Author and journalist A'Lelia Bundles is at work on her fourth book, The Joy Goddess of Harlem: A'Lelia Walker and the Harlem Renaissance, a biography of her great-grandmother, whose parties, friendships, international travels and arts patronage helped define the era. On Her Own Ground: The Life and Times of Madam C.J. Walker -- her biography of her great-great-grandmother -- was named a New York Times Notable Book.
A'Lelia was a network television news executive and producer for 30 years at NBC News and then at ABC News, where she was Washington, DC deputy bureau chief. She currently is chairman of the board of the National Archives Foundation, a Columbia University trustee and on the advisory boards of the March on Washington Film Festival and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study's Schlesinger Library at Harvard.
As president of the Madam Walker/A'Lelia Walker Family Archives, she shares the history of her famous ancestors through speeches, publications, documents, photographs and several public initiatives.
A'Lelia is an engaging public speaker who mixes her love of history and interest in current events. She has delivered keynote addresses and served as master of ceremonies at dozens of events, book festivals and conferences including at Harvard University, London City Hall, the National Archives and on all the major television and radio networks including ABC, NBC, CBS, BBC, PBS and NPR.
I first met A'Lelia at the Indiana Governor's Conference for Women, and was blown away by her spirit of generosity.
In today's Jam Session, A'Lelia and I jammed on the importance of giving back and paying it forward, the confidence gap and how women can change their approach to help overcome it. We riff on the progress women have made, the work that's left to do and ways we might do that. We talk about the need to do more than 'lean in,' but also address systemic issues. We dig into the state of journalism, media and the impact social media can have on a career. We touch on recent events surrounding social justice and talk about the importance of empathy, and the need to examine why we believe what we believe.
We even mention Prince Charles and Supreme Court Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor, both of whom A'Lelia had happened to meet the day before.
A'Lelia has had an extraordinary life, and shares an immense amount of wisdom and insight.
If two soul sisters took a break during a jam session to catch up over coffee to talk about entrepreneurship and meaningful work, this is what it'd sound like. Chill out, hang out and join us for a while.
Jam Sessions is an interview series hosted by Deb Owen, founder of Percorso, at debjowen.com intended to enlighten, empower, and equip you in your life and business. Interviews cover a range of topics from entrepreneurship, leadership, women's empowerment and conscious capitalism, to inspiring individuals who've overcome amazing obstacles in their lives.
CORRECTION: A previous version of the post incorrectly spelled A'Lelia's first name.
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