Earning Power Moves - The Earn Phase - Karen Boykin-Towns

Point of View
2 min readDec 5, 2022

A Feature in Deepa Purushothaman’s ‘The First, The Few, the Only: How Women of Color Can Redefine Power in Corporate America’

Karen Boykin - Towns - Earning Power Moves

Over the last few decades, corporate America has seen a visible rise in the power and voice of Black women. However, this rise is still accompanied by the old burdens of racism and inequality. We are one of the fastest-growing segments of the corporate workforce, and yet are still underrepresented, often underpaid, and many times impacted by bias and/or prejudice. To highlight the struggles women of color in corporate America have faced, Deepa Purushothaman met with women across industries and ethnic backgrounds to capture their experiences. I am honored to have been a part of this powerful book in sharing some stories about my time in corporate America as a Black woman and how I made it. The book titled The First, The Few, The Only, allows us to have our stories heard and to make an impact on those who will come next.

Here is an excerpt from ‘Earning Power Moves — The Earn Phase’, part of chapter 8 ‘How To Play The Game While You Change The Game’, highlighting some of my experiences:

“Karen shared another career-defining story from the Earn phase of her career. At the time, she was a senior director and was considered for a promotion. For two years, her reviews were good, and she was on a visible project, but she wasn’t moving to the next level. She remembers getting a call from a C-suite executive just to check-in. He asked if there was anything she needed. She said she was “fine.” She remembers going home and telling her husband what happened, and he told her if she wasn’t clearer that she deserved to be promoted, she would get lost in the fray. “They will stop asking you what you want if you don’t ask for more,” he said. We need to know what we want when we are asked because we don’t get asked often; and we need to be willing to ask for more.

After encouragement from her husband, Karen went back to the executive who called her. She asked for more direct feedback on her career and made a case for why she deserved to be a VP. She got both the feedback and promotion.”

Are you clear what you want your next step to be? If not, what do you need to get there so 2023 will be your year?

Read about my experience in the ‘Learn Phase’ here.



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