Shahara Wright is the award-winning author of From Entrepreneur to CEO and creator of the CEO Collaboration Circle, Single Mom CEO, and Contracts Done Wright. As a business law attorney and small business trainer, her strategies and proven methodologies have transformed the way small business owners, entrepreneurs, and CEOs reduce legal liabilities and increase their bottom line.
Shahara founded The Wright Firm, PLLC over 20 years ago when she couldn’t find a law firm that matched her schedule as a single mom. From a young age, she knew it was possible for entrepreneurs, especially single moms, to build a successful business their way.
We chatted to Shahra about the future of Black entrepreneurs, the challenges Black women face in business and in life, and the importance of women supporting women.
“I just kept pushing because that is all that I knew how to do. Black women have always been resourceful, and survivors, I think this is just a natural progression of our journey.”
Tell us about yourself and your background. How did you get to where you are today?
I am a business law attorney and business strategist. I am a single mom of two boys (24 & 13). I have been practicing law for 23 years, and have owned and operated my law firm for 22 years. I think the “how” is too long to tell, but generally, I just kept pushing because that is all that I knew how to do.
It is officially Black History Month. What does Black History Month mean to you?
Black History month is just a time to reflect on the role Black Americans have played in the United States. For me, it is a highlight, but I celebrate Black History every day. It is a part of my life, I don’t only concern myself with Black History during February.
We’re talking Black History, Black Future this month. Where do you see the Black narrative going in the next few months/years?
I hope, the narrative is that we are more than a stereotype. For too many years, stories have been told about our culture and lives through a white patriarchal lens. With the internet and social media, we are able to tell our own stories that are not steeped in racial oppression.
What challenges do Black Women entrepreneurs face in business and life, and how do we overcome these challenges?
As Black women, we have a double minority status, and as I stated previously, deep-rooted stereotypes that are unjust and false. Every day, we have to face a world that holds these beliefs about us and “prove them wrong” every step of the way. I think overcoming these challenges requires effort to recognize that the “view” that you hold about someone is because you were told a story that wasn’t true. Increase your circle, increase your understanding, and increase your willingness to connect with someone who doesn’t look and act like you.
You work with small businesses every day. Tell us about the increase of Black women entrepreneurs.
I think the number one reason there is such an increase in Back women entrepreneurs is because of the constant racism, sexism, and microaggression that is dealt with in the workplace. I am a business owner because I could not find a job anywhere (I applied for hundreds of jobs and constantly got rejected). I had to start my own firm. I have spoken to many other Black women who have felt that they were not valued and appreciated, so they left and started their own businesses. Black women have always been resourceful and survivors, I think this is just a natural progression of our journey.
What do you think the future looks like for Black entrepreneurs?
I think the future outlook for Back entrepreneurs is great. I believe that we are already doing great things, it is just not showcased often. While more funding and access to capital are needed, I believe that we can and will continue to thrive. The removal of the barriers to starting a business has made a big difference. I believe that you will see Black entrepreneurs expect into varying segments of business and open up doors for other people of color.
Why is it important for Black entrepreneurs, and Black women entrepreneurs specifically, to work together and support each other? How do we light the way for more love, unity, prosperity, and success?
We already do. I think the belief that we have not been supportive of each other is a myth. We are not monolithic and we do not have to all get along or think alike. We can have competition and disagree. To say otherwise is just again another racial construct that has been placed on our culture without context.
Tell us about ‘From Entrepreneur to CEO’ . This is such a great resource for entrepreneurs! Why did you write this?
As a business law attorney, I have seen many things with small business owners. When business owners came to my office with legal issues, I found that those problems mostly resulted from management and back-office issues. I thought that, if owners paid more attention to how their business is run internally, it would make a big difference in their ability to survive. I wanted to show how important operational strategy is, even in a small business.