Supporting equitable leadership: Courtney Ewell on Women of Color in Business

Women of Color in Business Logo

Women of Color in Business is a student organization that serves the vital purpose of increasing business and networking opportunities for women of color. We spoke with Courtney Ewell, president of Women of Color in Business, about the founding of the organization and its goals and future as PSU prepares for a return to campus this Fall. 

What is the history of Women of Color in Business?

Women of Color in Business was developed in a graduate business class taught by Brian McCarthy. The class was focused on leadership qualities and emotional intelligence. One of our assignments was to talk about our leadership aspirations and gifts. Some of us met later and talked about our personal and work experiences as women of color or women in the LGBTQIA+ community. We felt a sense of community and wanted to come together on a larger scale.

In our first year, we had speakers come and speak about entrepreneurship, diversity and inclusion in the workplace, and trans wellness in the workplace. We plan to have another amazing line up this year!

Our executive team consists of myself, Karen De La Torre, Rowena Paz Norman, Fran Ritchie and Michelle Udem.

What is your goal as a leader of the group? 

My goal as president is to listen to our community of marginalized students and allies and find ways to expand their knowledge about what equity looks like in the classroom and at work. I have worked with some unequitable organizations and leaders in the past, and so I know how important it is that people have room to be curious about and invested in supporting identities that are different from their own. This is not a topic that we discuss at great length in class, and I want to find ways that everyone can grow as an equitable leader for their teams.

What are some of the events and opportunities that members can look forward to?

We are looking for a director of marketing and a marketing associate to help advertise our events to more undergrad students. The student can be studying anything and can be an undergrad or graduate student. We also welcome any student that would be interested in being an executive to reach out so we can see if we can find a role for you.

We will be hosting eight events over the next year including executives from Toyota speaking about leadership and small business owners discussing the first steps to start a small business. We are also hoping to do some collaborative events with other student groups on campus in hopes to invite more roundtable discussions. We are still working through the details for our October event, but we would love to see you there.

How can students get involved in your organization?

Please email to ask questions or to apply for a position with our group. You can also connect with us on LinkedIn, Portland State Connect, or using this calendar.

Comments are closed.

Blog at

Up ↑