Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Executive Leadership

First Supervisor

Linda Hickmon Evans, Ph.D

Second Supervisor

Loretta Quigley, Ed.D.


The purpose of this qualitative, interpretative phenomenological study was to explore the phenomenon of Black female executives holding positions of leadership who are isolated by race as the only, or one of the few, persons of color in a predominantly White organization. This was accomplished by highlighting the perceptions of the lived experiences of nine Black female executives throughout the Central New York State region, working in healthcare, education, government, nonprofit, and private sectors. These women report navigating microaggressions, isolation, invisibility, and hypervisibility—all while striving to achieve success in their leadership role, prioritize personal pursuits, and manage caregiver responsibilities. As a result, their overall wellbeing is often compromised. Considering the challenges of simply being both Black and female, as highlighted in the reviewed literature and derived from the data collection process, it is apparent that self-care should be prioritized for every individual, regardless of their job title or industry. The findings provide a resiliency strategy for professional Black women who aspire to enter leadership roles. Organizations and institutions can utilize the results as a roadmap to foster a culture of support and engagement with diverse leaders by dismantling systems and organizational structures that create hierarchies, provide mentorship and coaching, create safe spaces, and incorporate culturally inclusive activities.

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