By Candice Durham, Co-Founder & CEO, The B Suite
In 2019 I landed my first six-figure job as a Managing Director in Washington, DC. For a little girl from a tiny town in North Carolina who made less than $30K as a teacher only a few years prior this was life-altering money.
At 30 years old I was finally able to start taking real vacations (the luxury boujee kind). I could send money home to my family without blinking an eye. I enjoyed modern conveniences that had eluded me like bills on autopay, any streaming service imaginable, and get this — a FULL tank of gas whenever I needed it. Life was good.
Well … it was okay.
I was also working nonstop, sleeping inconsistently, stressed, and could have gone my entire life without having to come into my office again by 8:00 am.
Something had to give and when I wasn’t willing to make a change, the universe did it for me. I lost that job 10 months later.
Fast forwarding to summer 2020, the world is neck deep in a pandemic and I’m drowning in what felt like the world’s longest job search. Bills were piling up, savings was almost nonexistent, and depression was real. By the fall, I was sure that I’d never have another job again and definitely not one that provided that coveted six-figure salary.
So, in typical DC fashion, I started consulting. I remember really struggling to get off the ground. I spoke to several other consultants in my sphere of education and talent management — mostly white women — and their advice always felt like a pat on the back while saying, “you’re a strong black woman so you’ll figure it out”. No concrete answers or resources. No advice on what to charge. No feedback on materials that I shared with them. But alas — I’m a strong Black woman. I’ll figure it out?
I finally dug my heels deep into LinkedIn and found a whole world of Black and Latine women in talent, DEIA, and education who were consulting full-time and living this amazing, liberated life free from the bullshit of “strong black woman” tropes, unnecessary in-person work, and checks that just weren’t cutting it.
From their wisdom I grew and rebranded as Imagine Consulting at the end of that year. And while I initially struggled with the decision to embrace full-time independence, I’ve yet to look back once and from that freedom, the B Suite was born.
The B Suite was created to first, codify the work done to achieve that autonomy and flexibility and now, replicate it for other Black and Brown leaders in the most streamlined way possible. By reducing barriers of entry for leaders of color to enter the consulting and interim leadership space, we can facilitate flexible career paths from mid-level management to the c-suite. Our seat at the table but the way we want and need it.
We believe that by increasing racial diversity across the nation’s c-suite, even in short-term capacities, we can reduce power and wealth disparities, create professional independence for leaders of color, and build generational wealth within historically oppressed communities.
I’m Candice Durham (she/they), Co-Founder of the B Suite and I’m a Chief breaking down barriers for people who look like me. What’s your seat?