Walker’s Legacy Profiles recognize unique women of color in business that embody the legacy of Madam C.J. Walker, the first female self-made millionaire. In this installment, meet Stefanie Brown James!
Who is she? Stefanie Brown James is the CEO and Founding Partner of Vestige Strategies LLC; a Washington, D.C. based community and civic engagement consulting firm. In addition to this, Stefanie is the founder and Executive Director of a leadership development organization for Black women – Brown Girls Lead. Previously, Stefanie served as the National African-American Vote Director for the 2012 Obama Campaign and National Field Director/Youth & College Division Director for the NAACP.
My first job: NAACP National Youth Council Coordinator
The biggest inspiration behind my career is having a strong internal desire to help improve the lives of black people, especially black women, whom have always been a huge driving force behind my career.
You have to constantly analyze what is most important at that particular time and pay an unequal amount of attention to that thing in order to get what, often times, is a benefit that cannot be equaled.
One professional thing I would change about my career in my twenties is that I wish I realized how DOPE I was (and still am, of course!) in my twenties and that I didn’t feel so apprehensive about letting my light shine because I felt unworthy for the talents I possessed and blessings that came my way.
Tell us more about your business: Vestige Strategies specializes in building community engagement initiatives for campaigns, causes, and companies to move their audiences to take action and win victories that will better their lives. It’s our mission to foster stronger collaboration between our clients and their targeted communities, strengthening leaders, and achieving tangible results.
Brown Girls Lead (BGL) is a leadership development organization focused on building a strong pipeline of Black women leaders dedicated to creating positive changes in the community. Our signature program – the Brown Girls Lead Academy – is an engaging, seven month program for collegiate black women that pairs them with a personal coach and focuses on three core leadership development components: personal empowerment, professional enrichment, and public engagement.
Your thoughts about women of color in business:
I’m tired of talking about it…watch us work! We need to focus much more on showing how important we are through our buying power, by inserting our opinions in national conversations, and by letting go of people and situations that drag us down instead of spending so much time talking about it.
The woman that serves as my greatest source of inspiration is my mother, Delores Brown. She is the epitome of a good person who lives an authentically happy, passion-led, and grateful life.
Two staple items you must have for a power meeting or networking event are your laptop, and for a power event, bring red wine or champagne!
My favorite vacation spot is Aruba with my husband Quentin. I have to be with my man on vacation!!
Your thoughts on balancing work and life:
To balance means that each thing on either side of the scale receives an equal amount of time and attention at the same time, which is basically impossible.If I’m home working and my son needs me, he takes priority no matter what work is going on at the time.
What was your inspiration for going into your profession? My inspiration for my business and my organization was to create pathways to help people better themselves and the world around them. I know I was born to make a positive difference in the lives of others and thankfully, my profession and passion give me the opportunity to live out my purpose.
Learn more about Stefanie Brown James and her organizations by clicking here.
Written By: Christine Nbemeneh for Walker’s Legacy