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Building America the Beautiful

A Conversation with Susan Taylor

Susan Taylor is an author, activist, and the Founder & CEO of the National CARES Mentoring Movement. Chanda sat down with Susan to discuss the importance of healing from trauma, the barriers we need to break down, and Susan’s time as Editor-in-Chief of Essence Magazine.

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About Our Guest

Susan Taylor

Susan L. Taylor, the best-selling author of four books and editor of eight others, is a fourth-generation entrepreneur who grew up in Harlem working in her father’s clothing store. At 24, she founded her own cosmetics company, which led to the beauty editor’s position at Essence, the publication she would go on to shape into a world-renown brand with more than 8 million readers. That enterprising spirit wedded to a deep love for her community led to the founding of the National CARES Mentoring Movement in 2006 as Essence CARES. With local affiliates in 58 cities, National CARES has recruited, trained, and deployed more than 160,000 mentors to schools and youth-support and mentoring organizations like Big Brothers, Big Sisters, as well as to its own culturally rooted, academic- and social-transformational initiatives. A community-mobilization movement, National CARES is the only organization in the nation dedicated to providing mentoring, healing, and wellness services on a national scale to advance Black children living in poverty.

Susan is a recipient of more than a dozen honorary doctorates and hundreds of awards, including the Phoenix Award and the Henry Johnson Fisher Award, the highest honors given by the Congressional Black Caucus and the magazine-publishing industry, respectively. Susan is a lifelong activist who has worked to ensure people across the globe, from South Africa to those who struggled in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. She believes that securing our vulnerable children is her highest calling and the big business of our nation and Black America Today.