KING COUNTY, Wash. — As a Black woman in Seattle, Chiquita Wright struggled to get her foot in the door professionally – but now, thanks to her entrepreneurial mindset and the right resources, she has created something to help other people of color gain access to the career opportunities she never had.
“Great, I feel great,” Wright said with a smile.
Today, Wright is thriving.
She’s a college graduate, an entrepreneur, a leader, and her own boss.
“I feel like I can accomplish anything I put my mind to,” she said.
But success didn’t come easy for this single mom of two.
“I didn’t have a lot of choices growing up,” Wright said. “It was hard to just get my foot inside the door, so I knew that I wanted to create something, that I could create those opportunities for other people that I didn’t find as a person of color.”
She knew that to create something bigger than herself, she had to invest in herself first.
“I always had entrepreneurial goals, and I never knew how to move forward with those things,” Wright explained.
Those goals led her to a certificate program at the University of Washington called Women in Entrepreneurial Leadership or WEL.
“The intent here was to help women craft their own journey as a leader, and we use this form of entrepreneurship as a way to explore and really vet out their own capability,” said WEL instructor and Artemis Connection CEO, Christy Johnson.
The course caters to a wide range of women, from physicians to PHDs to high school students, and works to break down complex topics in the financial and entrepreneurial space.
Classes are taught in an immersive environment and have real-world applications – incorporating lessons from local female business owners, entrepreneurs, and leaders.
“They all see something that needs to be fixed in the world and they all want to solve it and fix it in a way that adds value and it’s very inspiring,” Johnson said. “Entrepreneurship and personal finance are just something you need to be able to create that positive value.”
“Taking this course allowed me to know that I am capable, I am powerful, that I do have a voice that needs to be shared,” said Wright.
By the time Wright completed the program in 2020, she had the framework for her own business – “Our HR,” a public relations and marketing company dedicated to providing employment and internship opportunities for people of color in Western Washington.
“You want to make sure that you’re taking your time and you’re really putting the energy into something, and building and creating something, that you love,” Wright said. “That is what I’m doing right now, I’m trying to create something that I love and I’m trying to give back to my community.”
She also had the knowledge she needed to transform her finances -- slashing her discretionary spending, opening a business checking account, and saving, to ultimately bring her vision to life.
“I had to figure out what I needed versus what I wanted. I had to cut out all the things I wanted to be able to put towards the things that I need,” Wright said. “The biggest want of course is to be financially stable and just taking that want, it made me feel the power to need, the need to save, the need to build, the need to invest.”
Now, two years later, Wright is starting to network and look for investors so she can take Our HR to the next level.
And one day, she hopes the company she created will go on to create real change for other people of color.
“I’m giving that opportunity to other people that look like me,” Wright said. “Being able to open doors for other people is like amazing, it feels good.”
“We all have something in us that we already know that we have, but it’s not built up until you have someone that’s really rooting for you,” Wright continued. “You do have the power to thrive, you have that in you, you just have to believe it to.”
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