DRC Women’s Equality Series: Jacqueline Twillie, ZeroGap.co

Black Women's Equal Pay Day

Jacqueline Twillie, ZeroGap.co Founder & President

This story is a part of an ongoing series of DRC interviews with representatives from our member organizations and partners. 

Jacqueline Twillie holds an M.B.A. in Leadership and is the Founder and President of ZeroGap.co, a global training and development firm that specializes in women’s leadership within male-dominated industries. A sought-after negotiation strategist, her mission is to eliminate the gender wage gap by providing practical strategy for women to advance and thrive in leadership roles. She has been featured in Forbes, FastCo, Essence now, Black Enterprise, Parade, Today.com, NBC BLK, and more, speaking out on the topic of women’s leadership and negotiation strategy.

Twillie’s expertise and experiences help us to better understand the barriers for Black women as they challenge the gender wage gap and advocate for themselves in the workplace. Black women face unique and substantial barriers as they work to achieve equal pay. Twillie points to research from the American Association of University Women (AAUW), which examines how systemic racism – decades of discriminatory employment practices, intentionally inadequate legal protections, and persistent racial stereotypes – has contributed to a pay gap that remains far wider for women of color than for white women.

When it comes to how Black women can advocate for themselves at work, it can be like walking a fine line: Twillie says it is a well-known secret that being too vocal can bring unwanted attention.  She advises Black women to advocate for themselves strategically and develop a personal leadership strategy.

Negotiation can be a partial solution to the gender wage gap. One opportunity for women to advocate for themselves as well as their organization is by honing the skill of negotiation.  There are many causes and solutions to the wage gap, Twillie says, and negotiation skills are a powerful too. After all, there is some truth to this old saying: “If you don’t ask, you won’t get.” Twillie cites some best practices employers can use to help close the pay gap in the Dallas Region – specifically in regard to Black women. She says employers can be supportive by intentionally providing stretch assignments that increase visibility, and by conducting compensation audits that drill down to gender and racial data points.

Jacqueline Twillie is a two-time Amazon Best Selling Author. Her latest book is Don’t Leave Money on the Table: Negotiation Strategies for Women Leaders in Male-Dominated Industries.