New Jersey Black Women’s Collective celebrates first Leadership Institute graduation

The New Jersey Black Women’s Collective and Mercer County Community College launched a leadership program earlier this year designed to cultivate and develop the next generation of Black women leaders in New Jersey. On June 8, members of the inaugural class will present their capstone projects and graduate in a special ceremony at the Trenton Country Club in West Trenton.

The Leadership Institute, which met from March through June, is a partnership between the NJBWC and MCCC. A steering committee that includes leaders of NJBWC, executives from MCCC and MCCC President Deborah Preston have served as the planning board for the Leadership Institute.

The Leadership Institute was specifically designed for emerging leaders across various sectors. Its purpose is to equip participants with the necessary skills and strategies to effectively address current challenges in real-time, bring their visions to fruition and enhance their overall effectiveness. Additionally, the program aims to cultivate a pipeline of talented Black women leaders in the state of New Jersey.

“As the chair of the Leadership Institute, I had the privilege of launching a new program that aimed to empower women from within. The level of energy and enthusiasm in each session exceeded my wildest expectations,” Tennille McCoy, co-founder of NJBWC, said. “Our ultimate goal was not only for these women to achieve success and meet expectations, but also to leave the program with authentic relationships and practical strategies to navigate real-world challenges. We wanted to ignite a fire within them that would continue to burn long after the program’s conclusion.”

“This has been a phenomenal journey, but this is just the beginning of the great things that we anticipate happening through the Leadership Institute. I am excited for celebrate these amazing women for their engaging participation in the program and equally excited about the impact this inaugural cohort will make within their organizations and communities,” Taraun Tice McKnight, co-founder of NJBWC, said.

“This is what Black excellence looks like. This class has truly demonstrated that women can work together and are empowered to take seats at the table in government, business, education, nonprofits and more — congratulations, ladies,” Adrienne King, co-founder of NJBWC, said. “We appreciate our partners’ contributions to the success of the institute, because we couldn’t have done this without them. We’re looking forward to expanding beyond this inaugural cohort.”

The facilitators for the Leadership Institute were Melody Fogarty, managing partner and chief business strategist, Dakota Gray LLC, and Rita Williams-Bogar, founder of Personal Development Solutions LLC.

The curriculum featured Black women executives, senior leaders and guest speakers as presenters and experts in numerous fields.

Specific topics included Decoding Your Leadership EQ; Strategic Mindset; Think Like a CFO; Marketing: The Creative Journey; Applying Leadership to Fulfill Your Mission; Power Structure and Little “p” in Politics; Creating High Impact Coalitions; and a Wellness Treat.

“I entered the NJBWC Leadership Institute seeking to cultivate my leadership skills. I exit this amazing experience a changed woman — both personally and professionally. The breadth of knowledge and authentic sisterhood gained was priceless,” Jacqueline Heads, a Leadership Institute graduate, said.

The capstone presentation will start at 9:30 a.m., with a brunch and ceremony at 11 a.m. This event is open to the public and sponsorship opportunities are available.

The graduates are:

  • Brianna Armstead;
  • Latonya Ashford Ligon;
  • Charise Breeden-Balaam;
  • Risikat Busari;
  • Latoya Cargeor;
  • Rachel Dortch;
  • Gabriel Douglas;
  • Shamara Gatling-Davila;
  • Jacqueline Heads;
  • Sherida Hinckson;
  • Candice Jackson Long;
  • Danielle M. Jones;
  • Darcell Q. Medley-Stokes;
  • Donna Maywar;
  • Shatiera Porte’e;
  • Stefanie Williams Carthan.