The first Black woman to ever rise to the rank of president in Aflac U.S.’s 61-year history, is using her platform to give back to young women of color from underserved communities, reports the Washington Post.
Teresa White, 50, is using her experience as a Black female corporate executive to show Black teenaged girls that success is attainable, the news outlet writes. White joined the Georgia-based Aflac team nearly two decades ago and gained recognition within the company for her ability to code. Seventeen years later, she was named president of the company, becoming the first woman and Black person to do so. Her role is primarily centered on overseeing product innovation and distribution expansion. She supervises 3,500 Aflac employees.
Although White has seen success in the corporate world, she has dealt with many hardships in her life. She comes from a single parent home and grew up in a drug and crime-ridden Dallas housing project. According to the Washington Post, the same year that White became president she began her mission to give back to underprivileged girls who had similar upbringings.
In 2015, she launched Bold Moves, a Columbus-based summer program for Black girls that’s a collaborative effort between White, Aflac, and Girls Inc.
“I want to be a lighthouse,” White told the Associated Press. “This is an opportunity to show a different picture of what success looks like.”
During the eight-week program, participants interact with successful businesswomen through professional development courses that cover everything from entrepreneurship to resume writing.
The mentorship program has proven to be impactful. “One thing I love about Mrs. Teresa is that she looks like me,” program participant Seychelle Hercules said in an interview with the AP. “She gives me hope. I can soar to greater heights. She’s a pioneer in so many ways.”