by Jennifer R. Farmer – Broadleaf Books

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As Black women, we have to work twice as hard to be perceived as half as skilled. We have to work until August of this year to earn what a white man made by last December. We are besieged by racist and sexist bullying online. People feel free to touch and comment on our hair–and then ask us why we seem so angry.

First and Only is a guide for every woman who has found herself closing the cover on other leadership books that omit our true experiences and strengths. In these pages, trainer and activist Jennifer R. Farmer helps readers learn what is required for the long haul of liberation by providing a roadmap to on-the-job success, challenging systemic racism, and seeking inner healing through the sustaining power of faith. She offers practical strategies for Black women to thrive in workplaces that can be ambivalent about their success, as well as tips and stories from psychologists, activists, and organizational experts that equip Black women to lead others and heal past wounds.

The path for success for Black women includes a commitment to self-care, spiritual growth, and a willingness to push for progress even as we fight for our own liberation. First and Only is not just about how to lean in, or how to discover the irrefutable laws of leadership. It’s about how to heal so you can sustain work for justice and equity. It’s about finding personal and social redemption–and leading others to find it too.

First and Only must be considered essential reading not only for Black women but for people who work with Black women. There are lessons to be learned in every chapter. . . . May you find yourself in the pages of this book. May you see yourself in all your beauty and perfection. May you recognize your greatness. May you discover that which you need to thrive at work and in life. I know I have.” –Nina Turner, from the Foreword

“Jennifer R. Farmer writes a much-needed love letter to Black women looking to thrive at work and in life. First and Only is an essential resource for any career toolkit.” –Minda Harts, author of The Memo

“Jennifer R. Farmer is a hell of a coach, and if she is detailing what Black women are experiencing in workplaces, we should listen and then take action.” –Michael Render, songwriter, activist, and rapper professionally known as Killer Mike

“Jennifer R. Farmer could run a boot camp for emerging women leaders. Her coaching exudes urgency, confidence, and care. If anyone can create a trusted road map for Black women in the workplace, she can.” –Rev. Dr. Brianna K. Parker, Black Millennial Cafe

“Jennifer R. Farmer is an amazing voice in empowering powerful communications and storytelling to shift the narrative. A brilliant thinker with a knack for eliminating waste, she creates strategies that leverage resources for the maximal impact while cradling the sacredness of one’s message. An important and necessary soul for the journey around this nation, proclaiming a new story rooted in equity and inclusion.” –Rev. Ben McBride, co-director, PICO California

“Jennifer R. Farmer is an insightful listener and observer of human interaction. She uses her insights to speak directly to the core issues impacting leadership. Her analysis perceptively integrates gender, race, religion, and overall worldview to offer more nuanced understandings of leadership than the one-size-fits-all approaches more commonly promoted.” –Rev. Dr. Cari Jackson, author; Clergy in Residence, Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice

“Jennifer R. Farmer brings a wealth of expertise and a high degree of emotional intelligence to her leadership. She’s the kind of leader that other leaders like me want to emulate.” –Rev. Katey Zeh, Interim Executive Director, Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice

“Jennifer R. Farmer fuses creativity with a practical and empathetic approach to solving some of the thorniest issues. Our workplaces, our world, would benefit from hearing more from her.” –Meghan Dotter, founder of Portico PR