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Texas College To Honor Essence CEO and Alumna, Caroline A. Wanga, At Spring Commencement

Texas College To Honor Essence CEO and Alumna, Caroline A. Wanga, At Spring Commencement
Posted By: Reggie Culpepper on April 12, 2021

Today, Texas College announced that they will honor ESSENCE Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and 2005 Alumna, Caroline A. Wanga, at their Spring 2021 Commencement Exercise, to be hosted virtually on Saturday, May 15. Wanga, who will also serve as the occasion’s speaker, will be bestowed the honorary degree Doctor of Humane Letters.

The slated honorary doctorate will be Wanga’s second degree from Texas College, just 16 years after receiving her first in 2005, an earned baccalaureate degree in Business Administration. It was at this time that Wanga began her corporate journey as a Distribution Center Intern for Target Corporation in Tyler. While in the Supply Chain realm, she served in a variety of transformational leadership roles, including modernizing Supply Chain, Business Intelligence, Digital and Strategy capabilities. Wanga would climb the ranks within Target for the next 15 years, elevating herself to the “C-Suite.” Along with a cadre of other preceding impressive roles, Wanga would eventually serve as Target’s Chief Culture, Diversity and Inclusion Officer until 2020. Prior to that, she held several non-profit roles.

During the Summer of 2020, Wanga departed Target to join Essence Ventures, parent company of ESSENCE, as Chief Growth Officer. Within that same month, she was named Interim CEO of ESSENCE, the number one media, technology and commerce company dedicated to Black women and communities. Then, just seven months later in February, Wanga was officially appointed to serve as ESSENCE’s CEO. Though she assumed the role of chief executive for ESSENCE, she maintains a dual role as Chief Growth Officer for Essence Ventures.

A self-proclaimed cultural architect with a passion for constructing, deconstructing and reconstructing organizational culture, Wanga champions authenticity and thrives while she inspires in innovative environments. With a background in corporate and community leadership, her career expands over several disciplines and capabilities including youth development, grant-writing, community organizing, supply chain, human resources, culture and media.



Caroline has worked her way up from entry-level positions to the highest of senior leadership roles and is passionate about modeling what she teaches. Her “real-talk” delivery, witty thought leadership and unmitigated perspective on democratizing authenticity as a differentiator for individuals and organizations, make her a highly sought-after keynote speaker, equity strategist, thought leader, and community influencer. She unapologetically believes that who each person is, is non-negotiable and is often quoted saying, “Who you are is who you are. If you cannot be who you are where you are, you change where you are not who you are.”

Among other accolades, Wanga has been named Top Executive in Corporate Diversity by Black Enterprise and recognized by Savoy as one of the Most Powerful Women in Corporate America. She is a member of the Executive Leadership Council (ELC), the Talladega College Board of Trustees and the American Airlines Community Council. She previously served on the Intersectionality, Culture, and Diversity Advisory Board for Twitter and as co-chair of the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) Diversity & Inclusion Initiative. She is a Kenyan citizen, and her life’s greatest accomplishment is her daughter, Cadence.

ABOUT TEXAS COLLEGE
Texas College is a Historically Black College founded in 1894, by a group of CME ministers. Our mission continues to embody the principles of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church. The College shall prepare students with competencies in critical and creative thinking related to the knowledge, skills, and abilities as defined in areas of study. Additionally, the College shall provide an environment to inspire intellectual, spiritual, ethical, moral, and social development, which empowers graduates to engage in life-long learning, leadership, and service.

Led by President Dwight J. Fennell, PhD, Texas College serves as the oldest institution of higher education in the city of Tyler, celebrating over 127 years of providing educational opportunities to all. As an ethnically diverse liberal arts institution, students gain the theoretical and foundational preparations designed to propel them into a major that will equip them for graduate and/or professional schools, as well as the world of work.
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