By Monsurat Olugbode
During one of the largest stock market crashes in US history since the Great Depression, Dr. Brandi Baldwin-Rana created a business for herself, Millennial Ventures Holding.
Dr. Baldwin-Rana attended college with the hope of being a consultant after graduation. Consultancy is a field dominated by old, white men with thirty to forty years of experience. With the unfortunate crash of the market and no experience, Dr. Baldwin-Rana applied her ingenuity to conducting workshops for helping attendees sharpen skills, such as interviewing and resume crafting. After branching out into other areas, including event coordinating, and other services, she eventually created her holding company, an umbrella for all of her businesses.
As CEO of a company with several subsidiaries, Dr. Baldwin-Rana consistently strives to become a better leader. Her workshops include discussion and instruction around leadership, in how to be an effective leader, how to handle conflict, and various other courses relating to leadership and the development of leadership skills for women.
“Being an effective leader boils down to three things: self-awareness; identifying people challenges and strengths; and being able to adjust leadership style. As a leader, you shouldn’t be surprised by your flaws – one of the roles of a leader is to develop strengths in others that you are weak in; but if you don’t see your own flaws, how do you expect to help others fix theirs?”
To be an adaptive leader, Dr. Baldwin-Rana changed the way her company interviews candidates, incorporating D&I strategies, to give applicants a more equal opportunity. This strategy has made it possible for her to hire a diverse staff with a wide skill set. As a leader of color, she prides herself on her extremely diverse and talented staff.
Being a leader of color has its challenges and rewards, but being a woman of color in 2018 is an experience with unique challenges and rewards. Dr. Baldwin-Rana believes that “this is a great season for African-American women, professionally. We have a voice, platforms, and more opportunity to open more doors. I don’t think we are there yet, but what I’m seeing is a breakthrough in what African-American women are able to do, and what they have.”
Dr. Baldwin-Rana is “motivated by others who are doing what I do and killing it.” In conducting her development workshops, she feels that she is “receiving as much as I’m giving. I always learn something new. They teach me as much I teach them.”