Home Business How a career coach earned a $50k raise and helps to close Black pay gap

How a career coach earned a $50k raise and helps to close Black pay gap

by WDC News 6 Staff



“I meet so many ladies who’ve by no means negotiated their wage,” says Esther Leonard, a profession coach whose self-decreed mission is to assist girls of coloration earn extra and set themselves up for profession and monetary success.

Leonard, a 2010 graduate of Loyola College Chicago, is aware of the distinction a wage bump could make. After spending most of her profession in non-profits and training, Leonard moved into the tech house after relocating to Boston from Chicago roughly seven years in the past. There she turned enraptured by the tech trade—in addition to the shortage of pay fairness. The expertise motivated her to change careers, negotiating for a $50,000 wage enhance within the course of.

“I obtained actually fascinated with Cambridge. It’s just like the Silicon Valley of the east,” Leonard tells Fortune. She labored at Roxbury Group Faculty when first shifting to Boston, main the profession growth and internship packages.

“One of many issues that actually me was the thought of digital literacy in addition to the wealth hole,” Leonard says. “And naturally there’s a wealth hole, nevertheless it’s additionally a race hole… Instantly I used to be like, ‘that is one thing I’m actually keen about.’”

Throughout a stint at Boston College as assistant director of profession training—planning variety, fairness and inclusion occasions, and training college students and alumni on job looking expertise—Leonard got down to begin her personal follow: Esther the Profession Coach. She started advising first-generation school college students who have been graduating with “a lot scholar debt… I might see them and assume, ‘Okay their first job they’re in all probability going to make simply the naked minimal wage,” she says.

In the meantime, college students she noticed graduating from the enterprise or engineering colleges who would go on to jobs with salaries that have been a lot greater.

She discovered herself navigating that world, too. The extra Leonard discovered in regards to the tech panorama and networked with individuals within the trade she felt she too could possibly be incomes extra.

Leonard was making someplace between $60,000 and $70,000 when she labored at Boston College. She wished a pay hike and says she noticed the tech trade as her best choice for that. She wasn’t significantly accustomed to the panorama and what she’d have to do, however then she was launched to Colorwave, a non-profit centered on closing the wealth hole by serving to individuals of coloration develop expertise and join them with management roles at VC-backed startups.

By means of a fellowship program at Colorwave, Leonard garnered a job alternative as a sourcer at Faire, a web based wholesale market. The corporate initially gave her a wage vary of $75,000 to $80,000—however that wasn’t the bump she was searching for.

“So I did a whole lot of analysis—all the time do your analysis,” Leonard says. “One of many salaries I noticed on Glassdoor was for $100,000.”

So she requested for $120,000. They landed on a quantity just under that.

A dedication to serving to girls of coloration negotiate that increase

Along with working at Faire, Leonard nonetheless acts as a profession coach. Negotiating her personal wage has impressed her to show girls, particularly girls of coloration who simply weren’t taught from a younger age, the worth they’ve and the significance of negotiating. It builds confidence, she says, even when the primary time round is a no.

Black girls’s median weekly earnings for the second quarter of 2022 have been $840, or roughly 72% of earnings for white males ($1,161), 88% of earnings for white girls ($956), and 88% of earnings for Black males ($953), in line with The Bureau of Labor Statistics. Weekly earnings for Hispanic girls have been $752.

That hole in pay begins as early as 16 years outdated, in line with knowledge from Lean In, and it solely grows from there.

Leonard encourages the ladies of coloration she works with to do the analysis, to take note of their funds and price of residing, and to know after they’re prepared to say no and stroll away.

“We have to destigmatize the wage negotiation,” Leonard says. “Often after I begin speaking to girls about interviews and wage, I ask ‘How a lot would you like?’”

She desires to assist finish the tradition of simply being blissful to get within the door; get the provide and rid girls of coloration of the worry of being seen as ungrateful for asking for extra.

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