Tag Archives: Black Women

Spotlight On: Adriane M. Brown


Adriane M. Brown

Raised: Richmond, VA

Occupation: President and Chief Operating Officer, Intellectual Ventures (IV)

Previous Roles: Senior VP, Honeywell International; President and CEO, Honeywell Transportation

Education: Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Health from Old Dominion University and a Master’s degree in Management, as a Sloan Fellow, from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Career Driven: She started her career working as a shift Supervisor for Corning. When she left to join Honeywell, she was a Vice President and general manager of Corning’s environmental products division.

Favorite Childhood Memory: Sitting on her dad’s lap to pilot the family’s Ford Country Squire station wagon down the driveway at their home in Richmond, Va.

Accolades: 2006 Women to Watch (Fortune), Most Influential Women In Automotive Industry (Forbes), 2009 100 Most Powerful Executives in Corporate America (Black Enterprise)

Quotable: “If you treat people with dignity and respect, no matter what the situation, you can always walk away with your head held high. That advice has carried me to this day.”

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Spotlight On: Edith Cooper


Edith Cooper

Occupation: Partner at Goldman Sachs leading the hedge fund initiative within the securities division.

Hometown: Raised on Manhattan’s Upper East Side and currently commutes to Wall St. from her home in Connecticut.

Education: Harvard University (undergrad); Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, MBA. Edith went to school at night while working full time.

Family Affair: As a teenager she worked in her father’s 59th St. dental practice.

Childhood Dream: Growing up she envisioned herself one day owning a fashion boutique on Madison Ave.

Banking Bug: Edith was bitten by the banking bug while pursuing her MBA at Northwestern University. She worked full time during the day for First Chicago Bank and went to school at night.

Fast Track: Edith’s career hit the fast track when she joined Goldman Sachs. She started with the firm in 1996, was promoted to Managing Director in 1998 and elevated to partner in 2000.

Family: Edith is married with three children.

Fun Fact: Edith likes to take on the same extracurricular activities as her children. When they signed up for soccer, she joined a team too!

Quotable: Edith had this to say about her approach to work/life balance, “We do not have dinner together as a family during the week,” says Cooper. “I have never been able to do that. But we look forward to dinner on Friday nights and during the weekend, and we all know that it is important to make this happen. We have adapted….[If you measure time at work versus family time] you are going to feel like a horrible mother, and regardless of how successful you are professionally, you will struggle. You will not be as good at home or at the office. However, if you take a broader perspective, you know there will be times when you’re going to be a phenomenal mom, even if it is in the evening or during the weekend. But you also know that to be exceptional at work, giving 150% of what you’ve got, work will need to be a priority at times. Over the course of a week, month, or a year, it balances out.”

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Successful, Single, Black Female Nightline Segment


The story of the number of single, successful, black women has now made the mainstream media — as a news segment on Nightline. Though many of us have experienced it, talked about it, and read about it, seeing the staggering statistics is still tough: 42% of black women have never been married — double the # of white women. Ouch.

Feel free to watch the Nightline segment and read the article. Then tell us what you think. Could you relate or are you sick of seeing/hearing another story about this?

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A Black “Sex and the City” Coming to Bookstores and the Big Screen


Helena Andrews, DC writer, has received a lot of buzz lately due to her upcoming memoir entitled, “Bitch is the New Black.” Her book is to talk about the struggles of young, successful black women to find love and build a career. Despite the book not being released until June, Grey’s Anatomy’s Shonda Rhimes has already been reported to produce the film.

An attractive young woman with a BA from Columbia, Master’s from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern, and positions at O Magazine and The New York Times, Helena seems to have a very familiar story. She’s been called a “bitch” at work, has had a complicated childhood and, like many other black women like her, has had a very difficult time finding love. From The Washington Post:

The genesis of Andrews’s book came from a conversation a few years ago between Andrews and Gina, a social scientist who lives in Los Angeles. They wanted to start a blog to explore “why black women can’t find a man.” The day she talked to an agent about this idea and pitched it as a book, one of her sorority sisters committed suicide.

It jarred Andrews. “We stopped. Discussed what happened. We think each other’s lives are fine. You got a good job. A good place to live. You will handle it.” But some people can’t handle it. “She looked like any other successful black woman,” Andrews says of her friend. , “Good clothes, stylish. Ivy League degree, master’s.” Nobody saw it coming. She won’t discuss the details, but you can see it in her face, the mind racing over the why.

“People keep talking about the black single woman in D.C. But do you know who she is? Does she know what she wants? They should stop saying we have it all together. . . . I am that single black woman in Washington, D.C. Why is she single? This is who I am. Tell me.”

Read the entire story about Helena Andrews on The Washington Post.

Tell us what you think – are you excited to read/watch Helena’s story? Do you think her story is an accurate depiction of successful black women in America?

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Are Black Women Really Intimidating?


If you are an intelligent, professional , single or “spoken for” black woman, chances are, you have at some point been referred to as “intimidating”. Whether it was the reason for the surprisingly negative performance review you received at work, the excuse your non-brown co-workers gave for not befriending you right away or the ever popular (and my personal fav – NOT!) unequivocal reason that you are still single. No matter the specifics of the justification for the label, it all speaks to the same stereotypical impression that black women are somehow more intimidating than any other group of women. Even our first lady Michelle Obama could not escape the intimidation label during our President’s campaign for office. Surely you remember the ridiculous caricature of her on the cover of The New Yorker as a gun toting, afro wearing, finger pointing, super black panther from the 70’s. If that’s not enough, then surely you have heard the whisperings from some black men about the reason they choose to date women of other races.

A sociologist might argue that the association between black women and intimidation stems from the deliberate attempt to reverse the roles of black men and women during slavery. A time when black men were emasculated and black women were stripped of their feminine characteristics in the eyes of the masters and later in films, a la’ Hattie McDaniel in “Gone With the Wind”. Clearly we are far from the days of slavery yet this perception of black women as intimidating continues to perpetuate itself be it in pop culture, politics, music, movies or any other facet of life. Could it be that where there is smoke, there is fire? Are black women really intimidating or is everyone else super sensitive? Share your story of “intimidation” and let us know what you think.

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The Vyne Reader Spotlight: Rakia Reynolds


Rakia Reynolds of Skai Blue Media

This week’s Vyne Weekly Reader Spotlight is Rakia Reynolds. Besides being our producer extraordinaire and one of the most fashionable people we know, Rakia is a talented woman on the move! Get to know her below:

Name: Rakia Reynolds         

Hometown: Philadelphia, PA

Roles you play in life: I am a wife, mother of 2 (soon to be 3), daughter, oldest sister of 3 girls; President of Philadelphia Women in Film & Television; Secretary of the Philadelphia chapter of NAMIC; Director of Public Relations at Skai Blue Media; Business Consultant to some of the cities most thriving businesses; Fashion Ambassador of GPTMC, Greater Philadelphia Tourism and Marketing Corporation/ Philly 360 campaign.

Hobbies: This is always a funny question to me :o) I don’t really have hobbies anymore. My life is consumed with work and family. When I am not working, I am playing mommy and wife to my family. There are brief moments that I would consider my hobbies to be finding great vintage finds, SHOPPING, and styling!   

Education: I graduated with a degree in Marketing and International Business from the Fox School of Business and Management at Temple University.

What is the last movie you saw?:  I just TRIED the 3D experience of A Christmas Carol with my children… When one of the ghosts who visited Ebenezer Scrooge jaw fell off while he was talking, my husband and I quickly grabbed our children and decided that a park outing would be more appropriate.

What is your favorite TV show?: Since I rarely have time to watch TV, my only options are Sunday evenings. I’m embarrassed to say that I am currently into Desperate Housewives, DESPITE their lack of brown woman representation on the show 😦

Shuffle your iPod – what’s the first song that comes up?: SUNSHOWER, by Dr. Buzzard and The Original Savannah Band

What is your favorite travel destination?: In a perfect world, I’d say Paris or The Virgin Islands, but for now, I’ll say Miami because IT IS NY on water

What beauty product can’t you live without?: I most certainly without a doubt cannot live without my concealer and mascara

Finish this sentence, “To feel more centered I…”: usually resort to retail therapy OR more often call my daddyJ

Who is your celebrity fashion inspiration?: I am not really inspired by any current celebs fashion except for Mrs. Obama’s undeniable and detailed look, but I have always been intrigued with the wardrobes of Cyndi Lauper & Madonna,

What is your favorite restaurant?: As a foodie, I have no favorites. However I adore Canoe in Atlanta, Gotham in NYC, Touch in Miami, and Olivier’s in New Orleans

What words do you live by?: No weapon formed against me shall prosper

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Chris Rock’s Good Hair: Love it or Hate it?


This past weekend Chris Rock’s new documentary, Good Hair, debuted. With many people happy that Rock shared this important part of Black women’s lives and others upset at what he revealed, we want to ask you: what did you think?

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Black Women and Interracial Dating/Marriage: Necessity or Choice?


untitled237888Article after article has continued to explore the increasing numbers of black women who remain unmarried. The reasons for the dwindling statistics range from choice to self-professed “pickiness.” Perhaps the most controversial reason is the notion that there are not enough eligible, “good on paper,” quality black men. However debatable that notion is, the result is what appears to be the resurgence of conversation amongst circles of black women about opening their dating experiences, and ultimately their marriage options, to men of different races. If the sports industry is any reflection, one can infer that black men clearly have let go of any hang-ups they have about opening their dating experiences to women of different races. So why shouldn’t black women do the same? The question is, are black women opening their dating experiences to men of other races out of necessity (lack of good, quality black men) or choice (conscious decision to be open)? Ladies, we want to hear from you. Let us know what you think…necessity or choice?

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Spotlight On: Dr. Lisa Masterson


Dr. Lisa Masterson

Dr. Lisa Masterson

You’ve heard of Dr. Phil and Dr. Oz, now meet, Dr. Lisa Masterson, specialist in obstetrics, gynecology, infertility, adolescent gynecology and family planning. Currently starring as the only female doctor on the hit spin-off show, The Doctors, Dr. Lisa Masterson is anything but your typical OB/GYN. 

Lisa’s interests and talents have stretched globally to bring awareness to women of all walks of life. She credits her mother and her grandmother as her inspiration. Her grandmother, Mattie Ruth Smith, is a native of Louisiana and was the eldest of twelve children. Her grandmother’s passion for education led her to become a schoolteacher in black schools throughout the state. Lisa’s mother, La V’onne Smith, also had a passion for education and began her career as a professor at the University of Washington. It’s no surprise that her passion for education soon developed into a passion for working with the community. She served in the Office of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and eventually went on to become director of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) office in San Diego. It was then that Lisa’s education began to take off. She attended The Bishop’s School, a well-respected private school in La Jolla, CA known for it’s rigorous academic curriculum.

Upon graduating from The Bishop’s School, Lisa went on to attend Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts. After graduating she moved back to CA to attend Medical School at the University of Southern California. Tragedy struck during Lisa’s first year as an Obstetrics and Gynecology intern at USC/County Hospital in 1993. Lisa’s mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Only a year later, Ms. La V’onne Smith passed away having left an indelible imprint on her daughter’s life and the communities she served.

Lisa says of her mother, “Because of [her] strength and independence as a woman, she was, and is, my governing inspiration.  As a private person, she gave us all the encouragement and nourishment a mother could give.  As a public figure, she was a major participant in the equal rights movement which has always been foremost in my life.”

It is likely the legacy of her mother that has propelled Lisa to excel in her field.  She has appeared on such shows as  The Oprah Winfrey Show, Dr. Phil, The Today Show, Good Morning America, CNN Headline News, Anderson Copper 360 and The Tyra Banks Show to name a few. Currently she can be seen co-hosting the new syndicated series “The Doctors”, the runaway hit spin-off from Dr. Phil McGraw and Jay McGraw. On the show Lisa and her co-hosts investigate and discuss controversial medical topics, busts medical myths and answer burning questions from viewers who are too afraid to ask their own doctors.

Apart from being on staff at Cedars-Sinai, St. John’s and UCLA/Santa Monica and running her own unconventional practice in Santa Monica , it is Dr. Masterson’s work abroad that is most remarkable. Her passion to provide global medical relief to underdeveloped regions led her to create the Maternal Fetal Care International (MFCI), a charitable organization dedicated to helping mothers and their children. MFCI brings volunteer physicians, medical supplies, equipment and training to enhance the level of medical care decrease the mother-child transmission of HIV/AIDS. She is currently creating the first OB/GYN residency program in Eritrea, Africa, and has started birthing clinics in Kenya and India. Dr. Lisa Masterson may not be a household name yet, but she is certainly well on her way.

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Spotlight On: Ruth Simmons


simmonsphotoWhether in the courtroom, the boardroom, the school system or the White House, women of color continue to shatter the proverbial glass ceiling. Such is definitely the case with Brown University President, Ruth Simmons, the first African American female head of an ivy league University. 

Raised in the segregated town of Grapeland, TX, Ruth Simmons was one of twelve children between her sharecropper father and a mother who did domestic work for a living. Although neither of her parents were formally educated, the life lessons and personal values they demonstrated on a daily basis would prove far more valuable to Ruth’s future. Lessons like attention to detail, doing your best work, being civil and respectful to others regardless of “their limitations – and their hostilities” were ingrained in Ruth just by observing her father and mother at work and experiencing the rich spiritual traditions of her family. 

Growing up, the expectation of society in the south was that children of sharecroppers would join their families in the field, not attend school. Such was the case with Ruth until she reached elementary school age and her family moved to Houston to make a living. It was at this time that Ruth entered public school. Sure she experienced hatred, discrimination and low expectations on the part of society. But despite those realities, Ruth set her sites on the goal of being the first in her family to attend college. In 1967, with the help of teachers who sent her money and clothes, Ruth graduated summa cum laude from Dillard University and went on to receive her master’s and doctorate from Harvard University in Romance Literature. Shortly thereafter she became a professor of Romance languages and a dean at Princeton University from 1983 to 1990. Additionally, she served as provost at Spelman College from 1990 to 1992 and in 1995 was selected as president of Smith College. 

Ruth’s accolades and accomplishments span the gambit. She is a celebrated essayist and sought after board member for some of the country’s most powerful corporations. Currently she serves as the 18th president of Brown University. Her story is truly that of the American dream. The irony that a woman raised in the segregated south by parents with no formal education would grow up to attend the most elite educational institutions and become the first African-American woman to head an ivy league school is a beautiful irony only possible in America.

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