Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Executive Leadership

First Supervisor

Dr. Josephine Moffett

Second Supervisor

Dr. Janice Kelly


The purpose of this qualitative phenomenological study was to examine the lived experiences of 15 Black women, working in New York State and New Jersey, who worked in leadership roles in higher education and had experienced divorce or separation to assess if there was a correlation between their identification with the Strong Black Woman (SBW) schema and the effects of work-life conflict on their social and personal relationships.

The study revealed that there were significant changes in the way the participants perceived being an SBW. Many participants viewed being labeled an SBW as unfavorable and chose to redefine the term. Participants expressed that challenges they experienced while serving in leadership positions were feelings of invisibility and the need to continuously validate their abilities and qualifications. The participants shared that their leadership roles caused them to feel a sense of pressure to excel and guilt to balance their dual roles in their careers and as mothers. The study participants expressed a need for support, mentorship, rest, vulnerability, and the need for increased focus on self-care.

Some recommendations from the study’s results were to provide targeted support for Black women, such as additional flexibility, mentoring programs, professional coaching, and an increased focus on diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging.

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