Visiting Authors

March 25, 7 pm | Minda Harts in Conversation with Tianna Mañón

Book Launch: The Memo: What Women of Color Need To Know To Secure A Seat At The Table | Free & Open to the Public

Drawing on her entrepreneurial experience as CEO of The Memo, as well as her past career as a fundraising consultant, Minda Harts’s Memo acknowledges the “ugly truths” that keep women of color from getting the proverbial seat at the table in corporate America: micro-aggressions, systemic racism, and white privilege. With wit and candor, Hart gives straight talk on how to address these issues head on and provides a roadmap to help women of color and their allies make real change to the system. 

Minda Harts is the CEO of The Memo LLC,  a career development platform for women of color, and  an Assistant Professor at NYU Wagner. She has been featured on MSNBC’s Morning Joe and in Fast Company, The Guardian, and Time Magazine; and hosts a weekly podcast, “Secure The Seat.”

Tianna Mañón is the Editor in Chief of Open Mic Rochester. She has written about such issues of policy and politics as the Family Leave Act and how it helps single mothers, Rochester’s status as a food swamp, and the ongoing housing crisis in the city. Her priority is ensuring that news is accessible and readers feel empowered to make the changes they want to see in their communities.

March 31, 7 pm | How to Unravel a Buried Story: Re-Discovering Martha Matilda Harper, with Jane Plitt 

Talk & Book Signing | Free & Open to the Public

Jane Plitt stumbled on the name “Martha Matilda Harper” and the fact that she was the first woman member of the Rochester Chamber of Commerce. Yet the Chamber knew nothing about her. Ultimately, Plitt spent six years criss-crossing the United States and Canada piecing together Harper’s forgotten business and human achievements.

Discover how Plitt unearthed the Harper story of a servant girl who, with the help of Susan B. Anthony, the suffrage movement, socialite Bertha Palmer, and former Rochester Congressman John Van Voorhis, created economic opportunities for other poor women. Hear from the author, a non-historian, about the fascinating process of digging up buried stories. Learn new tools for conducting research and be inspired by how Harper used business for social change and, today, is experiencing a renaissance of acclaim.   

Jane Plitt is the author of three books about Martha Matilda Harper, including Martha the Hairpreneur: From Servant to Business Empress and Martha Matilda Harper and the American Dream: How One Woman Changed the Face of American Business. Prior to becoming a visiting scholar at the University of Rochester, Plitt led a 12-person business marketing and economic development firm that earned her recognition as Small Business Advocate by the U. S. Small Business Administration, and won the Small Businessperson of the Year in 1986. Plitt has been published widely in business, national and local publications, including The Wall Street Journal, Chicago’s Sun Times, Rochester’s Democrat and Chronicle, Sarasota’s Herald-Tribune, and History News. Plitt has been a life-long advocate for civil rights and was the National Organization for Women’s first Executive Director.