In 2011, an ambitious, twenty-something Lauren Wesley Wilson canvassed Washington D.C. for advice on how to excel in her budding public relations career. Wilson took coffee dates around the city asking professionals how to get ahead and make a name for herself.
While learning how to reach the popular benchmark goal of becoming a V.P. by the age of 30, Wilson also had another pressing question: Where the heck were all of the women of color working in communications?
“One day I had this idea,” Wilson said in a recent episode of the UnBossed Podcast, hosted by ESSENCE’s Work and Money Editor Marquita Harris.
“I partnered on with this woman at the time and I had said, ‘Let’s put our networks together and throw this luncheon. I want to call it ColorComm. I want to bring people together in the industry to learn from one another.'”
The first-ever ColorComm Luncheon brought in 34 media professionals, all women of color, to a restaurant in Washington D.C.
Wilson said the theme of the first luncheon was a simple question: What do you need? That prompt lit a fire for many women and allowed them to get the most out of their networking experience.
Now, eight years later, at the most recent ColorComm conference, political strategist Symone Sanders, stood on stage and energized a room full of attendees by asking the same question. “Ask the women sitting at your table ‘What do you need?!” she said enthusiastically.
ColorComm is now a leading organization for women of color in the communications business and produces a number of events, monthly programming across the country and also hosts events in London.
Originally from St. Louis, Missouri, Wilson now serves as the president and founder of ColorComm. On UnBossed, Wilson also explained that she’s always been serious about her grind, even as a small child. Although she received an allowance from her parents, Wilson still worked multiple jobs.
The Spelman alumna is an extroverted go-getter by nature. Since 2011, she has poured herself into this dream which has offered women around the world the opportunity to connect with other media professionals that look like them.
When asked about what it means to be a boss, or more specifically what it means to be “unbossed,” Wilson said it’s all about being unapologetic with your decisions and of course paying it forward.
“Someone who is really just really focused, smart, savvy, not worried about the competition, stays in their lane, and finds ways to be successful, but bring other people with them at the same time.”
To hear more about Lauren Wesley Wilson’s entrepreneurial journey and how to create your own network, listen to the full episode of UnBossed below.