Our jobs and professional careers have become very much engrained and as essential to our lives as the food we eat and the roof over our heads. It’s also these same jobs and careers that can cause stress and anxiety that can lead to deeper issues.

What is important is while we are navigating these corporate and professional spaces is practicing self-care and positive mental health practices. And Francesca Henderson, CEO of Henderson Consulting, LLC, is a continued testament to not only learning how to find balance while steering through the complexities of her intersectional identity.

1. Tell me about your professional background. 

Well…. let’s see. I graduated from Southeast Missouri State University in 2006. From there, I jumped head first into the corporate retail world. I was an Executive Team Leader and Operations Leader for Target Stores for about 10 years. Legit went to work for them 3 months after I graduated. While at Target, I decided to go grad school. (As if I couldn’t complicate my life more LOL). I graduated from Webster University with a Masters in Management and Leadership in 2010. I worked at Target until about 2016, until I decided to step out on my own and start my own business. With the help of one of my besties, we enrolled into Grace Hill Women’s Business Center WIBO class. WIBO stands for Workshop in Business Opportunity. WIBO is a 16-week program that helps students to develop the basic structure for their business plan, including cornerstone analytical tools that develop and sustain financial decision-making. Taking this course, helped me fully understand how to create, work in and run a business.  While taking the class, Henderson Consulting, LLC was created September 8th, 2016. HendersConsult is a consulting agency that focuses on building and fulfilling job and career development. TL/DR: I’m here to help you get a yes during your interview. I assist with resume creation, interview prep, career coaching, an all of the above. From there I ran the business full-time. (Whew right?? LOL) While running the business, I met a wonderful woman named Simone Cummings, (who is now the Dean of the Walker School of Business from Webster Univ., yes my alma mater and she’s an amazing black woman, btw), and we discussed my career development background and skills. Fast-forward 2 months later, she asked me to teach Career Exploration for the College of Business. (I couldn’t make this up if I tried!). Running HC and teaching as adjunct for a while, led me to switch skills and work in tech and landing at job at Square Inc. I work on Experience Recovery Team and I also help work new hires in training as well. Total whirlwind LOL. 


2. What made you want to get into career development, and professional branding?

Honestly? Because I’m great at it LOL. No, for real. I was a trainer, recruiter, and intern mentor for Target. I help develop a lot of employees, executive peers and myself. At the time, I was a living testimony. I turned my career around through coaching, prep and the proper branding.  


3. You are an entrepreneur.  What are some of the biggest myths and misconceptions people have about being an entrepreneur?

That your idea will equate into profitable business and the entrepreneur lifestyle is glamours. 98% of all startups fail within the first 2 years and I don’t think people understand that. You may have a hobby or be great at something, that doesn’t mean that it will turn into a business that brings in income. In business, you aren’t expected to see a profit until year 3. You have to not only work on your business, but work IN your business. Marketing, finance, business development, contracts, invoices, licensning, etc, all that YOU DO. You have to ask yourself, is your idea worthy of a profit?What’s your target market? Why should people buy what your selling? The list goes on. People miss that whole boat. This life isn’t for the faint at heart. It’s a lot of No’s, closed doors, past due bills, and limited resources. It takes grit. 

4. What made you switch careers.and pursue your passions?

The need to help people. While at Target, I worked closely with the recruiters and Human Resources. I’ve conducted hundreds of interviews. During those interviews, I noticed a lot of gaps in potential applicants. Whether it a better crafted resume, more confidence, or wearing the proper interview attire, I saw it all. I also spent time at the VA with my step-pop, which helped me open my eyes to the treatment of our vets when they come home with job placement. I was inspired and I wanted to do more. I wanted to help those who needed help around their career paths. I had help in those areas and I wanted give back.  Taking the WIBO class at Grace Hill helped me tailor my audience and scope.

5. Do you feel like it’s easier or more difficult to switch your career path now, as opposed to 5 or 10 years ago?

HELL YES! There’s more resources, room for growth and opportunities. 

6. What’s next professionally for you?  


SO MUCH! but baby steps. I want to continue to grow my career at Square. I’m currently working with an amazing black woman Jasmine D. Evans, who is help me going rebranding . I’m working to rebuild my social media presence and build content. I have plans to put out a 6-week career development online course and eBook by 2021.

7. If you could give your younger self a piece of advice, what would it be?  

“You’re right in all that you do. Don’t listen to them. Listen to yourself and follow your dreams.”

8. Misogynoir makes navigating professional as well as corporate settings especially difficult for black women.  How have you been able to navigate those spaces?  What are some tips you can provide?  

I stuck to my personal beliefs and views and my compromise was minimal on those. That helped me become adaptable and resilient, which allowed me to create lanes and stay in my own, if that makes sense. Tips? Always ask for help and know your audience. 

9. What do you feel like the most common misstep black women make professionally within their career?

That we have to do it ALL. 

10. How do you practice self-care and positive mental health practices in the hustle and bustle of entrepreneurship and the corporate world?

I honestly truly didn’t until about 2-3 years ago. I would go and go. Now? I see my therapist monthly, I take mental health days and I FEEL. I allow. myself to be new and vulnerable. I also have positive affirmation post-it notes everywhere LOL. I need to see positive verbiage everywhere. It keeps me going.