Legacy leadership defines leadership as not solely for the advancement of oneself, but intentionally for the advancement of others—particularly women and people from underrepresented groups. It entails proactively using your platform at every career and life stage to lead by example with intentional inclusivity, empower others in their own advancement and create social value.
This blog series showcases stories by recent graduates on how they are pursuing legacy leadership in their careers through an intentionally inclusive lens and commitment to social impact.
When I began my career I didn’t have a purpose. A young college graduate, I headed to New York City, bright-eyed with a simple goal: make enough money to live and enjoy the city. That would all change two years later when I joined an education startup, General Assembly. There, I designed programs that helped young adults become software engineers. I will never forget the day a student who was formerly homeless told me that I had saved his life. I’ve realized that education is a tool I can use to actualize my purpose of helping disadvantaged groups, specifically focusing on three issues that are close to my heart: improving the plight of Black people, gender equality, and education quality.
Today I am actualizing my purpose on these three causes using different tools and paths. To further my vision of improving the plight of Black people, I recently joined the board of Birthright AFRICA, a nonprofit for African entrepreneurs and leaders, after planning a trip to Ghana and Nigeria to better understand my cultural ties and historical roots. Initially, when I began planning it, I didn’t realize the trip would be so transformative. Traveling across the world, my mind was put at ease. I had started to heal through heritage. Today I am working to ensure that other Black Americans have the chance to mentally heal and learn about their culture through trips to the African continent.
While I am extremely excited about the progress we’ve made to date, I feel as though I have just scratched the surface of how I plan to actualize my purpose in my personal life and career. I am currently pursuing my Masters in Education, which I would like to use towards my goal of improving education quality.¹ I will soon begin a career as a venture capitalist, and I hope to leverage my role to improve the plight of Black people and decrease gender inequality, similar to the way I used my roles in EdTech startups in the past. My short-term goal, as a junior member of the team, is to learn as much as I can and speak up in my areas of expertise, especially when I can help our team recognize when we might be allowing bias into our decision-making process.
In the long term, I hope to be leading the charge on investing in women- and racial minority-led companies. Currently, white founders receive nearly 80% of venture capital and male founders receive more than 90% of venture capital despite people of color and women making up the majority of the total population in the US.² I also would like to invest in EdTech and “future of work” startups that are improving the quality of education in the US and globally. Through blending my personal identity, nonprofit work and career, I believe that I will actualize my purpose.