How Advocacy Empowers Women and Uplifts Communities

Kim Allman draws from her passion for financial well-being and racial equity to advocate for herself and others

Resilience, advocacy, and excellence – three values that reigned true as panelists at the Black Girl Magic Summit shared what advocacy means to them. At Capital One, we are committed to supporting the financial growth and success of all women of color – including corporate professionals, entrepreneurs, working mothers, and community leaders. 

We sat down with Kim Allman, Financial Well-Being and Racial Equity Lead and Senior Director of Community Impact and Investment at Capital One, to highlight the invaluable insight she provided during the “Black Girl Magic is…Advocacy” discussion. Our goal was to uncover how advocacy can improve outcomes for women of color and the community writ large. 

Advancing Racial Equity Through [Nontraditional] Education 

Capital One’s financial well-being and racial equity work focuses on how to implement strategies that improve lives and restructure systems to ultimately put people in better situations. Through a newly-formed partnership with Braven, a nonprofit organization dedicated to closing the education-to-employment gap in higher education, Capital One is helping to bring social capital, networking, and leadership to students who need it the most. The Braven curriculum emphasizes resilience in the workplace, encouraging students to build their personal and professional network not only to promote themselves, but also to help promote others. 

“People often forget about what they call, the soft skills,” said Allman, “and how important that is with respect to helping people succeed and move forward in their paths in life.” 

Throughout her professional career, Allman leveraged soft skills such as good communication, self-awareness, and emotional intelligence to pursue her passion for personal finance. Reflecting on moments of self-advocacy, she encourages women to be intentional about developing intangible qualities that will help them grow in their current job or prepare for the next one. 

“It’s important to raise your hand. Express that you want to take on more of a leadership position or if you want to lead a particular project,” said Allman. “Know what you want and don’t be afraid to speak up about it.” 

During the panel discussion, Braven Executive Director Che Watkins noted that women of color are often taught to “put their head down, do a good job, and your work will be noticed,” but that’s not enough in today’s society. Both Watkins and Allman challenged women to strengthen the core soft skills that will empower them to advocate for themselves and others. 

Connecting Self-Advocacy to Community Advocacy

“A huge part of self-advocacy is understanding what you want and what you’re looking for,” said Allman. “But we have to approach advocacy, in general, with the understanding that it may take some time and work.”

Allman has been an integral part of the Capital One Impact Initiative, a $200 million, multi-year commitment to support growth in underserved communities and advance socioeconomic mobility by closing gaps in equity and opportunity. Self-advocacy helped Allman land her role at Capital One, but sustainable community advocacy is the fire that lights her work. 

“Capital One prioritizes investing in organizations that advocate for and support underserved communities by closing the gaps and providing opportunities,” said Allman. “Our goal is to build lasting tools and programs that empower people to take action and to improve the financial well-being of our customers and communities.”   

The partnership with Braven and Spelman College is one of the many ways that Capital One is working to close gaps in equity and opportunity, while uplifting women of color. Under this community advocacy umbrella, Spelmanites like Kaitlyn Carter, a Black Girl Magic panelist, are able to take advantage of skill building and career development training that is needed to thrive in today’s job market. 

“Braven taught me how to use my voice and how to advocate for myself, especially when it comes to internships and next steps outside of college,” said Carter.  

Allman hopes to continue to pay it forward, and propel Capital One’s racial equity work, by continuing to advocate for others. 

“Put your name out there so you can do great things and bring others along with you,” said Allman. “Advocacy isn’t necessarily easy but it’s worth it.”

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