Notably, Gray’s platform is devoted to amplifying women’s voices in business and youth in education through the power of storytelling. And that includes all women, races, colors, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, and national origin.
So, when it comes to amplifying the voices of Black women entrepreneurs, our insight is two-fold. First, as decent and kind human beings and receivers of information, the greatest gift we can lend is an ear – one that listens deeply. And doesn’t rush to savior or performative empathy. It’s got to be real.
Understanding that sometimes in order to make things greater, you must first turn down the noise. Turn down the spotlight, turn down the social channels, the messages you receive on “what you should have done,” and step into the most authentic learning version of yourself. In these moments, our clarity is deafening, enabling us to create space for greater amplification of others.
Second, and I give all the credit to Lauren Sikes of DesignEd Consulting for this line, “speaking your truth.” Since that day, I can’t unhear it. In the second part of this story, I write to the beautiful women of color as I know how hard it can be when our voice is not heard.
As a child, I remember having a conversation with my grandmother and mother. Both my sister and I were present, and it was the type of conversation we had to “sit down for.” They told us that sometimes in life, we’d be met with situations and things that just were not going to be fair.
It had nothing to do with how smart we were, or how kind, or how involved we were, or even that we were at the top of our class because all of that wouldn’t matter.
Because sometimes the only thing people would allow themselves to see would be the color of our skin – and in those moments, without any type of exchange, a judgment or rather decision would be made about us.
They told us, “that’s just how it is.” And encouraged us to keep being the best version of ourselves, always. But I’m stubborn, and I’ve always refused to accept that – still do. After so many pass ups of well-deserved promotions, being excluded from meetings, silenced, and called upon to only participate in the diversity conversations, I did one thing.
I stopped holding my tongue because I couldn’t do it anymore. I was tired. I mustered up an immense amount of courage, and I wrote down first how I felt. And later had many courageous conversations. But know I didn’t do it for them, or really even for myself.
I did it because I don’t want to have the same conversation with my children that my family had to have with me. I want their greatest fear to be how nervous they are to deliver a presentation they’ve worked so hard on, or perhaps those stomach jitters they get when they start their very first business.
So my best insight here is to stop curbing your tongue and speak your truth. Step into your greatness and own it. You deserve every bit. And know that I’ve saved you a seat at the entrepreneur’s table.
A Kentucky native and now Nashville transplant, Aja Price, Founder of Notably Gray and Notably, Her received her high school diploma from Paul Laurence Dunbar and Bachelor’s degree from Transylvania University, majoring in Business Administration and Hospitality Management.
Aja recently launched, Notably, Her, an entrepreneurial community that fosters mutual learning between women entrepreneurs and girls grades 10-12 interested in becoming entrepreneurs. With this work, Aja was featured in the Nashville Business Journal as a young professional on the rise in paving the way for future generations of women entrepreneurs.
Aja believes if a girl can see it, she can be it. Notably, Her reframes what an entrepreneur looks like and provides a roadmap to young girls for entrepreneurial success. She also believes that it was the women who helped get her here, that has made all the difference.