As a global audience insights and analytics analyst for the nonprofit Wikimedia Foundation, CherRaye Glenn-Flowers, FOX ’15, travels around the world. And as a Black woman with 4C hair—that is very coily and fragile—she grew frustrated trying to find capable stylists on the fly. So, she set out to solve that problem for herself and others in similar situations.
A hair-raising idea
“Every time I traveled, I had to bring another bag for my hair products. I would talk to other Black women and Latinx women about it and realized this was a big pain point in our communities,” she said.
That was the genesis of Brownce, an app and community forum that connects Black and brown people to barbers, beauty vendors and stylists that fit their hair needs. Glenn-Flowers self-funded the endeavor, which she launched in February 2021.
A full plait
Whether at Wikimedia or with Brownce, Glenn-Flowers puts her Temple education into practice on a daily basis. From the outset, she was drawn to the university’s size and diversity, which was its own education in itself.
“I immersed myself in different communities and learned a lot. I work at a global company now, and I wouldn’t know what I know if I didn’t have the privilege to be in that type of environment,” she said. “It gives you a different perspective, and it helps you step outside of your own way of thinking, which is important in your professional development.”
Her coursework remains an important foundation. In Professor Anthony Di Benedetto’s marketing research class, Glenn-Flowers discovered a passion for both product development and research. Meanwhile Barbara Manaka, associate professor of risk, insurance and healthcare management, helped her get over her fear of “messing up” and develop the self-confidence to tackle bigger challenges.
“What I liked about Temple was that nothing came easy,” she said. “It prepared you to have some grit.”
In 2015, Glenn-Flowers landed her first job in sales at Penske Truck Leasing. She says it was a seamless transition because Fox not only prepared her for working in a traditional corporate environment, but also gave her the acumen to set herself apart.
“I encourage anyone who wants to get into entrepreneurship to start out in sales,” she said. “I stood out from my peers because I had the persistence and resilience needed to survive in business, and I think I got that from Temple.”
Now, Glenn-Flowers manages data analytics, audience research and campaign performance at Wikimedia Foundation and has launched the organization’s first-ever diversity, equity and inclusion communications research initiative to reach beyond the white male audience.
“I am a radical supporter of knowledge equity and making sure everyone, especially people from historically marginalized communities, has access to information,” she said. “I love my job because I feel like I have an impact.”
A cut above
That philosophy also rings true at Brownce, where Glenn-Flowers hopes to bring more attention to marginalized beauty services. In 2019, she set out researching the market, consumer behavior and competitors. Then she designed the customer journey, the wireframes and the interfaces for her app and created user stories before hiring a mobile app development team to turn the concept into a digital reality.
More recently, she has collaborated with fellow alumnus Tennyson Coleman, KLN ’16, on advertising concepts and videos. She is also working extensively on product development and expanding the app with new features. And she watches with delight as the brand catches on and the user base continues to grow.
“Especially with social media, we often see the end of success. We don’t often really see the journey,” she said. “People send me pictures of their daughters wearing shirts with the logo. And that pushes me to keep going, to create a brand that becomes iconic for our communities.”