2021 Honoree

Kelley Carter

Fashion Director, Bloomingdale's

“This is a huge societal problem and issue [asking salary requirements in job interviews], and I am heartened that many companies are moving away from this practice. But as it stands right now, we as women still need to continue to be our own best advocates. Know your worth and ask for more.”

In your opinion, what qualities make a “Power Woman”?

The first thing that comes to mind is a strength, which can come in many different forms. I also think a Power Woman is kind, generous, curious, vulnerable and passionate. I think what makes someone really powerful is the ability to work through fear and have the courage to continue to take risks and use your voice.

Do you believe that there is any gender specific role for women to play in the Covid-19 pandemic. Do you believe the response to the Covid-19 pandemic highlights & emphasizes the natural resilience of

I know for many women, the pandemic has meant they had to take on even more at work and at home. For me, the isolation that I experienced was particularly difficult. However, I realized my own resilience in my ability to shift my focus as I endured the emotional and the mental impact of the pandemic on my own.

With all the different issues one could focus on, how do you balance your efforts in pursuit of gender equality? Is it a global approach or a specific issue that you are passionate about?

Over the course of my career, I’ve been acutely aware of how Black women must fight to be included in this conversation. Now, we’ve seen a shift in the workplace, and my focus is to ensure that this shift is not just a trend, but that it becomes reality. And, that Black women’s particular experiences and points of view are considered in the pursuit of gender equality.

What do you think is the number one action we as a society can take toward en-powering women and gender equality?

Seeing more women, especially women of color, in leadership roles can make a big difference. Not only does it have proven benefits for the women working under them in the workplace today, but this kind of visibility also sends a strong message to young girls and women.

Can you tell us a short story in which you encountered a block due to your gender?

Unfortunately, in the past, I’ve seen how women can block other women from moving forward. My hope is that we can get on each other’s teams and support each other in our careers

Do you think that asking previous salary requirements in job interviews contributes to the pay gap between women and men? Should we push for a nationwide ban?

This is a huge societal problem and issue, and I am heartened that many companies are moving away from this practice. But as it stands right now, we as women still need to continue to be our own best advocates. Know your worth and ask for more.

There are many studies that support the idea that a female presence in the boardroom increases the bottom line and leads to healthier work environments. What can we do to continue to support and enhance the growth and presence of women in high profile positions?

Workplaces overall need to be more supportive of women, to allow them to continue to grow and climb the ladder as their lives and careers change. I also think mentorship, by both men and women leaders, is key in developing leadership skills needed to succeed.

Was there a defining moment or experience in your life that led you to where you are today? What was it?

Not every job is going to be great for every person. In the past, I had a job where my voice wasn’t being heard, and my opinions and strategic perspective were diminished by other women in the room. I made a conscious choice to extricate myself from this work environment, and to go out on my own as a freelancer, which was very scary. I knew I was leaving behind benefits and security, but I still had my credibility and integrity. From there, I consciously and unconsciously developed my professional pillars that would guide my future career. I knew I would never tolerate being in a room where my voice wasn’t heard. I’m grateful to have had that experience and understand the importance of championing oneself, but also championing the voices and opinions in the room that I work with.

If you could have someone else’s job for a day, who and what would it be? Why?

Shonda Rhimes! She is a storyteller for all. She had Thursday night on lockdown and she captivated the attention of a diverse audience in such a compelling and meaningful way. Her race doesn’t pigeonhole her into telling one type of story.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

The best advice I received is to stop downplaying who I am and what I’ve accomplished to make others feel comfortable.

What is your favorite book (fiction or non-fiction)?

The Four Agreements. I read it often.

What do you value most in your friends?

As Oprah said, “Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down.”

Which trait do you find most uncomfortable in yourself? In others?

Still trying to find it! All kidding aside, one of the things I try to do is really try to stay positive and harness that positivity.

What do you consider the most overrated virtue?

I try to focus on a few virtues at a time. I specifically am focused on creativity, courage, integrity, and joyfulness. I’m really trying to find joy in every day.

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