In this two-part series, PhillyVoice explores the journey of two women holding leadership positions at major companies and within their churches as women of the pulpit.
The glass ceiling isn’t limited to corporate America; in fact, the first time I came to understand its power was in church. When my mother answered her calling to become a minister at our then-Baptist church, she hit the stained glass ceiling … hard. Thankfully, given her experience in corporate America, she was no stranger to the concept, so this didn’t stop her.
The truth is women have and continue to deliver blows to the glass ceiling, stained or not while standing firmly on the shoulders of those who have the audacity to believe there’s room (and opportunity) for all of us beyond it. And it’s in the stories of those women who hit the ceiling simultaneously from both sides that we find some of the most interesting of journeys.
Consider Monique Pressley, the lawyer of Bill Cosby, who has taken the court of law and public opinion by storm. Your opinions about him aside, imagine a month in her world as both a lawyer and an ordained minister.
If you ask two influential women in Philadelphia, those realms are not mutually exclusive.
Reverend Doctor Lorina Marshall-Blake is the President of Independence Blue Cross Foundation, a $65 million entity, and an associate minister at Vine Memorial Baptist Church. The West Philadelphia native was born prematurely into poverty, taught Sunday School by age 14, and went on to graduate from an Ivy League school.
Michele Lawrence is the Area President of Philadelphia Community Bank for Wells Fargo, a multi-billion-dollar business with 500 employees, and Minister under Pastor Kevin R. Johnson at Dare to Imagine Church. Ever ahead of the game, the Newark, New Jersey native was walking by 9 months, talking in full sentences by 15 months, and managing women old enough to be her mother by 23 years-old.
And here we have two women currently
Click here to learn how these two women of power are serving in the boardrooms of male-dominated industries (healthcare and banking), and the pulpit under the tutelage of male senior pastors.
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