Confronting the ‘concrete ceiling’: Black women in leadership

Posted on May 09, 2024 | By Teresa Wright | 0 Comments


Black women in Atlantic Canada say they face ongoing barriers climbing the corporate ladder

Tia Upshaw doesn’t mince words about how challenging her life was a decade ago. “I was just down—down below the gutter,” she said.

It was 2013 and her partner had just left her as the sole provider for her three children. But with a past criminal record and lack of education, her employment options were limited. She relied on food banks and social assistance, almost spiraling into despondency.

“I soon realized that I can’t really feel sorry for myself,” she said. “You have to figure it out.”

She got an overnight job delivering newspapers for The Chronicle Herald, which she did while her baby daughter slept in the back seat of her car. During the day, she started cleaning houses. Within three years, her house cleaning business was doing so well, she was able to hire employees.

Her successes and infectious entrepreneurial spirit spurred her to start even more business endeavours, including a short-term rental business, a makeup line and, eventually, a non-profit organization dedicated to educating and empowering other Black women entrepreneurs.

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