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Nine Black women, nine different careers, and nine stories with striking similarities, of career struggle, self-doubt, mental and physical health issues, and general unhappiness caused by varying forms of work-related stress; nine stories of fortitude and resilience that eventually morph into nine stories of rejuvenation. These women form the inaugural part of a multi-layered interactive media project titled BlackFemaleProject—a project attempting to peel back the skin of the often unseen effects of racism and sexism, not only in the workplace, but also in terms of how these issues elbow their way into other areas of Black women’s daily lives.

In CheckmateVanessa Siverls writes letters of encouragement, wisdom, and strength to her younger self throughout the turning points in her life as a teenager, a young professional, and a seasoned entrepreneur.

All of the women who share their stories in our inaugural collection have found themselves in a battle for sanity, cultural autonomy, or simply professional courtesy. These women have also found their own strategies of success; some are still developing these methods and share their experience with us in real time. Let’s join them now.


Vanessa Siverls

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Who are you and where do you live?
My name is Vanessa Siverls and I currently live in my hometown of Brooklyn, New York.

What’s your career focus?
I am the FoundHer and CEO of BUPeriod P.B.C., a lifestyle brand for women to be empowered by their periods.

What’s something positive that came out of writing your story?
I realized, through writing my story, how much my experience in corporate America shaped my mental and physical health.

Three words of advice for your 18-year-old self?
YLove, learn, and build.