FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 19, 2021
Walker’s Legacy Founder & CEO Natalie Madeira Cofield Announces Departure from Organization After 11 Years of Service
Cofield Appointed to serve as Assistant Administrator for Small Business Administration leading the Office of Women’s Business Ownership under Biden-Harris Administration.
Washington, DC—February 19, 2021—Walker’s Legacy, the largest digital platform for multicultural women in business, has announced that its Founder Natalie Madeira Cofield is stepping down as the CEO, effective February 26, 2021. The company has identified an accomplished leader to usher the organization into the next era, and an announcement is forthcoming.
An accomplished advocate for women, Cofield was named by Entrepreneur Magazine as one of the 100 Most Powerful Women in Business in 2019 and selected among 137 cover-story business leaders and entrepreneurs from across the nation for her response to COVID-19 in the magazine’s Entrepreneur Magazine July/August 2020 edition cover. She has also been named as a Women Who Mean Business and one of the 100 Most Powerful Washingtonians by the Washington Business Journal.
“Founding Walker’s Legacy and the Walker’s Legacy Foundation has been the greatest achievement of my life. There are far too many people to thank along my journey of serving as Founder and CEO, people who believed in me, people who believed in the mission, and people who believed in each other. I am thankful to everyone who has served in leadership, who worked alongside our national team as directors, managers, fellows, interns, and city directors.
I am grateful to our corporate, philanthropic, and government partners who understood the great need that existed then and now, and I look forward to your continued support of our impactful efforts as the organization stewards in a new leadership era.”
Since its founding, Walker’s Legacy programming has provided educational training to thousands of women resulting in more than $40 million in investments and loans and more than $150 million in successfully awarded corporate, state, local, government, and nonprofit grants and contracts,” stated Cofield.
Other notable accomplishments established under Cofield’s tenure include:
- Growing to a network of more than 60,000 enterprising multicultural women and counting
- Supporting the awarding of $2.5 Million in COVID relief funds to Black businesses
- Training nearly 2,000 women through our three-month accelerator program, PROSPECTUS
- Conducting ongoing educational programming in more than 20 cities across the country
- Aiding more than 200 women in identifying mentorship opportunities
- Honoring nearly 600 multicultural women through our various awards programming
- Providing intensive three-month financial literacy and entrepreneurship training to more than 150 single mothers and nearly 50 middle-to-high school-age students
- Hosting nearly 5,000 women annually through online and in-person programming across the nation
- Providing nearly 70 college students with critical relief funding to support COVID-19 emergency relocation
- Providing training to hundreds of university-age women across the nation
- Establishing the Walker’s Legacy Scholarship for Enterprising Women at Howard University
- Produced first-of-its-kind research on Black women entrepreneurs for the National Women’s Business Council
- Launched Men Who Enterprise supporting more than 500 enterprising men of color
- And of course, built lasting relationships amongst thousands of women across the nation
Quotes from Community Stakeholders on Cofield’s Departure and Tenure:
“When Natalie first approached me more than eleven years ago to share her idea for Walker’s Legacy, she was determined to create a space for women entrepreneurs to flourish. It’s been a joy to watch her vision take flight and an inspiration to see her persevere through all the challenges inherent in bringing any endeavor from start up to stability. In the spirit of Madam C. J. Walker, Natalie has carved her own legacy in her efforts to empower other women.” -A’Lelia Bundles, Author, Journalist, and Great-Great Granddaughter, Madam C. J. Walker.
“Natalie Madeira Cofield is a genius who has created her legacy and place in history as a champion of economic equity and financial independence for women. Her clear vision to create a global platform that supports self-belief, sisterhood, and economic independence through Walker’s Legacy has inspired thousands of women who have become unapologetic champions of their own dreams and changemakers in their communities. I am looking forward to seeing the incoming impact of her future work and her capacity for extraordinary leadership that has yet to be fully realized.” – Dr. Valecia Brooks Dunbar, Jacksonville City Director.
“I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Natalie for a decade. In that time I have come to know her as one of the foremost leaders of economic empowerment in the nation. Throughout her career, she has shown a commitment to the Black and minority business community and a passion for women’s equity that is both inspiring and rarely rivaled. The impact of Walker’s Legacy is undeniable, a testimony of Natalie’s visionary leadership.” – Dr. Kenneth L. Harris, Ph.D., President/CEO, National Business League, Inc. (NBL)
“Natalie is a visionary and a fierce advocate for women of color in business. I am highly appreciative of Natalie’s contributions in leading Walker’s Legacy over the past 10 years, during which time she established and turned the organization into one of the most prominent centers of thought-leadership surrounding women of color in business.” – Jeanne K. Wardford, Program Officer, W.K. Kellogg Foundation
“Natalie Madeira Cofield has built a tremendous platform for minority business women over the last ten years. Her passion for service and her commitment to championing women mark her as a leader of distinction and leave the brand in excellent shape to thrive in the coming years.” – Karen Little, Strategic Partnerships, PayPal Gives
“I’ve had the honor of working with Natalie and watching her personal and professional growth for more than a decade. To know Natalie is to understand her focus and vision, as well as her brilliant combination of business and economic expertise. Natalie has always been a driven and passionate change agent for the inclusion of minority business owners. Her founding of Walker’s Legacy is a testament to this. Because of both her entrepreneurial acumen and her commitment to service, Walker’s Legacy has evolved into a nationally regarded leader for women of color advocacy. In building an organization to pay homage to legacy, Natalie has undoubtedly created her own.” – Ron Busby Sr., President & CEO, US Black Chambers, Inc.
“Natalie’s impact on and voice for the cause of diverse and women-led businesses has made her one of the most influential entrepreneurial leaders and champions for diversity within the business landscape. Under her leadership, Walker’s Legacy became a founding partner of the Coalition to Back Black Businesses, a first-of-its-kind collaboration with American Express and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation. Her hard work, dedication and commitment are admirable. I know that she will create impact in all of her endeavors and continue to provide invaluable insight on the needs of women of color entrepreneurs.” – Rick Wade, Senior Vice President of Strategic Alliances and Outreach, US Chamber of Commerce
Cofield departs the organization to join the Small Business Administration where she has been appointed to serve as the Assistant Administrator for the Office of Women’s Business Ownership, effective Monday, March 1, 2021. In this role, Ms. Cofield serves as a senior executive providing executive oversight, management, leadership, and championship of female entrepreneurship. As an assistant administrator, Cofield will oversee the largest expansion of the Women’s Business Center (WBC) network in the history of the Small Business Administration.
On Saturday, February 27th from 2-4 PM EST, Walker’s Legacy and the Walker’s Legacy Foundation will be hosting a farewell party to honor the leadership and legacy that Natalie Cofield has demonstrated during her tenure as CEO throughout the past 11 years. To register for this event, click here.
For all questions surrounding the leadership transition, please contact Skylar Green at email@example.com.