It’s no secret that Black women are at an immediate disadvantage in the workplace. When it comes to minority women in executive positions, the numbers are dismal. According to a study by the American Association of University Women, nationally, Black women represent just 8 percent of the private sector workforce and 1.5 percent of senior leadership.

But here in Houston, several Black women are working to change those bleak numbers, climbing the ranks to some of the top spots in the city. While the list of Black women in Power in Houston is extensive, here are just a few more power players and influencers in the Bayou City.

Pamela Ellis

Job Title: CEO, Smahrt Solutions, Founder, The Smahrt Girl Foundation
Education: University of Houston
Ultimate Career Goal:  To build an empire that empowers girls and women with education, jobs and the knowledge of self worth through both the firm and the Smahrt Girl Foundation for generations.
Life philosophy/motto:  If it’s going to be its up to me.  God has already given me dominion, power and instructions.
Twitter handle: @smahrtgirl and @smahrtsolutions

Julie Griffith

Job Title: Founder & CEO, J.griffith Public Relations
Education: Florida A&M University and an MBA in Marketing from the Jones Graduate School of Management, Rice University.
Ultimate Career Goal: Developing my branded blog that focuses on the lifestyle of entrepreneurship for amazing women.
Life philosophy/motto: Every morning is a new day, a new gift & a new chance to do something FABULOUS!!!
Twitter handle: @jgriffithpr

Sharon Watkins Jones

Job Title: Director-Political Strategies, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Texas
Education: The University of Texas at Austin
Ultimate Career Goal: To remain actively involved in the fight to gain and maintain civil rights and liberties.
Life philosophy/motto: The world is run by those who simply dare to show up.
Twitter handle: @olskoolmom

Dr. Rhea Lawson

Job Title: Director, Houston Public Library
Education: PhD: University of Wisconsin-Madison; MLS: University of Maryland-College Park; BA: Morgan State University
Ultimate Career Goal: To serve as director of libraries, fortified with the ultimate budget and essential resources necessary to provide amazing state of the art services, materials, and programs equitably in every Houston community, and elevate the Houston Public Library as the quintessential model for public libraries in today’s digital world.
Twitter Handle: @_drrhea

Sharon Owens

Job Title: Co-owner, La Maison
Education: St Philip’s JR. College, Tennessee State University
Ultimate Career Goal: I have achieved my ultimate career goal of utilizing my education degree to teach school (which I did  for 5 years in St. Paul MN), followed by working in Corporate America and retiring in a leadership position, and becoming an entrepreneur and still making a difference in the community.
Life philosophy/motto: “Don’t complain about something you are not willing to change”

Jackie Pope

Job Title: Executive Assistant to the City Controller
Education: Bachelor of Arts – Social Work, Grambling State University; Master’s Degree – Social Work, University of Houston
Ultimate Career Goal: I want to continue to serve the Houston community by remaining involved with numerous civic and not-for-profit organizations that are dedicated to the betterment of our hometown.
Life philosophy/motto: To whom much is given, much is required.

We know there are many more Power Players in Houston. Let our readers know about them on our FB page at

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