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Black women executives making history in the c-suite offer career advice to those following in their footsteps

February 20, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.

Compression ratio: 24.5%. 2 min read.

Kamala Harris's swearing-in as the nation's first woman, Black and southeast Asian vice president comes at a pivotal moment for Black women in the business world, as businesses struggle to increase the number of up Black executives in its ranks.

The January 20 swearing-in of the nation's first woman, Black and southeast Asian vice president came at a pivotal moment for Black women in the business world, which up until recently has failed miserably to increase the number of Black executives — male and female — in its ranks.

But experts say there currently aren't enough Black women in the c-suite pipeline at most major companies to narrow the gap between Black and White women, who are also underrepresented in executive leadership.

In honor of Black History Month, CNN Business asked three of the highest ranked Black women in corporate America to reflect on their career journeys and offer advice to those looking to follow in their footsteps.

Allen made history in December when she was chosen to head US operations for Hennessy, becoming the brand's highest ranking Black executive.

Both LVMH and the larger luxury goods industry have for years been criticized for using Black culture themes and celebrities to market products while failing to hire more Black fashion designers and business executives.

Career advice: "We must redirect more Black women to profit and loss responsibility versus cost areas (such as HR and operations) earlier in their careers.

Stewart is a proud Howard University graduate who in 2012 became the first Black woman to serve as a vice president at Google.

"As a Black woman, I've worked in male-dominated industries for most of my career," Stewart said.

One of the career-defining moments in Chapman's life came in 1995 when she won an essay competition organized by the Executive Leadership Council, a pipeline organization for emerging Black business executives, and was invited to a national honors symposium to meet some of its senior members.

At that meeting, Chapman and her fellow contest winners met some of the most successful Black executives in the country, including Ursula Burns, who later became CEO of Xerox, and Kenneth Chenault, who went on to become chief executive at American Express, where Chapman's career later flourished.

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