For former Goldman Sachs employee Edith Cooper, standing out in the workplace is something she’s grown to be familiar with during the last 20 years.
Being the lone person of color in a sea of white faces has proven to be a difficult challenge for her, but serving on the boards of both Slack and Etsy has helped her triumph over her obstacles in her career.
Now the executive is exploring a new business venture with her daughter, an all-inclusive, innovative idea that promotes life and career coaching for everyone.
According to TechCrunch, Cooper and her daughter, Jordan Taylor — a former chief of staff at MIC and Harvard Business School Baker Scholar — have teamed up to found Medley, a new membership-based community that provides young professionals with career development skills and building blocks for life.
“As Black women, we have found strength in our heritage and the resiliency required to surmount the barriers of racism that have existed in our lives and still exist today. We have also lived as ‘diversity’ in the worlds of predominantly white schools, neighborhoods, and workplaces — and have often provided a bridge to broaden perspectives. In doing so, we broadened our thinking as well,” the duo said in a Medium post.
The two have identified a need in their communities to create this network. The duo has since launched the new startup with a goal in mind to connect users spanning across different industries who have also had shared experiences of being the “only one in the room.”
“This idea of people being able to bring their true selves to work and to be able to talk through what that looks like is at the core of what Medley is offering,” Cooper told Forbes.
In addition to full access to workshops, panels, and discussions led by industry experts, members can also commit to a 90-minute virtual meeting each month, facilitated by a Medley-certified coach. Meetings will focus on addressing and reflecting on the ongoing experiences in their personal and professional lives, Forbes reports.
By merging together personal wellness and professional development in group discussions, Medley is able to prioritize the immediate needs that should always be addressed in the workplace.
“You can’t just look at your career in a vacuum,” Taylor told Forbes. “In order to meet your potential, the ability to have a more holistic approach is incredibly important.”
As stated by Forbes, Cooper’s robust network of coaches for the startup are to be credited to the guidance she received under Merche Del Valle, a former global head of coaching at Goldman Sachs and certified lifestyle, nutrition, and wellness coach.
So far the startup has raised over $1 million in funding from investors, according to Fortune, including Foundation Capital, Away co-founder Jen Rubio, former AOL CEO Tim Armstrong, and Brightwood Capital founder Damien Dwin.
Medley now enters a space with existing progress toward career development with other women-led networks like Chief, which strives to be a resource for women executives at the VP level.
For more information on Medley, visit their website.