How Six Sigma Racial Equity Institute Empowers Black Women

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

The Six Sigma Racial Equity Institute was founded by Joy E. Mason in spring 2021 as an offshoot of her Optimist Business Solutions company in response to the murder of George Floyd by the Minneapolis Police Department. Since then, the institute has grown into a space for Black women and Black Latinas to increase their skills and impact their communities. 

Six Sigma certification aims to educate individuals in process analysis and outcome evaluation to minimize waste and defects. Certification levels range from basic end-user proficiency to mastery, where individuals serve as senior members in quality control, according to Investopedia.

According to its website, the Six Sigma Racial Equity Institute (SSREI) seeks to make Six Sigma training more accessible for two groups of women who are constantly underrepresented. “Black women and Black Latinas are under-represented in the Six Sigma community because they are commonly under-exposed to this training and its benefits. Six Sigma training is also costly. In addition, the Black community is oftentimes the most harmed by inequitable policies, resulting in low education attachment, poor health outcomes, and high unemployment.”

The SSREI continues, “Our goal is to upskill Black female professionals with Six Sigma green belt training and certification. This training will equip Black women and Black Latinas with the strategies and tools for complex problem-solving in the workplace and the community. We believe that Six Sigma is an ideal method for combining community voice, process thinking, and data analysis to tackle racial inequities across sectors.”

The Six Sigma Racial Equity Institute has announced their fourth cohort. Led by Joy Mason, president and founder of Optimist Business Solutions, SSREI aims to provide Black women in the Indianapolis community with leadership skills to solve community and workforce issues.

— Indianapolis Recorder (@IndyRecorder) April 29, 2024

Mason told the Indianapolis Recorder that an catalyst for her initiative was the desire to help both women and the Black community.

“A number of factors divinely came together in 2021,” she said. “My love of continuous improvement, my enthusiasm for supporting women, my commitment to the Black community, an obsession for equity and my anger over George Floyd’s murder culminated into an urgent desire to step up. I believe God wanted me in this current role to address equity in this way—an institute that empowers and teaches women how to leverage Six Sigma for our communities and our workplaces.”

Mason noted that the program has so far been a tremendous success, and is an example of what can happen when a serious investment into the careers of Black women is prioritized. 

“Of the previous participants surveyed, 67% stated that they received a pay raise since completing the Green Belt program, and 33% noted that they had received a promotion.” Mason told the Recorder. “After completing the program, 33% of participants noted they received a salary increase of more than $10,000, while an additional 44% received a salary increase of $1,000-$9,999 since completing the Green Belt program.”

Mason continued, “In a post-program survey of SSREI’s most recent Green Belt cohort, 100% of participants responded they gained new or increased problem-solving skills. 92% of the cohort participants said the program met or exceeded their expectations regarding improved leadership confidence. These findings are important to SSREI’s work and equity in central Indiana. Ensuring pay equity for Black women is a critical imperative in the pursuit of justice and equality. Closing the wage gap is not only a matter of fairness but a key step towards dismantling systemic discrimination.” 

Mason said her primary source of satisfaction comes from seeing Black women win. 

“Our participants win by gaining additional leadership skills, employers win from the additional capacity that we provide to address equity gaps and communities win because we equip employers to work and serve more equitably,” she said. “Most of all, I want our Black women to experience professional and personal transformation. The bump in salary from applying their news skills is an added bonus!”

RELATED CONTENT: ‘Empowher’ Event To Uplift Black Girls Held At King Center In Atlanta

Leave a Reply

Recent Posts

Follow Us

Sign up for our Newsletter


Get all latest news and updates.