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Future for Us: Women of Color Take the Lead

Posted at 4:16 PM, Jun 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-08 17:55:10-04

Minority women are one of the fastest-growing demographics of the workplace—yet women of color make up almost half of the lowest paid employees.

Two young women want to change that by teaching minorities how to get ahead, with community, culture, and career development. Their ‘Future for Us’ has helped more than 11,000 women of color navigate their way toward jobs, promotions, and equitable pay.

Denise Aguilar had dissolved her online car buying company and wasn’t working when ‘Future for Us’ brought her a job lead and training.

“Just how to walk into a room and be able to relay your skills, so that the employer fully understands that number one, you’re confident and number two, that you are capable and that you’re going to deliver on what you’re saying,” said Aguilar.

Now, she’s a campaign strategist for the Knack Collective, working with clients like Microsoft.

Sage Ke’alohilani Quiamno and Aparna Rae had 300 women of color at their first assembly. Sage gives women keys to success: having a personal board of directors to advocate and advise, maintaining a diverse community around them, and learning how to negotiate.

“Number one is to do your market research. So what is the market telling you about your position, what is also the pay band that your company is willing to pay for your position,” Ke’alohilani Quiamno told Ivanhoe.

Second, face your fears, figure out why you’re hesitant to ask for more, so you can do it. And third, understand the dialogue.

“If you do get a ‘no,’ what is something that you can say to bring up that conversation again? Like for instance, ‘X is a great start, but I would love to continue having this conversation,’” said Ke’alohilani Quiamno.

Aparna reaches out to companies, to help them recruit and retain workers. “We’re not creating an exclusive club for women of color. Instead, we’re saying our work is to advance women of color, and look, it takes everyone to do this work well. And hi, decision-makers, you should be at the table,” said Rae.

Sage and Aparna took ‘Future for Us’ lessons and stories on the road to seven big cities last fall. Once travel restrictions are eased, ‘Future for Us’ events will be held in many cities. For updates, go to