Author - Lecturer - Strategic Communications Adviser

“First and Only: A Black Women’s Guide to Thriving at Work and in Life” Included in United Methodist Women’s Reading Program for 2021-2022

A few years ago, I began journaling to document professional experiences as a Black woman. I wanted to understand the feedback I was receiving at work and place it in the context of gender, race, and class. Initially, I didn’t know my journal would evolve into a book. Upon sharing early journal entries with others, I noticed that my experience resonated and there was a larger story to be told about how Black women navigate professional spaces as the first or only.

I am grateful to have launched “First and Only: A Black Woman’s Guide to Thriving at Work and In Life” in Feb. 2021. The book was published by Broadleaf Books and has affirmed Black women in a way that many leadership books do not. I am thankful it has been covered in Black Enterprise, Marie Claire,, XONECOLE and more.

But I am also thankful that “First and Only” was selected for United Methodist Women’s 2021-2022 Reading Program. The Reading Program is a much acclaimed and cherished United Methodist Women tradition that unites women in mission with pivotal books. The reading list provides another avenue of spiritual and cultural growth for women and includes books from five categories: education for mission, leadership development, nurturing for community, social action, and spiritual growth. “First and Only” was included in the education for mission category.

United Methodist Women’s Reading Program is choke full of accomplished authors discussing some of the most pressing issues of our times. I am humbled that such a phenomenal organization and a critical reading list would include “First and Only,” which documents the racism, sexism, homophobia and classism that Black woman face. I believe this book is essential for Black women, but also for persons seeking to learn and do their own anti-racism work.

To participate in the Reading Program, United Methodist Women members and others select one of four plans and begins their reading journey! From captivating novels and heartfelt biographies to urgent messages about issues such as climate change and mass incarceration, the list includes something for everyone. Participants track their progress using a reporting form and are issued a certificate upon completion.

This is such a dynamic program and I am hopeful the book will be a blessing to all who experience it.

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  • By Jennifer Farmer Blog
  • May 28, 2021