The seed for BW3 was planted almost two decades ago when Dr. Hall-Russell, an Indianapolis native, began to merge her cultural influences with corporate leadership. Excited that she had been uniquely prepared by life, work experiences and her education to take on leadership positions, she also noticed patterns of bias that impacted her work and that of other Black women in majority organizations. So intrigued by the challenges, she chose to study this phenonmenon for her doctoral research at Point Park University in Pittsburgh. She found:
· Black women are ambitious, successful, and respected in multiple fields but they still face racial-gendered bias that sometimes impacts their ability to smoothly transition to the upper echelons of leadership.
· Race, gender, and class prevent our country from taking advantage of some of the best talent available.
· Culture impacts communication. Black leaders apply their culturally diverse communication tools but continue to be misunderstood. This is about implicit bias. This understanding led to the development of a training entitled, “What I said, what they heard. ™”
· There still exists a misunderstanding of how to attract and keep great leadership talent of color. Getting organizations to understand the benefit and to work on the barriers that they place either by policy or implicit bias, breaks down these barriers and creates a more dynamic and creative workforce.
Black women and white women continue to have conflict in the workplace as black women feel less valued then their white counterparts and are often treated with less respect and inclusion.
Dr. Hall-Russell received her primary education in the Indianapolis Public Schools, an experience for which she is grateful. She went on to get her BA in Sociology from Indiana University (I.U.), a MA in Philanthropic Studies, and a MPA in Nonprofit Management also from I.U. She received her Ed.D in Leadership and Administration from Point Park University. She plans to publish her findings in a book specifically aimed at emerging leaders of color and those who’ll be working with them. She is also working on a BW3 Podcast "ColorFULL Leadership" (c).
As a researcher at Indiana University, Hall-Russell published seminal work on African-American philanthropy, the impact of the black megachurch, and youth, religion and philanthropy. Known for her direct writing style, she has been a frequent guest op/ed columnist for both the Indianapolis Star and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Prior to establishing BW3, she sat at the helm of several large nonprofits and also worked in international marketing in the corporate sector.
Dr. Hall-Russell sits on the board of the Planned Parenthood of Western PA and recently completed a 5-year term as treasurer of the Pittsburgh Urban Redevelopment Authority - the city's primary development arm that focused on developing and supporting underserved communities.
She is mom of an adult son and a energetic high school age daughter, three grandchildren including a new granddaughter who she hopes will enter a world that appreciates all she has to offer without racial-gendered filters!
Select articles: DEI Initiatives and Broken Cultures (on resisting the urge to establish DEI programs before a company's culture is prepared to handle them) https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/dei-initiatives-broken-cultures-resisting-urge-move-hall-russell/
My Daughter Rows (response to the College Cheating Scandal) in NAACP's The Crisis: https://www.thecrisismagazine.com/single-post/2019/03/19/My-Daughter-Rows
Featured: Despite a few prominent appointments, Pittsburgh-area nonprofits still struggle to diversify leadership: https://www.post-gazette.com/business/career-workplace/2019/11/17/Women-minorities-nonprofits-leadership-diversity-Pittsburgh/stories/201911070159
High Hopes Shot Down (response to murders of black youth in Pittsburgh) https://www.post-gazette.com/opinion/Op-Ed/2014/10/19/High-hopes-shot-down-We-still-dream-big-for-our-kids-even-as-they-die-in-the-streets/stories/201410190073