Date of Award

Spring 5-18-2024

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Organizational Leadership

First Advisor

Carlos V. Guzman

Second Advisor

Eric Rabitoy

Third Advisor

George Sziraki


Purpose: The number of women of color in leadership continues to be significantly lower than the number of men. The lack of opportunity combined with the lack of support results in less women of color in leadership. The purpose of this phenomenological study was to explore the lived experiences of women of color in their roles as leaders in corporate environments with respect to the support (personal supports, organizational supports, cultural supports, and stereotypical supports) received. Specifically, the research examined the stories of female leaders of color to understand how their experiences have supported or hindered their growth in leadership.

Methodology: For this study, a qualitative design was used to conduct research. Particularly, the researcher chose to do individual semi-structured virtual interviews with the participants to gather data.

Findings: The findings of this research on the experiences of women of color in leadership show that women of color in leadership positions face many challenges including microaggressions, imposter syndrome, and having to work twice as hard to prove themselves. The study also found that supports such as mentoring, representation, and safe spaces create a positive environment and increase the likelihood of promotion within an organization.

Conclusion: The findings and literature support that women of color who are in leadership and attempting to move into leadership benefit from supports such as mentoring, coaching, and networking. By providing supports, women of color have a better chance of not only advancing into leadership roles but remaining in these positions longer.

Recommendations: The researcher recommends a myriad of supports for organizations attempting to recruit and retain women of color in leadership. These include, equity committees and equity training for all staff on the topics of bias and microaggressions. Additionally, interviews with Human Resources and former staff would help understand some of the issues within the organization and how they can be addressed.