Nekpen Osuan, the CEO and Cofounder of WomenWerk

The Woman Who Can Do It All, Effortlessly

In terms of powerful Black women, Nekpen Osuan is the blueprint. She is a manager of strategy and analytics at Deloitte Consulting, adjunct faculty at Columbia University, and the CEO and Cofounder of WomenWerk.  As a Walker’s Legacy 2018 Women in Leadership Honoree, we are not only proud but excited to share the brilliance that is Nepken Osuan. We caught up with her to discuss her journey and what she has envisioned for her sisters in business.

Nekpen’s background in analytics combined with her public sector experience in education and political organizing led her to create the non-profit WomenWerk. Nekpen serves as CEO & Co-Founder of WomenWerk which reaches 5,500 women and girls annually in New York City. A contributor for women at Forbes.com, she was recently named an NYC Five Borough Future Fellow by The Arena, a BlogHer 2018 Voice of the Year, the 2017 Baylor University Young Alumna of the Year, a 2018 92Y Woman in Power Fellow, a 2018 Walkers Legacy Women in Leadership Honoree, and a 2017 Council of Urban Professionals Fellow. Nekpen serves on the DNC’s Young Professionals Committee and Women’s Leadership Forum, and is a volunteer on professional boards for Vote Run Lead, the Lower Eastside Girls Club, The Council of Urban Professionals, The NewLeaders Council, and the famed Apollo Theatre in New York City. In the past few years, She has spoken widely on my passion for amplifying women of color and our impact. Specifically, She has spoken at SXSW, Essence Festival, the Riveter, AdWeek, the National Urban League Annual Leadership Conference, Columbia Business School, Wharton Business School, New Leaders Council National Conference, Barnard College, NYU, 92Y Global Leadership Training, The Council of Urban Professionals Annual Conference, WeWork and Ladies Get Paid’s Women’s Equal Pay Day events, and more.

Nekpen Osuan attributes her great passion for community impact which to her family’s immigrant experiences and her first-generation values. Summarizing her upbringing to

“My parents had little money and access to opportunity but imparted in me the values of grit and determination which I work to organize in my community. Though I work in financial services now, my work to impact NYC is rooted in civics. I believe strong community engagement in partnership with political leaders is critical to effect change in any community. I see my growth as a community leader as a direct solution to unpacking structural biases for women and people of color and I am dedicated to doing my part to shape a better world.”

Apart from her migrant family, Osuan also credits mentorship as an attribute to her success. She recalls her college mentors encouraging her as a first-generation American to keep working hard and keep investing in her passion for equality. She credits Carla Harris and Tamron Hall as her mentors that helped shape her into the woman she is today.

Here in the present, we see that not only did she take that advice but used it to soar above and beyond and exceed what is expected of women of color. Through these experiences, we see why such heavy importance for giving back and paying it forward for the next generation of women of color leaders is placed in her heart. Osuan states her biggest wishes moving forward is a more equitable world for women of color. The way to this in her eyes starts with collective action and women gaining more access to venture capital.  This is a huge problem, but with women like Nekpen Osuan leading the way we can hope to see a change soon.

 

Isha Kamara

Isha is a Communications Intern at Walkers Legacy. She also owns her own brand Iced Out Cosmetics that launched in 2018, which she uses to uplift WOC and LGBT members by using makeup as a tool for diversity. Through Iced Out Cosmetics, Isha has been a member of UMD's Startup Shell Xi Batch, Terp Startup 2019 Cohort, and Do Good Spring Fellowship for Spring 2020.

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Walker's Legacy is a growing global women in business collective founded to establish networks of empowerment and access for women of color in business.

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