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Commemorating Black History Month

From color monitors for desktop computers to the three-light traffic signal, the inventions of Black men and women have been a part of everyday American life for centuries. Black History Month is upon us, and what better way to commemorate this time than with recommendations to positively impact the economic mobility of Black communities?

Of all businesses in the United States, over two million are Black-owned. Compared to the national average, this is less than 10% of all businesses. So how do we highlight the innovation and creative contributions of black-owned business?


Develop partnerships with Black-owned businesses and non-profits. Though influence and impact are common goals, let’s reframe our intentions to fill the gaps instead. Where is there a need for resources, support and advocacy?

Start by identifying a connection between your business values of those of organizations you seek to support. For example, if your organization values equity and justice, Black Philanthropy of the Arizona Community Foundation or Diversity Leadership Alliance may be a good fit. If education and technology are a focus, consider Future Stars, which provides opportunities for inner city youth to achieve their goals in higher education and focuses on technology.


Create opportunities for community development. How do we empower predominately Black communities to effectively advocate for their needs? Financial literacy, healthcare and education are a few areas we can shift the conversation from access and information to awareness and tools for implementation.


Embracing and cultivating a sense of belonging in business must be our bottom-line for our teams and colleagues to feel valued and heard. People are craving a more meaningful, flexible and fulfilling experience at work. As business owners desiring to be an inclusive leader, we can be the catalyst to creating environments of social and emotional wellbeing for our employees.

Consider attending the University of Phoenix Inclusive Leadership Summit, May 2 –4, 2023.  During this virtual summit, we invite participants to develop inclusive leadership skills with focused tracks in leadership management, education and healthcare. We will bring together leaders, scholars and professionals across multiple industries to explore how to prioritize mental health and belonging at the core of strategic operations.


Perry, N. (2023, January 30).  20 Black-Owned Business Statistics. Fundera By Nerdwallet.

Future Stars (2023, February 1).

Jelisa Dallas, M.S.Ed., is the Program Manager for Recognized Student Organizations for the Office of Educational Equity at the University of Phoenix. With over twelve years of experience working in education, Jelisa has designed and implemented innovative resources and programming for student development in private, non-profit, and public institutions.

Tondra Richardson, MBA, is the Director of Student Diversity & Inclusion in the Office of Educational Equity at University of Phoenix. Certified by the National Diversity Council as a Diversity and Inclusion Practitioner, Tondra currently sits on the Board for the Diversity Leadership Alliance, National Conference on Race and Ethnicity Student Affairs and Affiliated Professionals Committee, and Arizona Multicultural Education Conference Planning Committee, and was an honoree of the 2022 class of leading women in higher education by the publication, Diverse: Issues In Higher Education.