While Black men and women have made strides with companies that never had a Black person in a higher position, Pamela Culpepper has changed the dynamic with luxury brand Prada, becoming the first black woman to hold a seat on the board.
In a press release, Prada S.P.A. recently appointed Culpepper and Anna Maria Rugarli, two new independent Non-Executive Directors, to their team on January 28. Culpepper’s appointment marks her as the first Black female board member in the Italian fashion house founded by Mario Prada in 1913, Essence Magazine reported. The Italian atelier shared the news from its Milan office.
Both Culpepper and Rugarli were highly qualified for the roles due to their respective Environmental, Social, and Governance backgrounds to uphold the Board of Director’s assessments and decisions while maintaining the company’s three courses of action through its ESG strategy: people, environment, and culture.
Lorenzo Bertelli, Prada Group Head of Corporate Social Responsibility, spoke about their new roles.
“I am pleased to welcome to the Board Pamela Culpepper and Anna Maria Rugarli, professionals with an extensive knowledge in ESG topics and who held leadership positions in multinational companies. Their contribution will be crucial for the Board and for the deployment of Prada’s sustainability strategy. This decision will allow us to accelerate in several projects already in our pipeline.”
Culpepper is also the co-founder of the female-owned cultural consultancy firm, Have Your Back. The female-led company aims to provide equity for all. Their team “is made up of folks who represent different genders, races, ethnicities, ages, generations, family constructs, relationship status, religions, beliefs, geographies, astrological signs, and economic statuses,” in a statement from the website.
The newly appointed board member’s professional background includes roles in Human Resources and Diversity and Inclusion departments at some of the world’s largest companies in various industries.
“People who know me and know what Prada stands for quickly see what connects us – status quo is simply not an option. I’m proud to be a part of that challenge,” Culpepper told ESSENCE. “One of Prada’s principles is to go where the risk is. Prada has stepped out front to lead the industry in ESG. It would be easier to fast follow, but that would be counter to both of our instincts. Prada is at the intersection of authentically connecting their values and purpose with the needs and will of their key stakeholders.” She adds, “My role is to help strategically navigate that intersection.”