Investing in Black Women as Catalysts for Economic Growth and Community Development — Cynthia Plouché

A Fortune article by Alexis Herman and Heather Murren, proposing “investing in Black women as catalysts for economic growth and community development” is a proposition that aligns with my work and my sense of purpose.

The authors’ call “to create a more diverse set of economic and financial opportunities for Black women” is encompassed through my work in financial services and through my commitment to the nonprofit space.

I recently established the Alzenia Project whose goal is to ensure that not-for-profit organizations committed to the personal and professional development of young women, especially women of color, receive the recognition and funding they need to continue their missions forward.

“Black women have always had the highest labor market participation as compared with other women in the U.S. regardless of age, marital status, or presence of children at home. Yet despite impressive work ethic and engagement, most Black women remain at the bottom of the economic ladder when measured by household wealth.”

What can be done to reverse this impediment to wealth creation and empowerment for Black women? Black women are also not well represented in crucial, high-paying industries, as they are not given the same opportunities and are often overlooked for their potential. Providing opportunities for Black women to be better represented in an array of fields expands and cultivates our national competitive edge on a global scale.

“Between the crippling constraints of systemic racism and the amplifying effects at the intersection of sex and race discrimination, the barriers on the road to high-paying and influential career paths for Black women have long been massive, dramatically limiting their participation in wealth-creating positions.”

It is imperative to prepare women for the expected growth in health care practitioner and technical operations worker jobs. “Increasing the diversity of leadership teams leads to more and better innovation and improved financial performance,” Black women are an underutilized resource that can not only strengthen the global US economy but also help narrow the pay gap between all women and men, making it a level playing field.

With that being said, investing in the economic well-being of Black women, all women, is something we can do to strengthen our workforce, remain globally competitive, and empower all women while also reconciling social justice issues.


Cynthia R. Plouché is the founder and CEO of The Alzenia Project, a nonprofit organization that leverages the impact of other nonprofits to help young women of color achieve personal and professional growth. Along with her devotion to advancing diversity, Cynthia is also an inspiring business leader. She has a successful career in investment management, including more than 10 years as co-founder and chief investment officer of a woman-owned firm and culminating in ongoing corporate board leadership within the mutual fund industry.



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