Established businesspeople, aspiring entrepreneurs and community members recently gathered downtown to support an exciting new venture. Sponsored by the Greater Milwaukee Urban League, community leader Jannette Braverman recently launched her Leaders LeadUp platform. The founder and CEO created the online social community and learning platform to provide guidance and empowerment for women of color in the workplace.
The platform is a branch of her company Leaders Leaving Legacies, LLC. While she provides professional coaching, leadership development and business launch services to business executives and entrepreneurs for the llc, Leaders LeadUp focuses on creating a professional community and resource hub for women of color.
It provides training and courses for both entrepreneurs and for employers who want to advocate for women of color and underrepresented groups. Offering both live and online courses, they cover an array of topics, including “Code Switching: How it Works and Why We Do It”, “Business Planning: Developing Your Business Forecast,” and “Stereotypes and Implicit Bias: What They Are and How They are Harming Your Organization.”
In addition to courses, the platform provides access to coaches, instructors, meetups, groups and forums, where members can engage with both fellow members and instructors in a safe space. Instructors include successful businesswomen of color, such as Dr. Eve M. Hall, President and CEO of the Greater Milwaukee Urban League, Dr. Amber Tucker, Assistant Professor and Sociology Chair at Cardinal Stritch University, and Dr. Deborah N Allen, CEO of DNA Network LLC.
Users can choose from tiered monthly or annual membership plans. It also offers discounted rates for college students and returning students or adults pursuing their GED.
The platform certainly was not created overnight.
“Leaders Lead Up was something that I birthed in my spirit probably over 13 years ago,” Braverman said. Founding Leaders Leaving Legacies in 2011, she said, “I knew that one day, I would bring women from all walks of life together to just pour into each other, sharpen each other.”
Braverman has been in the tech industry for over 25 years. She started as a programmer at age 16, and went on to receive her Bachelors in Computer Information and her Master’s in Management at Cardinal Stritch. Initially working for companies such as Harley Davidson, she shared how she was in a white, male dominated industry.
“I found myself being a hidden figure. I felt invisible,” she said. “I didn’t get to sit at the table with other leaders. They were making decisions all around me and about me. But I wasn’t at the table.”
Due to these frustrations, she decided to venture out on her own.
“I said, well I’m giving you all my intellectual capital. I’m giving you all my ideas, and you’re taking credit for it. So why not do that for myself,” she said. This is when she started Leaders Leaving Legacies, LLC.
Years later, with her plans for the new platform initially interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, she decided to shift things and create an online platform where women of color can connect.
Dr. Hall was excited to team up with Braverman for the launch, having already known her and her efforts through Leaders Leaving Legacies.
Of the new platform, she said, “I knew this was very important, and it aligned with the mission of our organization, and with my personal values.” Hall hopes the platform can provide a sense of community, saying, “the end goal is where women don’t feel alone, especially women who are in leadership, which oftentimes can be lonely. And [Leaders LeadUp] becomes that reservoir, that well for them to go to, especially as women of color, because oftentimes, we are challenged in different ways than majority women. And we need to be able to have that safe space, but also a space where you get valuable, effective information from those who have been through the journey or are going through the journey, learning how to navigate, learning effective steps, both personally and professionally.”
Braverman shared similar sentiments, citing the hope that women will connect with other women they may not have met if it were not for the launch event and platform, such as CEOs, leaders across corporations and millionaire entrepreneurs.
“I want them to realize that this platform is something they can use to amplify themselves, their businesses and to grow as a leader, grow in their careers. That’s what the platform is all about.”