Black women have been blazing a trail in the financial world for decades. From Maggie Lena Walker, the first woman ever to start a bank, to Lilla St. John, the first Black woman to pass the New York Stock Exchange exam in 1953 at age 25, the legacy is vast—and filled with numerous firsts.
But as Black History Month 2021 draws to a close, it's crucial to consider the way forward. In 2020, according to The Washington Post, we learned that the wealth gap between Black and white Americans in the United States is just as large as it was in 1968. Amid the expanding wealth inequality in the U.S., numerous Black women around the country are making major strides toward a more financially literate future.
Whether you're managing your student loan debt, searching for a better way to budget, looking to support a small Black-owned bank, or want to up your investing game, check out these women for some major inspiration.
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Tiffany Aliche, The Budgetnista
As a former kindergarten teacher, Tiffany Aliche offers the kind of gentle encouragement needed for anyone who has faced—or is in the midst of—financial trauma. In 2014, Aliche launched the Live Richer Challenge to help thousands of women pay off and manage their debt. Aliche is also an award-winning author and a co-host of the popular Brown Ambition podcast.
Sheena Allen, CapWay
After growing up in a small town with one bank, Sheena Allen couldn't help but notice the impact it had on her community. Seeing family members store their money at home—and her community frequently fall victim to the high fees of banking alternatives—was deeply unsettling for Allen. So in 2016, she founded CapWay, a mobile bank and financial tech company for unbanked and underbanked American adults in need.
Marsha Barnes, The Finance Bar
Barnes is a certified financial social worker and official FICO Brand Ambassador. As the founder of The Finance Bar, she passionately schools women and couples across the country in an actual school bus-turned financial literacy hub on wheels in an effort to bring knowledge to the community. Education, coaching, and prioritizing financial wellness are the key pillars to Marsha Barnes' approach.
Thasunda Duckett, CEO Chase Consumer Banking
It's not every day we see a Black woman rise through the ranks to spearhead the consumer sector of the largest bank in America. As the CEO of Chase Consumer Banking, Thasunda Duckett oversees a network of more than 5,300 branches and 47,000 employees. Hailed as one of "the most powerful women in banking" by American Banker, Ducket is also an advocate for inclusion in the finance world.
Tiffany James, Modern Black Girl
Thanks in part to the new social media phenomenon known as ClubHouse, Tiffany James has procured a niche following of Black women interested in stock trading for the first time. On any given day, you may find her moderating ClubHouse panel discussions (i.e., virtual, audio-only chats) or expertly holding her own amid the overwhelming sea of finance bros that populate the app.
Dasha Kennedy, The Broke Black Girl
Dasha Kennedy doesn't hold back. Through her The Broke Black Girl platform, she dishes straightforward financial coaching to more than 70,000 Black women around the country. In addition to being a finance coach, Kennedy is equally passionate about economic justice and encourages tough money conversations around estate planning for parents as well as the racial wealth gap.
Lauren Simmons, finance guru
In 2017, at 22 years old, Lauren Simmons became the youngest full-time female trader at the New York Stock Exchange. Simmons has since left her trading role behind and is now a public speaker, entrepreneur and is producing her own biopic. She's also set to host the new reality show, Going Public—a streaming series that takes viewers behind the scenes of the IPO process.
Tonya Rapley, My Fab Finance
As a wife, mother, and domestic violence survivor, Tonya Rapley is unafraid to not only share her life experiences but connect them to real-world money situations. From the challenges around overcoming spousal economic abuse to helping you implement better daily spending habits, Rapley understands the everyday challenges that can impact your wallet.