Deandra Coleman is the CEO of Beyond The C-Suite, a communications, public relations and personal brand management agency. She recently launched a new program to advance Black women executives.

By Megan Sayles, AFRO Business Writer,
Report for America Corps Member,
msayles@afro.com

Beyond The C-Suite, a full-service communications, public relations and personal brand management agency, is launching a new program to advance Black women who hold senior executive positions. 

The year-long Seen & Heard Experience will  give Black women senior executives the opportunity to write their own books, with the help of experienced ghost writers, and train them in public speaking. The program will run two cohorts of 25 women per year, and applications need to be submitted by Nov. 19. 

The Seen & Heard Experience is also accepting nominations for its cohorts. 

“The idea was birthed from me working with my clients, and we’re trying to elevate them to this thought leader status,” said Deandra Coleman,  CEO of Beyond The C-Suite. 

Coleman chose the name “Seen & Heard” for the program because too often Black women are present in corporate conversations but not given a chance to speak. Or, when their advice and solutions are heeded, they do not receive credit and recognition for their contributions. 

Coleman herself encountered this throughout her career in Corporate America. In her first C-suite role, Coleman said she was miserable. 

The owner of the company constantly second-guessed her, and she wasn’t adequately compensated for her work. When she left the role for another senior executive position at a different company, the same thing happened. 

The experience led her to form Beyond The C-Suite in 2020, so women like her could cultivate strong personal brands to carve out their own space in the corporate sector and determine their opportunities for growth. 

“When you curate a really strong personal brand, it then becomes what people say about you,” said Coleman. “The positive things that precede you make people want to hire you, and it gives you stronger negotiation skills when you’re up for a new position or a promotion.” 

During the Seen & Heard Experience, participants will be paired with a ghost writer and public speaking coach. The program will kick off in January with an all-inclusive five-day retreat where Black women executives can meet one another and learn about the basics of branding, book writing and speech development. 

In February, the women will begin writing their books for about six months, and then they will spend three months learning about public speaking.

The final months of the program will be dedicated to marketing their books and new speaking talent, so they can generate additional streams of income and seize opportunities for public speaking engagements. 

The Seen & Heard Experience will culminate in a red carpet celebration where the women can share excerpts from their books or speeches with fellow senior executives and friends and family. 

Coleman said one of the underlying motivations for the program is to create an executive sisterhood where women can support and push each other to achieve their goals. When women join a cohort, they pledge to sponsor and elevate the Black women that come behind them. 

“We now more than ever have this opportunity to hone a personal brand that feels good to us and allows us to step forward in our true light,” said Coleman. “I want to help Black women fully achieve that and be seen and heard and, subsequently, compensated very well for who they are, their expertise and their experiences.”

Beyond The C-Suite, a full-service communications, public relations and personal brand management agency, is launching a new program to advance Black women who hold senior executive positions. 

The year-long Seen & Heard Experience will  give Black women senior executives the opportunity to write their own books, with the help of experienced ghost writers, and train them in public speaking. The program will run two cohorts of 25 women per year, and applications need to be submitted by Nov. 19. 

The Seen & Heard Experience is also accepting nominations for its cohorts. 

“The idea was birthed from me working with my clients, and we’re trying to elevate them to this thought leader status,” said Deandra Coleman,  CEO of Beyond The C-Suite. 

Coleman chose the name “Seen & Heard” for the program because too often Black women are present in corporate conversations but not given a chance to speak. Or, when their advice and solutions are heeded, they do not receive credit and recognition for their contributions. 

Coleman herself encountered this throughout her career in Corporate America. In her first C-suite role, Coleman said she was miserable. 

The owner of the company constantly second-guessed her, and she wasn’t adequately compensated for her work. When she left the role for another senior executive position at a different company, the same thing happened. 

The experience led her to form Beyond The C-Suite in 2020, so women like her could cultivate strong personal brands to carve out their own space in the corporate sector and determine their opportunities for growth. 

“When you curate a really strong personal brand, it then becomes what people say about you,” said Coleman. “The positive things that precede you make people want to hire you, and it gives you stronger negotiation skills when you’re up for a new position or a promotion.” 

During the Seen & Heard Experience, participants will be paired with a ghost writer and public speaking coach. The program will kick off in January with an all-inclusive five-day retreat where Black women executives can meet one another and learn about the basics of branding, book writing and speech development. 

In February, the women will begin writing their books for about six months, and then they will spend three months learning about public speaking.

The final months of the program will be dedicated to marketing their books and new speaking talent, so they can generate additional streams of income and seize opportunities for public speaking engagements. 

The Seen & Heard Experience will culminate in a red carpet celebration where the women can share excerpts from their books or speeches with fellow senior executives and friends and family. 

Coleman said one of the underlying motivations for the program is to create an executive sisterhood where women can support and push each other to achieve their goals. When women join a cohort, they pledge to sponsor and elevate the Black women that come behind them. 

“We now more than ever have this opportunity to hone a personal brand that feels good to us and allows us to step forward in our true light,” said Coleman. “I want to help Black women fully achieve that and be seen and heard and, subsequently, compensated very well for who they are, their expertise and their experiences.”

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