Author uses her platform to talk about the importance of Diversity Equity & Inclusion
BY TIA CAROL JONES
LaCoya Harris has learned a lot from her experiences while working in human resources in Corporate America. She has
taken those lessons and written a book, “F*** the Fairytale: My Escape from Corporate America.”
Harris is the CEO of McKinley and Company, which provides staffing and recruitment in the manufacturing and healthcare industry. Harris has more than 20 years of human resource experience.
Harris started at McKinley and Co. after personally experiencing racial discrimination in Corporate America. She has two Master’s Degrees and received her first when she was 23-years-old. “I was looked at as the competition, not as a resource. I was mistreated. It came to a point where I was on defense going into every new job. I was feeling defeated and not excited about a new opportunity,” she said.
Harris would leave one bad situation, hoping the next would be better, but it was not the case. Angry about the way she was being treated, she decided to start her own business. She realized that she was really good at recruiting. Harris started McKinley and Co. in 2018.
“What I have learned is to keep going and find a different way. You don’t have to put up with the mistreatment, you don’t have to be treated that way,” she said. Recently, Harris has become aware of the teachings of Dr. Joy DeGruy and the Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome, which is described as a consequence of multigenerational oppression of Africans and their descendants from enslavement.
“The mental stress that comes from having to stay on a job, while being mistreated and you can’t say anything or defend yourself because of fearing you’ll lose your job or you’re possibly catch a case,” Harris said, adding that she was heading in that direction. “I was tired of people picking on me and I can’t say anything to them about it, because then, I’ll be the angry Black woman.”
Harris wanted to write the book because she wanted to talk about the Corporate brutality Black people experience. She believes there needs to be a movement of what’s going on with Black people in Corporate America, so change can happen.
It took Harris about a year and a half to write her book. She had been working on bits and pieces, writing down her experiences. Her reason for writing the book was to encourage more Black people to start their own businesses. She also wants to bring Black people whose experiences weren’t like hers to the table and have them give tips on how to make it through the system.
“So many of us, we don’t even realize that what we’re going through in Corporate America, these different battles, that’s mental stress, anguish that’s causing health issues,” she said. Harris broke out in shingles from the stress caused by having to deal with discrimination at her job. It was then she decided her health was more important than that job.
Harris also wants to use her platform to talk about the importance of diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace. To do this, Harris said there needs to be someone from every background represented in the workplace. It starts with the hiring manager and the people at the table who make the decisions; they must care about diversity, equity and inclusion. Those people need to be aware of how people are
being treated and what needs to change.
Harris, in reflecting on going into Corporate America at 23-years old with a Master’s degree, she felt the type of environment that would have been the best for her would be one with a culture that embraced her.
“A culture that wanted to see people come in to help them be successful. When I came into Corporate America, I was fueled with energy to be great, to come in and make a difference, to learn, to grow. I never thought in my wildest dreams that I
would experience what I’ve experienced,” she said. “If I had gone into an environment that embraced me and wanted to
see me successful, gave me the tools and resources to be successful, more than what I was just capable of learning on my own.” That would have been exceptional said Harris.