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Rosario Dawson Becomes One Of The First Women Of Color To Join The Board Of A Major Cannabis Brand

The cannabis space is still in need of some serious diversifying, but actress and activist Rosario Dawson is helping to change the face of the industry with her newly-appointed role. Today, Dawson joined the Board of Directors of leading cannabis-infused beverage company Cann, making history as one of the first queer women of color to serve on the board of a major cannabis brand. Image Courtesy of Cann The barrier-breaking move is one that the actress was eager to be a part of, noting that the cannabis company is setting an example that could be a catalyst for change across the industry. “Cann has proven to be such a leading voice for diversity and inclusion in the cannabis industry that I knew I had to get involved with the company,” Dawson tells AfroTech exclusively. “Their example is one to follow. As one of the first multi-racial women to serve on the board of a major cannabis brand, my mission is to use this position to push the industry towards much-needed change happening...

Njera Perkins

Aug 19, 2021

Meet The First Black Woman Named Chair Of Surgery At An Academic Health Sciences Center In The U.S.

Albany Medical Center makes history with its latest announcement of its new chief of surgery and chair of its Department of Surgery. According to Albany Med, Dr. KMarie King is the first Black woman to be named chair of surgery at an academic health science center in the U.S. The Atlanta surgeon, researcher, and professor — who will be taking over for Dr. Steve Stain — will begin the new role on Sept. 1. Currently, Dr. King is a professor of surgery at Morehouse School of Medicine and serves as the chief of surgery and medical director for surgical quality at Grady Memorial Hospital, a 960-bed hospital, and Level 1 trauma center located in Atlanta, GA. Not only is she trained in the area of hepatobiliary and pancreas surgery, but Dr. King has also received multiple awards for her research in the areas of the liver and pancreatic cancers. “Throughout her distinguished career, Dr. King has positioned herself as a proven leader in all areas of academic medicine, including patient care,...

Shanique Yates

Jul 7, 2021

TV Exec Kim Godwin Poised To Become The First Black Woman To Run A Broadcast News Network

Black women in media are killing it at the top of the career ladder, and EVP Kim Godwin is the latest to make a major move to ABC News. Deadline reports that Godwin — a longtime CBS News executive who currently serves as executive vice president of news — is poised to become the next president of ABC News, making her the first Black woman to run a broadcast network news operation. According to the New York Post, Godwin is set to replace James Goldston, who previously announced that he’d be stepping down from his position as of March 31. CBS reportedly agreed to let Godwin out of her contract — which had one year remaining on it — so that she could make the historic move. The outlet also reports under Goldston’s leadership, ABC News’ workplace environment was described by sources as “insular, divisive, cut-throat,” which in turn made it harder for minorities and women to see upward growth. Godwin is now being brought into the fold at the network with a mission to repair the...

Njera Perkins

Apr 13, 2021

Amaya Jernigan Makes History as West Virginia University's First Black Woman Student Government President

After more than 150 years since its founding, West Virginia University just elected its first Black woman as student government president, according to My Buckhannon. Amaya Jernigan, who hails from Waldorf, Maryland, will take over the post for the first time in WVU’s history. She will lead the university’s student body for the 2021-2022 academic year alongside Hunter Moore, who will serve as vice president. “I would like to thank every Mountaineer who has made it possible for me to hold this position. I am beyond grateful and will be forever thankful that you all were brave enough to pave the way for me,” Jernigan said in a statement. “Hunter and I, as well as everyone else elected today, have been asked to bring change to campus. We won’t let you down. We have to be the change we seek, and the ‘ACTION’ starts today.” Jernigan is a junior biology major and she served as a senator-at-large for WVU’s Student Government Association (SGA) prior to landing the presidential role....

Michelai Graham

Mar 15, 2021

31 Influential Black Women Who Accomplished Famous Firsts to Make History

Women’s History Month is all about uplifting generations of hard-working women who are becoming pioneers in their own right every single day. This year, AfroTech is amplifying the famous firsts of Black women today who have defied the odds to open doors and break glass ceilings for us all. Here are all the Black women who have and continue to inspire the next generation of young Black women to be the leaders of tomorrow: Kamala Harris Photo Credit: Chris Carlson/ AP Kamala D. Harris made history as the first Black, first Asian-American, and first woman to ever be elected Vice President of the United States of America. She accomplished this historic feat after serving as the District Attorney of San Francisco, California Attorney General, and a U.S. Senator. Stacey Abrams Photo Credit: Mike Coppola/Getty Images Stacey Abrams — a political strategist and former minority leader of the Georgia state House — is the reason the state of Georgia turned blue for the first time in 30 years to...

Njera Perkins

Mar 1, 2021

Nigerian Economist Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala Becomes First Black Woman to Head the World Trade Organization

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is blazing a historic path in world economics as the first Black woman to lead the World Trade Organization (WTO) — a first after South Korean candidate Yoo Myung-hee dropped out of the race last week, CNN reports. In a televised briefing, Myung-hee explained that her decision to step down was determined after “close consultation” with the U.S., stating that the WTO had been “without a leader for too long.” The organization has been operating without a leader since last August after Roberto Azevêdo stepped down from his position just a year earlier than his term was expected to end. Okonjo-Iweala — an economist of 25 years and former finance minister of Nigeria — has so far received much support from several WTO members, including the European Union, China, Japan and Australia. During the Trump Administration, the U.S. was leaning toward favoring Myung-hee for the position. While there’s been an escalating trade fight between the U.S. and China, Okonjo-Iweala is...

Njera Perkins

Feb 8, 2021

Seattle Seahawks Appoint Karen Wilkins-Mickey As First Vice President of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

This week, the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks announced Karen Wilkins-Mickey as its first-ever Vice President of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, a newly-created role for the organization, Black Enterprise reports. Within her new position, Wilkins-Mickey will lead the Seahawks’ overall diversity, equity and inclusion efforts, and act as a liaison for the team, its senior management group, players and the community to lead initiatives and programs. She will report directly to Seahawks President Chuck Arnold. “I am thrilled to welcome Karen to the Seahawks family as our organization’s first Vice President of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion,” said Arnold in a statement. “Our organization is guided upon core values of acceptance and understanding that help us create a culture of respect, equality and inclusiveness both on and off the field. Over the past year, we’ve looked to take additional meaningful steps to directly address inequality and social justice efforts and felt it was critical to add...

Njera Perkins

Jan 20, 2021

USF's Dr. Shamaria Engram Makes History As First Black Woman to Graduate From CSE Doctoral Program

Black graduates are still making history in the new year. This week, Tampa Bay native Dr. Shamaria Engram marked a historic milestone as the first Black woman to graduate from the University of South Florida’s Computer Science and Engineering doctoral program, WFLA reports. In the 40-plus years that USF’s Computer Science and Engineering doctoral program has been around, no Black woman has graduated with such a degree, but thanks to Dr. Engram that has since changed. Dr. Engram recalls growing up often times being the only Black person in the room having attended Strawberry Crest High School — which was known as a predominately white school. “You kind of have to put on this face because you don’t want someone to look at you differently,” she told WFLA . “You want them to consider you as smart as everyone else in the room.” After graduating high school, she went on to attend Bethune Cookman University, an HBCU located in Daytona Beach. Throughout her undergraduate career, she grew...

Njera Perkins

Jan 7, 2021

Boston Red Sox Hire Bianca Smith, the First Black Woman to Coach Professional Baseball

Bianca Smith is having a great start to the new year. The Boston Red Sox recently hired Bianca Smith as minor league coach making Smith the first Black woman to coach professional baseball, reports Boston Globe. “She was a great candidate coming in,” said Red Sox vice president of player development Ben Crockett. “She’s had some really interesting experiences and has been passionate about growing her skillset and development herself.” Prior to joining the Sox staff, the 29-year-old played softball at Dartmouth College. She also served as a baseball operations intern with the Texas Rangers in 2017 and interned for the Cincinnati Reds baseball operations in 2019. Currently, she serves as an assistant baseball coach and hitting coordinator at Carroll University in Wisconsin under head coach Stein Rear. "I wanted to learn more about how the body actually worked." – New @RedSox minor league coach Bianca Smith on studying biomechanics to help gain an edge. Full #MLBNHotStove chat:...

Niki McGloster

Jan 5, 2021

SVP Rashida Jones Becomes First Black Person to Run a Major Cable Network as MSNBC's New President

MSNBC made history on Monday with groundbreaking news that will change the television landscape at large. CNN reports that NBCUniversal News Group Chairman Cesar Conde announced that senior vice president Rashida Jones will become the new president of MSNBC, making her the first Black person in history to head a major cable network. “Rashida knows and understands MSNBC, in part because it’s where she started when she first joined NBCU seven years ago,” Conde shared in an email to NBC News employees. “She knows that it is the people who work here that make it great, and she understands its culture. She also appreciates the impact and potential of the brand.” NBC News reports Jones began her career at MSNBC in 2013 and rose through the ranks to become senior vice president for specials in 2017. Her portfolio was further expanded earlier this year after she she was put in charge of MSNBC’s daytime and weekend news schedule. According to Conde, Jones has been integral in guiding MSNBC’s...

Njera Perkins

Dec 8, 2020

American Express Names Glenda McNeal as the First Black Woman on its Executive Committee

Glenda McNeal is the first Black woman to join the Executive Committee at American Express. According to Black Enterprise , over the years the President of Strategic Partnerships has lent her expertise across sales and client management, business development, and marketing and strategy at the financial corporation. Also, McNeal has overseen the relationships of Amex’s largest partners, including Delta, Marriott, Hilton, PayPal, and Amazon. In her new seat, McNeal will help Amex face COVID-19 and other challenges of the global economy. Furthermore, the committee is now represented by seven women, a record number for the company, Patch reports . “Having Glenda’s expertise and experience on the Executive Committee will be a huge asset for us,” Chairman and CEO Stephen J. Squeri said . “We will benefit from their diverse perspectives as we navigate through the challenges we face and position our company to win going forward.” McNeal’s storied career spans three decades. She is a Dillard...

Niki McGloster

Jun 22, 2020