As a supermodel, media mogul and entrepreneur, Tyra Banks has a powerful platform that spans industries and demographics, something she’s well aware of and proactively using to advocate for women and particularly women of color in the workplace.
Speaking on a panel about female entrepreneurship at the TIME 100 Summit, emphasized that diversity in the workplace needs to be a priority and that the urgency for change comes from the top down.
“Not only is it important for me to hire women, but my team understands it’s important to hire women of color,” said Banks who will debut her latest venture, a model-themed amusement park called “Modelland” this fall. She noted that she can tell how her business is affected by the “lens that it’s coming from.”
During a panel about female entrepreneurship where she appeared in conversation with Cowboy Ventures founder Aileen Lee, Bumble founder and CEO Whitney Wolfe Herd, and moderator, the journalist Gayle King, Banks shared how the challenges and discrimination she faced as a black woman early-on in her modeling career impact the way she thinks about diversity in her business ventures now, from the employees she hires to the talent she recruits for her production company, Bankable Productions.
“I think it’s about mandates,” she said. “I think if you have power, that is a platform that just wields so much control — ‘this is this role, it’s a CFO, we will find have a woman, we will find a woman of color, we will’ — and being very specific. It’s about being that pointed with it.”