Ask Asahi Pompey what she does for a living, and the answer isn’t so straightforward.
On LinkedIn, she lists the titles of global head of corporate engagement at Goldman Sachs and president of the Goldman Sachs Foundation.
To borrow a phrase from Bozoma Saint John, Pompey is a #badass, juggling the worlds of corporate America, motherhood, and philanthropy. She radiates wisdom, light, and positivity and is a fierce force of nature in stilettos, someone who understands the power of holding the door open for those following in her steps.
When asked about the “light-bulb moment” that led her to her life’s work, she explains an uncomfortable truth. “You have to have a baseline of a certain amount of economic empowerment to have that moment,” Pompey says. It’s the foundational level of Maslow’s Pyramid and, for many, a quick privilege check. “My first aim of getting out of school was not how I could find a purpose-driven career. It was, I’ve got to pay off these loans and support my family, with two younger brothers coming up after me,” Pompey says.
Guyanese-born, Pompey settled with her family in Brooklyn’s housing projects before supporting herself through high school in Japan and Columbia Law School. An advocate for dreaming audaciously, Pompey notes, “I’m not driven by being the exception. I want to create a space and imagine a world where all these phenomenal young Black girls get a chance to live their fullest potential.” So as the world was undergoing pandemic lockdowns and demands for racial equity echoed, Pompey and Goldman Sachs were building the largest investment to focus exclusively on Black women. An initiative that goes beyond the buzzwords of diversity and inclusion, One Million Black Women has an audacious goal of impacting the lives of at least one million Black women by 2030.
To effectively address the racial wealth gap, Pompey and Goldman Sachs put their money where their mouth is—$10 billion to be exact. “If we close the earning gap for Black women, it could produce an annual U.S. GDP of $450 billion. And that’s not just impacting Black people; it’s impacting everyone,” Pompey says. And hence the investment component. The $10 billion is an indicator of the multidimensional barriers Black women face in proper health care, education, housing, job creation, financial literacy, and access to capital required to take a seat at the table. “To manifest change authentically,” Pompey says, “we’re following all those key moments of her journey. We’re investing in the arc of a Black woman’s life.”
Pompey talks about the power of visibility in corporate America, setting boundaries, and her advice to her younger self.