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Newark Museum of Art's Women's Forum Centers on Racism, and Struggles of Doing Business in a Man's World

Bobbbi Brown was the keynote speaker at the Newark Museum of Art's Women's History Month Forum
Newark Museum of Art
Bobbbi Brown was the keynote speaker at the Newark Museum of Art's Women's History Month Forum

The Newark Museum of Art may be closed, but that didn’t stop it from hosting a virtual Women’s Leadership Forum during Women’s History Month.

The keynote speaker, Bobbi Brown, creator of one of the top cosmetics brands. She was asked about some of the obstacles she ran into as a woman in an industry run by men.

"Probably the hardest thing that I faced was going into these board meetings that were really full of men in suits and I was not someone even though I was all of a sudden in corporate America I was not someone that was really comfortable being in this situation."

Other women entrepreneurs said they had to overcome systemic racism and lack of access to capital.
One of them was Adenah (ah-DEE-nah) Bayoh (BUY-oh), a real estate developer who owns restaurants in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. She recounted what it was like when she tried to open her first IHOP:

"I was shocked with the level of discontent ... lack of faith ... no advocacy for women of color in the banking sector."

Bayoh said she was turned down for funding by seven banks in a row ... and said until women have more access to capital they will never reach their full potential.

Doctor Chris Pernell is the Chief Health Equity Officer at University Hospital in Newark ... she talked about what is behind the disproportionate loss of life to Covid among Black and brown people:

"This current pandemic of coronavirus has erased any questions that may have existed about how systemic racism kills and robs life and life opportunity."

Pernell ... who is Black ... said she has lost her father and two cousins to COVID-19.

The women at the event stressed how hard it was for them to start their own businesses because banks gave them the cold shoulder ... especially women of color.

Doug Doyle has been News Director at WBGO since 1998 and has taken his department to new heights in coverage and recognition. Doug and his staff have received more than 250 awards from organizations like PRNDI (now PMJA), AP, New York Association of Black Journalists, Garden State Association of Black Journalists and the New Jersey Society of Professional Journalists.
Janice Kirkel is a lifelong award-winning journalist who has done everything from network newscasts to national and local sports reports to business newscasts to specialized reporting and editing in technical areas of business and finance such as bankruptcy, capital structure changes and reporting on the business of the investment business.