Why Salary Transparency Matters To Black Women in Finance

A financial educator explains why Black women must be open about their salary.

Dasha Kennedy, the founder of The Broke Black Girl, is an entrepreneur, financial coach, and total boss babe. After experiencing financial hardship in her past, she began sharing tips for financial success online with women of color.

With years of financial experience under her belt, she’s led countless women through discussions around different financial well-being aspects. sat down with Kennedy to talk about salary, her journey through entrepreneurship, being a Black woman in the financial sector, prioritizing wellness, and the importance of salary transparency among Black women. What is your job title, and how did you come to hold your position?

Kennedy: My name is Dasha Kennedy, a financial educator and financial activist. I've worked in the finance industry for 15 years, starting as a mailroom clerk in the accounting department at the age of 19. I've received over a decade of professional education and experience in personal finance and debt management. After quickly climbing the ranks in finance, I left Corporate America to launch my own initiative to provide financial literacy to low-income Black women. What inspired you to enter the field of finance?

Kennedy: After experiencing a series of personal finance hardships and seeking education from the very institutions that I spent the last decade working within, I realized that much of the advice and language finance was not inclusive of women, primarily Black women. Nor did it factor in the widely present systemic barriers that impact an individual like me. I created a  digital community to provide culturally relevant and competent financial education to bridge the gap between equity and financial education. What is your annual salary or range of your salary?

Kennedy: As of 2021, my salary is $202,000. How do you make sure you are prioritizing salary transparency as an entrepreneur, especially with clients?

Kennedy: I prioritize salary transparency by being open and honest about my pay with other black women that work in the finance industry along with me as a way to encourage more black women to enter this field. Black women are not heavily represented in finance and the more black women that enter into well-paying fields in finance, there will be more Black women to assist Black consumers in need of financial services and products. What does salary transparency mean to you, and do you feel Black women must share and be aware of salaries for different jobs/fields?

Kennedy: Salary transparency is key to pay equity. Yes, it is important for Black women to share and be aware of salaries within different fields and jobs to ensure we are being paid fairly. Pay inequities within the office are real and the more employers ignore addressing this the more employee morale is going to decrease. It's important for me to share financial information with Black women because I want them to know what is available and what to ask for. What is it like navigating your field as a Black woman? How have you combated racial discrimination and/or wage discrimination at your current job or a previous one? ‘

Kennedy: The finance industry is not known for its diversity and inclusion.  I've had to accept that there are times when I may be alone, not represented, or have my perspective challenged in this industry simply because of my race and gender.  Navigating this field as not only a woman but also a black person, I am consistently met with intersectional discrimination, even as an entrepreneur. I've heavily relied on the guidance of black women in leadership positions within finance as mentors and standing firm in my advocacy for black women to push against those same barriers. Where do you live and how do you go about budgeting for your city/town?

Kennedy: I was born and raised in St Louis, MO. I currently live in Atlanta, GA. I moved to Atlanta in June 2021 and there was a spike in my monthly expenses that took me a while to get accustomed with. However, I practice zero-based budgeting, which means I give every single dollar I earn a job to do (save, invest, pay off debt, cover household expenses, etc) so that my money is never sitting idle or readily available for me to frivolously spend. New York City requires every job to post the minimum and maximum salary range for their positions; do you think every state could use this law, or do you think there are any downsides to salary transparency?

Kennedy: Salary transparency should be something employers want to do, regardless of the law, because of the positive, tested, and proven outcome their company is bound to experience. However, yes, I believe every state could use this law. Being open and honest about pay is what drives long-term trust and retention with employees. I've lost count of how many times my employers advised me not to discuss pay with colleagues when unfair pay is one of the leading reasons people quit jobs. This is a conversation every employer should want to be a part of.  Employers should be prepared to have tough and transparent conversations with their employees about salaries and how decisions are made pertaining to who gets paid what and why. Working as a Black woman can be highly stressful. Do you have any advice on how women can take time for wellness and self-care?

Kennedy: Prioritizing wellness and self-care is necessary to avoid burn-out but I think it's equally important to analyze what exactly is happening in our lives that we need to "recover from" or what is the reason for self-care? For example, a facial after a long day will not cure an unorganized schedule, if that is what's causing you stress. Self-care and wellness should be used to cure the problem, not treat the symptoms.

Mena Darre Photography
Dasha Kennedy headshot

Disclaimer: Responses were edited for purposes of clarity.

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