Day 16 - 28 Love Letters to Black Women
This Black History Month, I am sharing 28 stories of Black women who shaped me and showed me the way towards liberation. Because Black women are often not cited for their ideas, I thought this would be one way to give flowers to those who influenced me.
On Day 16, I would like to give flowers to consultant and DEI leader, Tai Dixon Darden.
Tai and I first met at Teach For America during a gathering of Black staff at the Congressional Black Caucus. Tai was part of the Human Assets and Talent Acquisition team. After TFA, Tai went on to be a Chief Talent, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer of a charter network before launching her own consulting firm to support people to cultivate liberatory leadership practices. Whenever I think of Tai, the first thing that comes to mind is how kind, joyful, and giving she is. She is a brilliant storyteller and shares with vulnerability and authenticity. Tai seems to lead her work with the “love ethic” bell hooks encouraged us to have in social justice work. I’ve been inspired by the resources and tools Tai regularly shares on social media. Tai is known for creating life giving learning spaces and team engagements.
Tai may not realize this but she is one of the reasons I am a full time consultant and entrepreneur today. Back in 2020, I was considering either working full time for my own firm or continuing to work for other people. I threw my hat in the ring for a few job searches, and even made it to the final round for a few of them. But in the end, almost every organization would say a version of “we’re just not ready for you yet.” I remember being so devastated by that feedback - it felt like once again I was too much for the world. I desperately began the search to find an organization that was ready for me. There were a handful of independent consultants that gathered me all the way together, and Tai was one of those people. It was her advice that sealed the deal for me. Tai shared a bit about her own journey as an entrepreneur, and told me to put my ideas out in the world and see what happens. I remember walking away from that conversation with the courage to leap. And I soon came to realize that the organization that was ready for me was right in front of me. I was the one I was waiting for.
Image Description: Tai is sitting outside at a table. On the table, there is a stack of seven books. Tai is wearing a black shirt, jean vest, and yellow necklace.