Minority women's perspectives on career advancement in upper management positions in the nonprofit sector

by Lowery, Jessica, Ph.D., CAPELLA UNIVERSITY, 2012, 139 pages; 3518072


This qualitative interview study was an examination, through their life stories, of the opportunities afforded to successful, female minority executive leaders in the nonprofit sector. Qualitative data were collected and analyzed via extensive individual face-to-face interviews with 20 minority, female executive leaders in nonprofit agencies in North Carolina. The purpose of the study was to gather a better understanding of life experiences of minority women in upper management positions, so the door may open more easily for minority women who aspire to an upper management position during their career. The findings of the study included identification of 10 themes describing the major factors that contributed to the ability of the participants to attain their leadership positions. While the career paths of the participants varied, the common factors included barriers, education, mentors, family, networking, experience, professional development, high profile assignments, opportunities, and strategy. Two new areas of opportunity not identified in previous research were volunteering as a board member in a desirable nonprofit organization and targeting a nonprofit rather than a for-profit organization to facilitate career advancement. Recommendations suggested nonprofit agencies could provide additional opportunities for female minority employees in the areas identified by the themes.

AdviserShari Rone-Adams
Source TypeDissertation
SubjectsWomen's studies; Management
Publication Number3518072

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