INNOVATION: Era of Enlightenment [Khadijah]

Khadijah Williams

I'm Khadijah Williams, a young Black entrepreneur & esthetician from the West Side of

Chicago. Since I was young, I've always had the drive and attitude to be my own boss and start a business but never felt equipped to learn how to get there. Growing up on the West Side, it was rare to see Black business owners. It was hard to want something I’d barely seen. In 2017, my senior year of high school, I joined the Gray Matter Experience’s first Cohort. I co-founded Recuriteen as Chief Financial Officer, along with three others. Recruiteen was a Chicago based platform connecting teens with part-time jobs. Recruiteen (pitched as Hire Up) placed 1st in the very first Pitch Black Student Pitch Competition.

After graduating high school, I continued my education at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. After moving back home, I decided to use my education, knowledge and experience to start a business of my own – ThreeFive Cosmetics, a natural and organic cosmetic line consisting of face serums, bath bombs, body scrubs, etc. ThreeFive Cosmetics also provides facials and other Esthetic services. Since starting my first business, I’ve joined Tricoci University Beauty of Culture, where I am obtaining my Esthetics License. I am currently on the Dean's List and am expecting to graduate November 2022.

The Gray Matter Experience is something that I will always hold close to my heart. I always find myself mentioning my experience whenever I'm helping my peers. I’ve helped my mom brand and advertise her bakery Sweet Like That, as well as many others. The Gray Matter Experience opened my eyes to so many paths of life I can take to become my own boss. It forced me to consciously (and subconsciously) be my best self. It also allowed me to be in space where I can see success that looks like me. The Gray Matter Experience has always been a foundation for me and will always be one of my biggest accomplishments in life.

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