Walker’s Legacy is proud to recognize unique minority women in business that embody the legacy of Madam C.J. Walker. This featured Success Profile highlights Dr. Yuvay Meyers Ferguson, the thirty-something chair of the Howard University School of Business Marketing Department. It should be noted that this bison boss received her Ph.D in two years from the University of Texas at Austin (take that Scalia). Read more about her story below…
Meet Dr. Yuvay Meyers Ferguson, the Chair of Marketing and Associate Professor at Howard University. She attended Howard University for her Bachelor’s degree, American University for her Master’s, and went on to receive her Ph. D in Advertising from The University of Texas at Austin! She was raised as a military brat and has been all over the nation and world, but currently considers Washington, D.C. her home.
My first job was as a Metropolitan-Washington airport authority Co-Op Student in the Communications Department.
The biggest inspiration behind my career has been the people that I have encountered. You really learn a lot from people that you’ve admired and I’ve had the honor to have really great friends that inspire me to keep going.
One professional thing I would change about my career in my twenties is, honestly, nothing. Everything that I’ve done and achieved has been a blessing. It really gives you reassurance when you truly enjoy what you do. I wouldn’t change anything.
Tell us more about your profession: In addition to teaching, I am also a researcher in advertising and consumer behavior. I also research how marketing affects African-American consumers. I primarily teach brand management and marketing communication. My role as a Department Chair makes me responsible for one of the largest majors at the undergraduate level at Howard University. I focus on bringing in corporate sponsors to provide students with real-life experiences, internships, and scholarships.
What are your thoughts about women of color in business? I think that business is successful when you’re able to have a well-rounded point of view. Women are a large part of the consumer base.
I appreciate seeing black women in positions of power because it truly encourages the next generation to strive for goals that they can also obtain.
The woman that serves as my greatest source of inspiration is my mother. She recently retired as a colonel in the army. When you tell people that you have a parent in the military, they usually assume that it’s the father, but my mother was a really strong role model. She helped me define leadership in a new way.
Two staple items you must have for a power meeting or networking event are your business card and your elevator pitch. You never know who you are going to meet. You need to have an idea of what you will say when you’re put on the spot. You need to know how to sell yourself and how to make yourself a marketable candidate.
My favorite vacation spot is I really like the beach! I like to look at the water because it’s very calming but it’s also a powerful part of nature.
What are your thoughts on balancing work and life? It’s a lot harder than I thought it would be. As a woman, it’s difficult and you have to make these decisions. At the end of the day, you have to decide what makes you happy but it is possible to have it all!
What was your inspiration for going into your profession?
I saw the impact that my teachers had on me. I believed in myself because of the role models and professors at Howard University and they showed me that they cared! I wanted to make sure that the people that came behind me also had a great experience.
You’ve accomplished a lot in your academic career! Which university had the greatest impact in your life? Honestly, none of them were greater than the other. I truly learned something from every university that I attended and they all played a great role in my knowledge.
To learn more about Dr. Yuvay Meyers Ferguson’s department at Howard University, click here.