Date of Conferral







Daniel Zimmerman


The leadership pathway for Black women has unique challenges and obstacles due to the double jeopardy of their race and gender. The lack of critical empirical work on the leadership development of Black women has left a gap in the understanding of how racial and gendered identities influence their development as successful leaders. This research was conducted to examine how Black women developed as leaders and how they made meaning of their leadership development experiences. A qualitative transcendental phenomenological study was conducted framed by concepts of intersectionality and gendered racism to produce a comprehensive description of the phenomenon of the leadership development experiences of Black women. Purposeful sampling was employed to collect personal narratives from 15 Black women leaders via semistructured interviews. Moustakas modified Van Kaam analysis was applied to uncover descriptive themes and to attain the essence and meaning of the participants’ lived experiences. Sixteen themes emerged describing challenges and success factors extracted from the interview data through descriptive coding, member checking, and reflective journal notes. The results from this study may provide a framework for Black women aspiring to advance into leadership and may assist corporate and organizational leaders in spotting talent and promoting leadership development opportunities that increase the prospect of career advancement for this population of women. The study also provides a conceptual approach to guide the thinking and practice that brings about a profound and meaningful social change toward equity for Black women in leadership