Whether you know Bozoma Saint John by her radiant African prints, her voluminous natural 'fro or simply by her position as the Chief Brand Officer for Uber, you have to know she is the popping corporate "IT' girl right now.
She makes it chicly appropriate to thrive in the boardroom while fiercely wearing tribal patterned clothing.
Prior to working at Uber, Bozoma held several senior roles in Marketing for large major companies such as Ashley Stewart, Pepsi-Cola, and Apple Music. For all of my fellow Bey lovers, we have Bozoma's genuis to thank for Pepsi obtaining Beyonce for the halftime performance of Superbowl XLVII.
Bozoma is black girl magic on full display and definitely belongs on your radar. A simple scroll down her Instagram @badassboz will have you like, "Well dayum, I would love a day in her life!" (Well, maybe a little more than a day.)
She dazzles on the red carpets, rubs elbows with A-List celebrities, and then flips it to be fashionably perched on panels for numerous platforms as the resident branding expert. Her social media is full of proof of her black girl magic and her praise of other's magic. But outside of the glitz and the glam is pure substance.
I knew of Bozoma from her days at Apple because of my nerdy self-proclaimed love of business magazines. When she decided to work at Uber, I have to say I gave Bozoma, my mentor in my head, my best side eye, which looked a little like the Cruella Deville botox version of a raised eyebrow. To sum it up, I thought she was too badass to be down with Uber with all their internal turmoil, sexual misconduct allegations, and other shenanigans. But in true Bozoma fashion, she didn't hear my protest. Despite my unheard opposition, I learned a key point from Bozoma.
Who knew that would happen? Not me.
In addition to the way she sparkles and shines in her day-to-day life, Bozoma also sprinkles gems like magic dust in her interviews. My favorite interview of Bozoma's is the one she did with Oprah's bestie, Gayle King for CBS News.
During the interview, of course, the most obvious question was about Bozoma's decision to take the position with Uber. Her reply? Get ready for this gem...
"...It's about trying to be the representation for what I want to see. I want change. I want things to be great for people of color and for women."
That is BIG.
I have been guilty of just showing up to work for the fundamental basics like to feed my family and to have health insurance. I have to be honest, I never really thought of my career working in Human Resources as necessarily a field that was a total gamechanger in the world. I may have a little influence in the confines of our little office world but Bozoma's statement got me all the way straight.
Each little step we make as individuals challenges what the norm is and we all can be that change.
Here's the gamechanger in the spirit of her why. What if during your next job search, you seek out the opportunity to be the representation that you want to see? Say what? Yes, do not pass go from the companies that are doing some rebuilding. Instead, see the opportunities that could lie ahead.
Change Your Mindset
Companies that are in the rebuilding mode are eager to get away from the "sucks to be you" black cloud. They want new talent to change the culture. They want new leaders to lead the change. The opportunities are endless with companies fighting viciously to change, like Uber. And you can't be part of the change if you don't have a seat at the table. Be badass like Bozoma and take the bait, take the money, take the opportunity to see just where it could lead you.
Why should you even consider this? Glad you asked. Well, for starters, you might have the opportunity to build a team that represents who you want to see. You might even have the ear of the change-makers. Hell, you might be able to build liaisons with others that represent.
The opportunity is larger than what meets the eye.
On a smaller note, if Bozoma can do all she does wearing waist-length braids, large hoop earrings, and a bright ethnic print skirt reppin' Uber, she is winning the game. That's a far stretch from the stark white shirts, tailored pants, and clean-shaven faces that I see sitting across from me. Change your mindset to change their minds.
Change Agents Represent
Bozoma has the eyes of the world watching and she is fearless. Most of us don't have that extra type of pressure but, regardless, being the representation that you want to see is challenging, no doubt. Instead of focusing on the challenge, focus on the rewards. There are rewards for your career and for others that are on the ride and seated at the table with you.
The extra bonus for you is that being a change agent for a rebuilding company is your own personal gem to keep in your back pocket for your next amazing job offer. Add that to the fact that you get to create the change you wish to see. Talk about a win.
Bozoma's vast accomplishments roll on and on. The final takeaway is she does all of this by just being herself. In our own exclusive with the exec, Bozoma stated:
"People are always going to tell you that you should be something else."
Instead of listening to the naysayers, try using Bozoma's career mantra: be bold, fearless, and never compromise who you are just to please another.
Be yourself and be that change you want to see.
Featured image via Bozoma Saint John/Instagram