coming Home to Your Body,” Lyvonne Briggs, a body-and sex-positive womanist preacher, Emmy Award winner, and host of the Sensual Faith Podcast, tackles the uncomfortable truth that religion has not drawn us closer to our bodies. Briggs charts a path for us to practice spiritual wellness that aligns and harmonizes our bodies with pleasure and sexuality. By entering the rich traditions of ancient West African spirituality, “Sensual Faith” offers a radically inclusive model of companioning oneself. Filled with wellness rituals, journal prompts, affirmations, and practices, Sensual Faith shows us how to celebrate our bodies as our very homes.”
The Spirit of Harriet Tubman by Spring Washam (Jan 24, 2023)
“The Spirit of Harriet Tubman, who was called the Moses of her people, is rising again, and we can call forth her spirit to embody incredible strength and unwavering courage. Spring Washam, a well-known meditation and dharma educator in Oakland, California, combines direct transmissions of Harriet’s message with insightful explorations of her life and legacy. This extraordinary book gives us support and inspiration to deepen our roots of resilience and become powerful conductors of love and truth in our own lives. Whether we need to concentrate on cultivating supportive practices for ourselves or on developing talents to engage more broadly with what is growing within the enormous planet, the inspiring story of Harriet Tubman can sustain us as we respond to this unprecedented time. We can learn how to remain fearless in hostility and chaos. And through Harriet Tubman’s guidance, we will learn how to meet the challenges of this moment with a compassionate heart.”
Impactful Inclusion Toolkit by Yvette Steele (Dec 20, 2022)
“Yvette Steele is a global diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) leader who is building inclusive and equitable workplaces one employee at a time. Her belief that “inclusion is everybody’s job that anybody can do” was the catalyst of the book “Impactful Inclusion Toolkit: 52 Activities to Help You Learn and Practice Inclusion Every day in the Workplace.” The “toolkit” produces 52 behaviors to practice during the year that will empower you to be more inclusive in the real world. The activities emphasize the development of critical inclusive behaviors, including self-knowledge, connecting with others, creating new habits, and experiencing other cultures.”
A Black Woman’s Journey from Cotton Picking to College by Professor Menah Pratt- Clarke (Jan 4, 2018)
“Menah Pratt-Clarke is the vice president for strategic affairs and diversity at Virginia Tech. In her book, A Black Woman’s Journey from Cotton Picking to College Professor: Lessons about Race, Class, and Gender in America, Pratt-Clarke traces the journey and transformation of her beloved mother, Mildred Sirls, a young Black girl in rural east Texas in the 1930s who picked cotton to help her family survive, to Dr. Mildred Pratt, Professor Emerita of Social Work, who, by lifting as she climbed, influenced hundreds of students, and empowered a community. As a daughter, sister, wife, mother, and scholar-activist, Mildred lived her core beliefs: she felt that it was essential to validate individual human dignity; she recognized the power of determination and discipline as keys to success; and she committed to empowering and serving others for the greater good of society. Such values not only characterized the life she led but are also exemplified by her legacy. The book celebrates ordinary lives and individuals; it demonstrates the value of hard work and illustrates the motto of the National Association of Colored Women, “lifting as we climb.”
Playing a New Game: A Black Woman’s Guide to Being Well and Thriving in the Workplace by Dr. Tammy Wilborn (October 11, 2022)
“Dr. Tammy Wilborn is a board-certified licensed professional counselor-supervisor and owner and Chief Clinical Officer of Wilborn Clinical Services, LLC, a multi-service practice based in New Orleans, Louisiana, that provides mental health counseling, clinical supervision, continuing education workshops, consultations, and wellness events. In her new book, “Playing a New Game, Dr. Tammy delivers essential reading for all Black women currently struggling to navigate race and gender stereotypes at work. The book offers women a new way forward, in which ambition and wellness can not only coexist but bolster each other. With insights from her 20 years of professional counseling experience and extensive research, mental health expert Dr. Tammy Wilborn expands the dialogue on BIPOC women’s experiences of race and gender stereotypes at work, exploring them as a wellness issue.”
Me Power by Dr. LaNysha Adams (September 22, 2022)
LaNysha Adams, Ph.D., is the lead consultant at Edlinguist Solutions, an educational consulting agency in Washington, D.C. In the book, Dr. Adams breaks down the word “empowerment” and shares how society uses it improperly, as we often use it in the context of being given permission.
“Me Power” redefines empowerment, encouraging us to tap into our limitless flow of possibility while connecting with others.” The BIBA-award-winning book is based on the five principles of Me Power and includes activities to challenge you to tap into the power within.
About Amanda Miller
Amanda Miller is a University of Central Florida graduate with a BA in English and Writing & Rhetoric. Her writing has been published in SHEEN Magazine, FEMI Magazine, Unwritten, GreyJournal, and others.