Moxe Women

Strong, determined, and resourceful, she is a force. Wisdom and humility guide her. She is forthright, unapologetic, loyal and focused on positive energy, equality, and spirituality

Angela Jackson

Angela Jackson


Hiring is long, inconsistent, and often a waste of time and money. We believe there is a better way.

TalentFlood is a central, instant marketplace for employers and job seekers. We're matchmakers for the job world.

With our sophisticated matching algorithm, we bring talent and employers together in a quick, seamless process.



Angelique Warner

Angelique Warner

Nurse 'N Go

Nurse 'N Go is a sturdy, safe, and stylish buckled Stretch Denim baby carrier designed for the active fashion-forward mom. The stylish & trendy premier denim HipHugger design offers a hands-free breastfeeding solution which safely and comfortably holds the baby at the breast during feedings, so mom can stand & have her hands back. Whether breastfeeding or carrying, the trademark Vest Back provides premium back & shoulder support to evenly distribute baby's weight & the ergonomic design allows proper positioning for baby in a natural, supportive, & comfortable posture. There's also built-in privacy with the detachable, interchangeable nursing covers which not only provide a sense of customizable style, but also shields mom from occasional unwarranted stares & comments when breastfeeding in public.

Brandies Meva'a

Brandies Meva'a

Source Digital Marketing

Brandies Meva'a is the Co-Founder and CEO of Source Digital Marketing (SDM)--a Marketing Agency founded in 2010 as a new business venture within i.c.stars. SDM has a team of 10 professionals with deep expertise and passion for helping clients increase lead flow, reduce customer acquisition costs, and connect with target customers. We offer our clients services in Strategy, Content, Execution and Analytics, bundled at varying levels, depending on their business challenge and timeline. To contact, email:


Candace Washington

Candace Washington

Pivotal Impact

Pivotal Impact is a learning and development consulting company that builds leadership and communication capacity for mission-driven organizations and the audiences they serve.

We help our clients achieve their mission by closing skill and performance gaps with customized learning solutions to increase personal, professional, and organizational effectiveness.

We offer customized training, speaking, and consulting services that equip, educate, inspire, and advance individuals for maximum potential – in work, life, and leadership.


The “Acculturated” Girl Next Door:
Maintaining Identity as a Multicultural Woman in an Homogenous Workplace
By Candace D. Washington


“We all wear masks, and the time comes when we cannot remove them without removing some of our own skin” ~Rick Warren

For young professional women of color, particularly those with roots in urban upbringings like myself, matriculating into the culture of corporate careers is not short on challenges. We eagerly enter organizations donning our superwoman cape ready to make our mark, only to find the harsh reality that our cape is either the wrong color, too long/short or in need of alterations if we’re going to “assimilate” into our new workplace world. We find ourselves in homogenous environments being the “only one,” micro-aggressions flying left and right, experiencing shifts between hyper-visibility and being completely invisible. 

Our thoughts can become consumed with the careful consideration of the clothes we wear, the style of our hair, and the words/vernacular we use. There is often pressure to mask our own cultural identity and put on an “outer layer” that is more acceptable in an effort to accelerate our success (or so we are told.) We are tempted to mask or surrender our true identity to be assimilated into the workplace culture or worse—simply retreat from the environment and do not engage.

As if the external pressures aren’t challenging enough, the internal struggle of wearing the “work me” vs. “personal me” persona—playing the political game, suppressing our cultural identity while living between two worlds—can be exhausting. As multicultural women, this process we engage in is called acculturation. Acculturation, in current research and theory, is considered to be a way in which members of a minority group adopt cultural patterns from the host society and extend the patterns into other parts of their lives. These extensions include observable changes in cultural identity, dress, language, emotional expressions/attitudes, personal values, and behaviors.There is a cultural and psychological change that often results in the meeting of two distinct cultures.
The start of my corporate career was much as described. I was intentional in my adoption of the cultural norms of my environment and consciously did not share much information about my upbringing, personal interests and values, and was even careful to wear my hair in an "acceptable" manner. I avoided discussions of things that should be fair game professionally—things that others could share. Things that made me, me, but rather felt taboo. If I feared it would not be well received, I wore my mask (in most cases). However, as I progressed in my career, I began to feel the desire to simply BE ME. I was so tired of playing the game, masking my identity. There had to be a better way to stay connected to my true self while successfully interacting in environments where there were few others like me. How could I navigate this world being me, without being perceived as an “angry black woman” or the “acculturated girl next door.” You know, that culturally ambiguous (or so it seems) girl that is neutral, safe, unthreatening, and simply adaptable. I didn’t want to be her either. Well, there were and are practical ways that have been effective for me!
Prior to current research focus, acculturation was once evidenced to entail a two-way process of cultural adaptation and change.2 A process in which people of color feel secure in both worlds by preserving a strong sense of personal identity. The security and confidence to be yourself, not masking your heritage but rather interacting from a place of identity within homogenous cultures. To successfully do this you must begin with a level of consciousness about your own identity to know who you are.
In a perfect world, cultural competence would be innate and not a point of contention. Nevertheless, in our imperfect world, there are three practical things we can do as professional women of color to maintain our identity while navigating within homogenous workplaces:


1. Be conscious:

  • Observe & educate yourself on perceived surroundings that challenge your identity norms.
  • Seek to understand them and respond in ways most natural (but professional & objective) to you.
  • Incorporate things in your workplace that give you a sense of identity, whether clothing you wear or language you use in social networks.
  • Identify covert and/or overt roadblocks that may exist and find a way around them.


2. Share your story: Now, I am not saying get personal and mushy—know your limits. However, communication barriers fall and relationships begin to form when you share the real you.

  • Have enrollment conversations with colleagues providing a sense of your personality and who you really are.
  • Educate people about your culture, values, and what you stand for in a way that is welcoming. People only fear what they don’t understand. So, educate them and just be you!


3. Be your own advocate: You know you.  
  • Communicate your needs, values, beliefs, and norms that you have operated from, providing perspective for your audience.
  • Then use your voice, project your thoughts, and connect with influencers to get your voice heard.
1Gordon (1964 & 1979) and Alba & Nee (1997)
2 Acculturation: When Individuals and Groups of Different Cultural Backgrounds Meet
David L. Sam and John W. Berry Perspectives on Psychological Science Vol. 5, No. 4 (JULY 2010), pp. 472-481


Author: Candace D. Washington, Founder and Chief Learning Officer of Pivotal Impact Learning, is a personal and professional leadership consultant, who guides emerging leaders and young professionals in the early stages of their career on leadership, communication, and marketplace savvy to accelerate success and fulfillment in life and career.

Emily Taylor

Emily Taylor

Chicago Loop Cleaners

Emily Taylor is the founder and owner of Chicago Loop Cleaners. She began her housecleaning career in Colorado when she decided that she needed to look for work that was more meaningful. While working for the Everyday Task Company in Colorado Springs, Emily had the privilege of not only learning to clean, but to run a business, as well. She was involved in the marketing, sales, hiring, and training processes at ETC. When she left to start Chicago Loop Cleaners, she left with the blessing of the owners of ETC. Housecleaning is much more than a job to Emily. Her passion is to see other peoples’ lives improve. Cleaning is a unique way of doing just that, and Emily is most excited about giving people “space” in their lives. Emily finds her work as a cleaner so enjoyable that she often doesn’t even feel like she’s at work!

Randi Lee Craigen

Randi Lee Craigen

Randi Lee Jewelry

An enthusiastic artist, but reluctant entrepreneur, Randi Lee Craigen is slowly learning the ins and outs of turning her love for jewelry design into a small business. She's been creating beautiful, handcrafted jewelry for over 10 years, first by working as a production artist for a Marshall Fields' designer, then by developing her own unique design style she calls "classic vintage-esque." Randi Lee uses mixed metals, semi-precious stones, Swarovski crystals, and lengths of ribbon, silk, leather and chain in unique, sometimes playful, combinations to create simple and complex pieces that are elegant, expertly crafted,  and one of a kind. For more information, email


Renita Alexander

Renita Alexander

Leadership Unlocked

Renita Alexander is passionate about leadership! A retired Air Force Colonel, Renita brings over 30 years of inspirational and transformational leadership experience as well as infinite energy and enthusiasm to her clients! She is an expert in the extensive leadership training and experiential leadership development required for a large organization, as well as in the practical management skills characteristic of a small or start-up business.

Post retirement, Renita discovered a lack of leadership in many of the businesses she encountered. Convinced that anyone can learn to become a better leader, she earned a coaching certification and founded Leadership Unlocked, a full service, leadership development company.

Renita’s vision is that leaders unleash their most effective, influential, and powerful selves to transform themselves and their organizations.


Sheila Fortson

Sheila Fortson

South Loop Lessons

Sheila Fortson Violin

Sheila Fortson is an interdisciplinary artist and musician. Graduating in 2003 with a Bachelors of Music in piano performance from Moody College, and in 2011 from Columbia College with a Masters in Interdisciplinary Art, she continues to work and perform in the Chicagoland area.

Sheila started playing violin as a teenager performing in various orchestras in Atlanta and Denver along with her professional private training, but she really began to realize her passion for the instrument within the last 10 years. She now performs in the Chicagoland area and abroad with talented Chicago based musicians. With her unique background in piano, voice, and years of choral directing, her unique training in the arts creates a diversity of sound and her own voice on the instrument.

Sheila also offers violin and piano instruction and vocal coaching at South Loop Lessons.

Wendy Daniels

Wendy Daniels

Books by Wendy, Inc.

Wendy Daniels has been a Bookkeeping Consultant since 1997, specializing in Quickbooks and Quickbooks Online and is a Certified Quickbooks Online Pro-Advisor. She also has extensive knowledge of both Microsoft Excel and Word. Wendy provides bookkeeping services for both for-profit and non-profit organizations through her businesss, Books by Wendy, Inc. For more information, contact






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