Her Story: Angie Hancock

Angie Hancock is the President & Founder of the marketing solutions and small business development agency Experience Harlem. The Harlem maven with a heavy resume in the corporate, marketing, and entrepreneurial industries puts on for her community through all of her work. For Women’s History Month, we sat down with Angie to chat a bit about her journey. Here is HerStory. 

Who are the women in your life who you would call your sheros, and what kind of lessons that you've learned from them? 

So my parents split when I was at a very young age, so I grew up in my grandparents home. My early sheros were my grandmothers; both my mom's mom Ernestine, and my father's mom Dorothy, and I would add my aunts, and my teachers. Being a Chicago girl like, I really, truly mean it when I say Oprah is one of my sheros. I feel like Oprah is my guru. 

I would also add to that list Susan Taylor and and Maya Angelou; women who were just beautiful with their words and spiritual. There was just so many lessons as a young woman that I learned from from reading their work.

In your life, what are the moments in which you had to fight for your agency? And how did you face those challenges?

My career started off at Ernst & Young in public accounting then Sara Lee Corporation in the audit department. I was always in rooms where not only was I the only Black person, but I was just the only Black woman in the room. 

I was working on an audit for a client in South Africa in the mid ‘90s, just after apartheid. I was the manager on the job, with two younger white male auditors, who reported to me. When we were given a tour of the plant at the time, whenever we were introduced people would always reach to shake their hand first. I mentioned this to the CEO of the company that we were auditing, and he goes, "Well, how do you know that's not because you're because you're a woman?"  

Growing up, I feel I came of age at a time when women were being told that you can do anything. I believed that, and I hadn't even realized that this was fairly new, that women were just starting to enter places and spaces where they had not been previously aIlowed.

What are some of the challenges that you would like to see changed for the young women who are following in your footsteps?

The biggest place where I would like to see change is in pay equality, as well as making adjustments in the workspace so that women can succeed. When you take COVID, for example, there were more women who had to leave the workplace to help with homeschooling, and to take care of the kids than men because the workplace is automatically set up to be conducive to men succeeding. At the same time, a lot of men have support at home. People don't even think about these different support mechanisms that need to be in place to accommodate women in the workforce.

What would you like to see changed for young women thinking about that? What would you say to your younger self?

To my 16 year old self, I would say, “Have fun enjoy life, your job is to be a student." To my 27 year old self,  I would say "start refining your vision for your life." By the time you're 27, you have lived. I would also advise young women that if you want to have a family, and that's part of your vision for your life, get started. Even though we are living longer, biology is still biology and time is not on our side. My advice to my 35 year old self is balance. Making sure you have balance between all of the people who are making demands on you, and doing the things that you need to do to maintain your spirit.

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