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Racial Microaggression Experiences and Coping Strategies of Black Women in Corporate Leadership

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<June 2018>


Racial Microaggression Experiences and Coping Strategies of Black Women in Corporate Leadership
GSE Centennial Lecture Series: Celebrating the Graduate School of Education Centennial

Monday, March 20, 2017 | 5:15 – 8:30 p.m.
12th-Floor Lounge | E. Gerald Corrigan Conference Center
Lowenstein Center | Lincoln Center Campus
113 W. 60th Street | New York City

About the Lecture
While people of color have made significant gains in the workplace since U.S legislation made discrimination and segregation illegal, they continue to be underrepresented at executive levels in corporate America. This trend is particularly pervasive for black women, who—despite representing an important and growing source of talent for corporate institutions—are fairly well represented in entry- and middle-level management positions but continue to be underrepresented at the executive level throughout corporate America. Racism has been cited as a critical factor in explaining underrepresentation of black women in senior management positions.

Modern racism, like racial microaggressions, is more likely to be covert, indirect, and ambiguous. With the intersection of their marginalized identities of race and gender, black women are particularly vulnerable to negative stereotypes that create barriers to career advancement. This presentation will provide an overview of black women's experiences of racial microaggressions in the workplace and their psychological and career-related impact. The lecture will also explore some coping strategies used by black women corporate leaders who have managed to break through the concrete ceiling to career advancement and who have demonstrated powerful resilience in the face of significant barriers.

Aisha Holder, Ph.D., GSE '15, is a psychologist at Columbia University's Counseling and Psychological Services (CPS). Holder completed her postdoctoral fellowship at CPS. Prior to her time at Columbia, she completed her APA-accredited internship at Princeton House Behavioral Health. She has co-authored several articles on racial microaggressions published in journals like American Psychologist, Professional Psychology Research and Practice, and Qualitative Psychology. Holder has also co-authored a chapter on workplace microaggressions published in Talking about Structural Inequalities in Everyday Life: New Politics of Race in Groups, Organizations and Social Systems.

Prior to pursuing a career in counseling psychology, Holder was a vice president at JPMorgan Chase (JPMC) in the Corporate Training and Career Advancement program divisions. She began her career as an associate in the Human Resources Associate program, a management program at JPMC. After completing that program, she assumed the role of human resources business partner in the Retail Financial Services and Investment Banking divisions of JPMC. Holder received her Ph.D. in counseling psychology from Fordham University, her M.A. in psychological counseling from Teachers College, Columbia University, and a B.A. in psychology from Spelman College.

For more information, contact Kelly Milnes at 212-636-6558 or

View more events from the GSE Centennial Lecture Series.


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