Happy Fri-yay! Today presented my first opportunity to do industry features, something I’ve been wanting to do for a while and finally have the perfect opportunity to!
I’d like to spotlight a phenomenal woman that I had the pleasure of crossing paths with while working in fashion in New York. The stunning Genevieve Ascencio-Alcinay! I won’t go through Genevieve’s laundry list of accomplishments, held positions, and press clips although all incredibly impressive. More impactful to me was and still is just Genevieve’s presence.
Her presence in New York, in PR, and even her physical presence (the girl’s got powerful vibes).
Just in existing and excelling at that existence Genevieve has created a path and example for girls like me and those yet to come. I cannot tell you how crucial representation is to budding professionals in any field. Being able to see, relate to, and learn from someone who looks like you can have profound impacts on matriculation and success in a field. I know because I spent the majority of my master’s career conducting a qualitative study on the best way to recruit minority students to communications majors and careers. The research provided so much great context to how students chose careers and whether they feel they ‘belong’ in these careers (65-page thesis available upon request).
If you know anything about the fashion industry I’m sure you’re aware it’s not known for pioneering diversity (previous post: fashun) particularly so as you move up to leadership positions. Scan the teams at New York’s top PR firms, Ad agencies, and magazines and you will find but a sprinkling of color in senior positions. So, to meet a Sr. Director who was a) ridiculously intelligent and b) enjoyed Beyoncé as much as I do was HUGE. I remember starting at an intimidating job and meeting Gen a sometimes intimidating presence and just being struck with excitement over the sheer potential I had in the field. I could see myself in her. I took the opportunities provided to literally just soak up the insights, advice, and experience she brought to each interaction. It took some time and courage but eventually I asked/declared I’d be needing her to extend her job to some mentor-ship activities. And although I’ve since left NYC to explore other opportunities I still very much think of Gen as a mentor and relish in her continued success.
Her most recent accomplishment as featured on The Daily Front Row, although completely of her own hard work, merit, and genius, feels like a huge win for little black girls who want to get into fashion PR everywhere. And whether she’ll own her impact or not, it’s an incredibly encouraging accomplishment to see.
Go Gen! Thanks for sharing your #BlackGirlMagic