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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Vice chancellor shares women’s success, work

By Jayleen Watson/reporter

Finding balance is a challenge for many, especially women, the vice chancellor for success told students Nov. 17.

In Can Women Have It All?: A Women’s Forum, Dr. Joy Gates Black explained how to strike a balance between life and education, especially for those seeking careers in education administration.

“My path was very non-traditional,” she said. “My parents were not college-educated, but they were committed to my education. I joined the Air Force as a way to afford my education and give myself the opportunity to travel.”

Selectivity and sacrifice were key points during the forum hosted by Women in New Roles.

Speaking on NE Campus to a crowd of 70 people from all five campuses, Gates Black cited examples of successful, balanced women.

“Hillary Clinton, Jill Biden, Erma Johnson Hadley — these women undoubtedly had tough decisions to make: family, career, life, responsibilities,” she said. “For many women, this is simply too much.”

Throughout her corporate years, Gates Black discovered her passion for education and pursued administration. Selecting a college that was flexible to her family’s needs was critical, she said. 

“I did a lot of research,” she said. “The college I selected allowed me to take as few or as many classes as I wanted and be with my family at the same time. I had to learn to be selective early on.”

NE Campus student Takeisha Steele understands this well. Steele, a single mother who participates in the WINR program, said selectivity is inclusive of sacrifice.

“In order to have it all, you have to sacrifice” she said. “It’s hard to have balance if you don’t.”

Gates Black, who holds a doctorate from Pepperdine University, said support is critical to one’s level of success and spoke candidly about her personal struggle.

“My first marriage ended during the pursuit of my master’s, leaving me a single mother,” she said. “I reached out to the school and found resources to help me and worked with an adviser. My friends supported me as well. We supported each other.”

Gates Black also showed videos of former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi speaking not only about their constant search for balance but also the need to know what is best for that individual.

“There are so many trade-offs and compromises,” Nooyi said in the video. “There is no formula for trade-offs. At every point, the tug is unbelievable.”

After Rice shared how taking a random class led down a path toward working in the White House, she said in the video, “Do what you love.”

Several additional topics were examined including hitting the glass ceiling, setting one’s own pace and thriving in the right environment.

NE student Shavaun Smiley agreed with the latter sentiment.

“You do have to find balance in all that you do, but you have to know who you are,” she said. “New things and places help you grow. You meet new people when you grow and vice versa. I’m discovering that sometimes I don’t even have to sacrifice certain things or people. They fall away on their own because of my focus. People understand that I’m on a mission.”

Gates Black shared statistical information from her research at Pepperdine relating to the effects on marriages and reasons women chose to delay careers.

She also gave advice on how one should research positions for family friendliness.

“I first checked into the company by looking at how many women worked there and the diversity,” she said. “In my previous experience, I held roles traditionally held by men, so I understood that I was expected to function as a man in those roles despite having children and being in school. Determined to have it all, I had to weigh the responsibility of my family to the responsibility of my work life.”

In a question-and-answer session toward the close of the forum, Gates Black encouraged the audience to seek out networking and mentorship opportunities as well as establish a support system.

“Can women have it all?” she asked. “Yes, you can, but with caveats.”

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