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Legendary Women Entrepreneurs: Fulfilling the Legacy of Madam C. J. Walker
By: Evan Taylor
In 2009, Walker’s Legacy founder Natalie Madeira Cofield found herself in need of female mentors and role models during the formation of her first entrepreneurial venture. As she searched, she noticed that other women around her were also looking for positive, successful and accessible examples of women in business. Cofield turned to the biography of Madam C.J. Walker, the first self-made female millionaire in US history and the most successful example of an enterprising woman that she knew, in the absence of a mentor/mentee environment. She found inspiration in her story of success despite societal norms.
As her peers looked to her for entrepreneurial advice and guidance, Cofield explored ways to streamline the mentorship experience and Walker's Legacy was born from the communal goal of developing an open forum for women to engage and inspire.
Since its founding in 2009, the organization has touched thousands of women through its interactive in-person and online educational programs designed to inspire women of all ages to walk into their professional passion and purpose.
“Walker’s legacy shows us that we should not afraid to rise to our calling, to walk into our passion and purpose and to shatter the glass ceiling stained by the bare, worn knuckles of other women who for their careers tried to do just the same,” Cofield said.
Motivated, inspired and changed by their founding principal, Sarah Breedlove - Madam C.J. Walker - the network of Walker’s Legacy women is comprised of entrepreneurs, partners, C-suite executives, educators, speakers, founders and business women looking to take charge of their careers.
The organization stays close to the roots of Madam C. J. Walker through its relationships with A’Lelia Bundles, Walker’s great-great granddaughter, president of the Madam Walker/A’Lelia Walker Family Archives and author of “On Her Own Ground: The Life and Times of Madam C. J. Walker”, she currently serves as an advisory board member for Walker’s Legacy.
“A’Lelia’s engagement with Walker’s Legacy has been a critical part of our success.” Cofield stated. “We work hard to ensure that our efforts are in line with the vision she has for maintaining her great-great-grandmother’s legacy.”
Since January, the organization has been on an aggressive national launch campaign, and is set to establish Walker’s Legacy Communities in Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, Ohio, New Orleans, Houston and Dallas. Communities are already in full effect in Washington, DC, San Antonio and Atlanta.
Through power summits, legacy learnings and online training sponsored by Google, the Walker’s Legacy national launch focuses on career development, entrepreneurship and inspiration for enterprising women of color. “The vision for Walker’s Legacy is to inspire, equip and connect a global network of emerging and established businesswomen,” Cofield said. “The launch of our national program is intended to begin the process of fermenting that vision and connecting women to the resources needed to leave their own legacy.”
Walker’s Legacy is a women in business collective established with the mission to help enterprising women walk into their professional passion and purpose. For more information please visit www.walkerslegacy.com and connect with us online: @walkerslegacy www.facebook.com/walkerslegacy
*Blog posts from external organizations do not reflect The National Women’s Business Council or any of its affiliates and is neither an endorsement nor partnership.