Introducing Lisa Cunningham, a dynamic force at the heart of Atlanta’s Black Women’s Health Imperative, where she serves as the Executive Vice President of Marketing & Communications. With her unwavering dedication and visionary leadership, Lisa emerges as a pivotal figure, not just during Black Women’s History Month, but every day of the year.

How has your story motivated you on days when there seems to be nothing to keep you going?
Even on the toughest days, there’s always something pushing me forward. I spent more than two decades in the entertainment industry, but I left it all behind to pursue a higher calling—empowering and advocating for the health and wellbeing of people of color through storytelling. On my hardest days, I’m deeply aware of the incredible opportunity I have to not just change lives, but potentially save them too. That realization keeps me going no matter what. Like when women tell me they just got a health screening for the first time because of a campaign that I spearheaded, it makes me understand the power of it all.

In what ways, if any, did you have to pivot to ensure your vision was well executed?

I’ve often had to pivot to make sure my vision comes to life, sometimes even battling my own dreams as a director. Whether it’s scaling back a bit or dipping into my own pocket, I make it work. Like this one time, we were up against a tight deadline, and I decided to go with an available editor. The edit didn’t hit the mark, so I waited it out for the editor I really wanted. In the end, it was worth the wait to get the amazing final cut I envisioned.

How do you showcase the empowerment of Women’s History Month every day?
Every day, I celebrate Women’s History Month by choosing whom I hire and collaborate with. I prioritize working with women—vendors, freelancers, and more—not only compensating them fairly but also mentoring them along the way. My goal is to amplify their voices and support their businesses, so they can continue shaping the future of Women’s History.

Who are some lesser-known female entrepreneurs from history that you admire and believe deserve more recognition?
I want people to know about women like Rebecca Lee Crumpler, the first Black woman to earn a medical degree in the United States. Beyond her trailblazing role as a physician, she was a remarkable entrepreneur. After earning her degree in 1864, Crumpler moved to Richmond, Virginia, where despite widespread racism and discrimination, she established a thriving medical practice focused on women and children. Her approach, emphasizing preventative medicine and health education, allowed her to serve communities often ignored by her contemporaries. Crumpler not only succeeded in medicine but also used her platform to advocate for social justice, inspiring countless others in the process.

Reflecting on your own experiences, what are some effective ways that male allies have supported you in your career journey?
One of the most effective ways a male ally has supported me in my career comes from my best friend, whom I met in the production industry. We’ve continued to collaborate over the years, and his unwavering support has been a cornerstone of my success. He consistently amplifies my work and lends his resources and talents without seeking to overshadow my achievements. What I value most is his unconditional support, especially when I’m in the spotlight—he never feels the need to elevate himself but rather celebrates my successes with genuine enthusiasm. Our relationship is deeply reciprocal, creating a dynamic where mutual respect and support fuel our professional growth.

How do you strike a balance between ambition and self-care as a woman in a demanding business environment?
When I embraced the idea that health is my birthright, my perspective on life shifted significantly. My ambition now never overshadows my need to operate at my highest self. Rest for me isn’t a luxury or a reward—it’s essential. Self-care transcends typical indulgences and is integral to my daily routine. It means not multitasking during meals, committing to nearly daily hikes, and knowing when and how to say no. This approach allows me to pursue my ambitions vigorously while staying deeply rooted in self-care practices that sustain me.

Images provided by CR8 Agency