In this episode of Women in Retail Talks, Women in Retail Leadership Circle Digital Content Director Kristina Stidham interviews LaToya Williams-Belfort, executive director of the 15 Percent Pledge, a nonprofit advocacy group created with the goal of advocating for and supporting Black-owned businesses and Black entrepreneurs.

Listen in as Williams-Belfort discusses the 15 Percent Pledge’s mission (0:54), some of the companies currently pledged (3:00), and how her career experience working in diversity, equity and inclusion brought her to join the organization (4:35). She shares how both big and small retailers can start making changes that advance Black prosperity (7:50), such as taking the Pledge, and why it’s important that leaders make a commitment to taking action around these issues, both internally as well as externally (9:47).

In addition, Williams-Belfort explains why she believes equity is simply good business (11:36), how individuals can make an impact by taking The Pledge’s Consumer Commitment (13:40), and how the 15 Percent Pledge is cultivating a community of Black entrepreneurs, creating a pipeline to larger opportunities (16:55). Lastly, she shares her goals for 2021 as executive director of the 15 Percent Pledge (19:03).

As an expert in DEI initiatives with over 18 years of professional experience, LaToya Williams-Belfort joins the 15 Percent Pledge to lead fundraising and operations efforts for the Pledge’s staff, programs, expansion, and execution of its mission. Prior to this role, Williams-Belfort brings a career of senior executive experience, most recently serving as the chief development and communications officer for Partnership with Children for approximately three years. She has also led fundraising and communications initiatives at The Jericho Project and served as vice president of fundraising and operations for Children of Promise, NYC, as well as director of special events and fundraising at the United Way of New York City.

Preceding the decision to devote her career to the human service sector, Williams-Belfort oversaw global marketing and large-scale event production within the publishing and corporate event industries, including for multimedia trendsetter Black Enterprise. She holds a Bachelors of Arts degree in Media and Communications from the State University of New York at Old Westbury, and is a proud native New Yorker, wife and mom of two beautiful sons, Dell and Logan.

Date: February 2, 2021

Credits: LaToya Williams-Belfort

Duration: 23:22