New Program for Women of Color Approved

National Leaders Green Light Women of Color Executive Leader Accelerator and Alliance


As a follow-on to the Leaky Pipes: Influencer Solutions Forum that took place in Crystal City, Virginia on October 16, 2019, the Civic Engagement Leadership Institute for Everyone (CELIE) announced the development of a new program to promote the advancement of women of color (WoC) to the C-suite.  The program has received the endorsement of national leaders and senior executives from the public and private sectors and higher education.

The historic invitation-only event was co-hosted by Dr. Johnnetta Betsch Cole, President and Chair of the Board at the National Council of Negro Women; and Dr. Lily McNair, President of Tuskegee University. Norma B. Clayton, Chair of the Tuskegee Board of Trustees served as Honorary Co-Host.

The original program developed by CELIE targeted high-potential college-age students. As a result of a solutions forum, sponsored by Toyota Motor North America and hosted by The Boeing Company, the program now will be modified to also support advancement of WoC mid-managers to the C-suite level. “I am absolutely ecstatic with the outcomes of this historic convening and the enthusiasm expressed universally for the model,” said Anita Estell, Founder and President of CELIE.  The national convening contributed to the fine-tuning of a new framework needed to support a scalable prototype program to address recruitment, retention and advancement issues unique to WoC across multiple sectors, disciplines and professions.

Alva Adams

Pictured Above: Special thanks to Alva Adams, Senior Director Multicultural Business Alliance & Strategy and Multicultural Dealer Relations Toyota Motor North America, Scott Drach, Vice President of Human Resources for Defense, Space & Security at The Boeing Company, and Jennifer Martineau, SVP of Research, Evaluation, and Societal Advancement for their leadership, time, assistance and helping to make the event a great success.

Book: Kick Some GlassThe Center for Creative Leadership (CCL) is an inaugural partner and provided an executive leadership development team to facilitate discovery sessions and training materials.  “CCL is excited to partner with CELIE on the Leaky Pipes initiative.  There is no doubt that businesses and society in general will be more successful with greater diversity, so the need to focus on advancing women of color is paramount,” says Jennifer W. Martineau, SVP of Research, Evaluation, and Societal Advancement, and Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Practice Lead at the Center for Creative Leadership.

The Pioneering Panel Conversation, moderated by Tamika Tremaglio, Managing Principal at Deloitte,  topped the day’s highlights.  Lessons shared during the hour-long exchange will be incorporated into the WoCELA leadership e-learning platform.

Approximately 40 influencers who participated in the one-day event gave CELIE’s Women of Color Executive Leader Accelerator and Alliance (WoCELA) an unwavering thumbs up.  Attendees and speakers at the event represented Fortune 500 companies, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, the federal government and the U.S. Congress.

download reportEstell says, “CELIE is excited to work with all of the event partners to accelerate broader adoption of the WoCELA model.” CELIE plans to unveil and officially launch the accelerator and alliance elements of the program during the first quarter of 2020.