First Of Its Kind Program To Serve 40 Women Of Color,
Aims To Close Leadership Gap Across Industries
Cynthia Pong, JD, is building a future in which women of color are treated equitably in the workplace. In 2016, Pong, a public defender turned award-winning career strategist, author, and speaker, founded Embrace Change to help women of color professionals get the money, power and respect they deserve. Doubling down on her company’s mission, she’s now set to launch the Embrace Change Leadership Accelerator after raising nearly $50,000 in crowdfunded capital, exceeding the 30-day campaign’s original goal by 34%. 40 women of color leaders will participate in the inaugural roll-out of this first of its kind leadership training program.
Pong, an Asian American, has coached hundreds of BIWOC professionals on leadership, negotiation, and small business development through Embrace Change over the last five years, helping her clients confidently advocate for themselves and drive their careers forward. She reaches hundreds of thousands more women through her social media. Her track record speaks for itself. “Our clients negotiate 67% raises, and get the jobs and promotions they never even dreamed of.”
Pong’s work changes lives because the workplace leadership landscape for women of color is glaringly limited across all sectors. In her words, “Women of color are the most overlooked demographic when it comes to top leadership positions. We make up 20% of the United States population, but only 1% of us are Fortune 500 CEOs.” She adds, “We’re over two-thirds of the workers at the individual contributor level, yet for some of us only 0% – 2% of the executive leadership positions.”
The Embrace Change Leadership Accelerator is a game-changer designed to dismantle systemic inequity. Its debut gives 40 industry professionals, including thought leaders and emerging leaders, their own road map to the next level of impact. “No matter what way you slice it, the working world isn’t set up for us. Our jobs don’t come with a road map and a support system to help us navigate our way to the top,” Pong shared. “We are making sure that women of color get the blueprint to leadership that we don’t get handed down to us from our fathers and uncles. We deserve to be in those positions and, frankly, I believe that if women of color were already there, we wouldn’t be in the global clusterf*ck that we’re in right now.”
The robust backing Pong received from individuals willing to put their own dollars behind the Leadership Accelerator is a clear indicator of interest and need.
The program begins mid-September 2021 with an inaugural cohort of 10 women of color, followed by 3 more cohorts in 2022. Each, spanning 12 weeks, is geared toward a different population of leaders: emerging trailblazers and established leaders, social justice activists and social impact entrepreneurs. The high-impact, results-driven curriculum includes mapping out a clear vision for their leadership goals and a strategy to get them there, actionable tools and tactics to negotiate with confidence, and community accountability from other women of color leaders.
In addition to supporting the Leadership Accelerator, funds raised through Pong’s crowdfunding campaign will be used to help launch women-of-color-owned businesses; put copies of Pong’s book, Don’t Stay in Your Lane: The Career Change Guide for Women of Color, directly into the hands of women of color; provide 1:1 coaching services on negotiation, resume writing, small business startup, and effective goal setting; and build more equitable workspaces within organizations.
What Else You Should Know About Cynthia Pong
As the founder of Embrace Change, Cynthia Pong advances the careers of women of color through strategic career coaching, tailored workshops and courses, a book on career change, and career advice shared on social media, in free resources, and in action-oriented talks.
Cynthia regularly partners with organizations to support their BIWOC/BIPOC employees and members to career success – through workshops, panels, and small group and executive coaching programs. A sought-after speaker, she has delivered keynotes throughout the US and internationally – in-person and virtually. Her clients include LinkedIn, MIT Sloan School of Business, PayPal, The City College of New York, General Assembly. Cynthia’s career advice has been featured in HuffPost, CNBC, Fast Company, Refinery29, NPR, and more. She is a LinkedIn Top Voice for Job Search and Career.
Cynthia’s book, Don’t Stay in Your Lane: The Career Change Guide for Women of Color, coaches readers through the process of intentionally shaping and transforming their careers.