For 11 years in a row, on a given Thursday in March, The Network Journal has recognized the outstanding performance of 25 African-American women in the public, private, entrepreneurial and nonprofit sectors at a sold-out luncheon at a leading hotel in New York City. And every year, TNJ’s staff never fails to be touched by the excitement and overwhelming gratitude of the women at being so honored. They come to the luncheon with a cheerleading squad of family, friends, colleagues and business associates. Some of the honorees shed tears, others visibly struggle to hold back tears, and still others give a sorority whoop. But they all laugh.
This year, the TNJ Annual 25 Influential Black Women in Business Luncheon falls on March 12. On the eve of the luncheon, for the second year in a row, the honorees will be formally embraced by those of the past 10 years at a private “TNJ 25 Alumna” reunion. As in the past, March 12 is a day for the honorees to reap some of the rewards of what sociologists Marlese Durr, Ph.D., of Wright State University and Adia Harvey Wingfield, Ph.D., of Georgia State University, call the “emotional labor” to conform. It is a day to put aside concerns with barriers to promotions, with being placed in positions that deal with minority or affirmative action issues instead of “mainstream” jobs, with competing with white women, fighting Black stereotypes and with how they dress, speak, smile, or who they eat lunch with, Durr and Wingfield say in their paper, “Keep Your ‘N’ in Check: African American Women and the Interactive Effects of Etiquette and Emotional Labor,” which they presented last August to the American Sociological Association.
TNJ is proud to bring to our readers, in the pages that follow, the profiles of this year’s “25 Influential Black Women in Business” — women who are redefining