Alexis Smith and Pamela Carlton are co-authors of a research project called Making the Invisible Visible. Alexis Smith is an Associate Professor of Management at the Spears School of Business at Oklahoma State University. Her research areas span workplace issues such as gender and diversity, as well as bias and discrimination. In 2003 Pamela Carlton retired as a Managing Director and Associate Director of US Equity Research at JPMorgan Chase. She is a corporate attorney with degrees from Williams College, Yale Law School, and the Yale School of Management. Pam is President of Springboard—Partners in Cross Cultural Leadership, an organizational consulting firm that assesses organizations for an inclusive culture, designs interventions, and provides independent advisory services. Springboard produced the groundbreaking report Black Women Executives Research Initiative. Pam co-founded the Everest Project, a research initiative focused on leading change and innovation that produced The Eve of Change: Women Redefining Corporate America.
Stew spoke with both Lex and Pam about the dual challenges black women face in the workplace, being members of two minority groups who have been traditionally undervalued, underpaid, and invisible. Their research on successful black women executives highlights the ways these unusually resilient people, who were able to defy the odds and attain a pinnacle of achievement, have lessons about careers and life from which all can learn. Mentors are essential as is support from family and community. Their uplifting conclusions point to the importance of seeing all experiences -- large and small, positive and negative -- as opportunities to demonstrate competence and excellence to others, and to ourselves.