Community psychologist sparks important conversations around female leadership

Dr. Dominica McBride is a community psychologist who is sparking a conversation around women of color in leadership spaces in her first book, “Becoming Change Makers: The Exquisite Path to Leadership and Liberation for Women of Color.” She details women’s unique experiences and paths to leadership through four themes: healing, relationships, intersectionality and power.

Dominica McBride

McBride, a resident of Flossmoor, founded BECOME in January 2013. It is a Chicago-based non-profit community transformation and movement-building organization that intersects with social science research and community activism to facilitate healing within communities and help communities bring the change they envision. 

The book stemmed from her work at BECOME. The creative process began organically in 2017 after McBride researched and evaluated women of color at three leadership and support programs: Chicago Foundation for WomenPublic Allies and Cultivate. The evaluation concluded that regardless of what business sector a woman led in, they still felt that healing, self-care and self-love were significant aspects of their leadership journey.

One of McBride’s earliest memories with her mother served as an inspiration for writing a book like “Becoming Change Makers.” Despite all of the personal hardships and community trauma McBride’s mother went through growing up in Haiti, McBride recalls how she was still filled with love and positivity.

McBride wanted women of color to find the path to love and liberation in their leadership similar to her mother. 

“I want people and [my mother] and my daughter seeing her potential and step into their potential as a girl, as a woman of color and as a leader,” McBride said. “I want to see so many other girls and women to see their beauty and brilliance and to step into that and to step into their full selves.” 

McBride began having conversations with women at the three programs and listened to their stories about their lives and experiences in leadership. She and the team at BECOME began to interview 13 women about their lives in leadership.

Each chapter of the book details the life of one of the 13 women interviewed providing insight into their trials, trauma, triumphs and lessons they’ve learned. Hearing the complex and diverse stories of the women was an enjoyable experience for McBride. 

“It’s really rich and inspiring to hear their stories and put them together in a way that can help them guide us,” McBride said. 

In 2022, McBride and the BECOME community realized they had some compelling stories and themes, so they decided to take what they collected and find a publisher to publish the book. Networlding Publishing helped guide McBride and her team through the process of releasing the book. It was published in September 2023.  

To spark conversations around the several themes within the stories, the book includes a book club guide with questions at the end of each chapter. McBride encourages readers to form book clubs or sister circles to form communities around the book. 

“[The book] is meant to be a guide for ourselves, but also a guide for us to deepen our relationships in real-time and to support one another,” McBride said. 

McBride hopes that women of color who read the book can connect with the stories of the women in the book and also connect with themselves. 

“This is a chance to become even clearer about the beauty and the brilliance that is within each of them, but also that they think of at least one way to share that amplified or magnified beauty or brilliance, or compassion or love that’s within them with their communities,” McBride said. 

McBride looks forward to continuing the conversations that started in “Becoming Change Makers” in future books. 

“Becoming Change Makers: The Exquisite Path to Leadership and Liberation for Women of Color” can be purchased on Amazon or bookshop.org. For more information regarding the book visit becomingchangemakers.com

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