The population isn’t made up of just one kind of person, and more and more companies understand that the workforce needs to reflect and mirror the population. Brittany Penny, Founder & CEO of 2 Cents Inc., shares about how the company continuously works toward this goal.
Why do you think it is important for women of color to enter industries where their presence is atypical?
Women of color have different experiences in life that can be valuable in a space where their presence is atypical. This is especially the case in the bourbon industry where, to my surprise, I am the only Black female CEO in Kentucky, second in the nation to Fawn Weaver, founder & CEO of Uncle Nearest. Because this industry has been ruled by men for generations, my experiences bring a fresh, new, innovative way of thinking into the world of bourbon whiskey.
What advice would you have for other women of color who are starting businesses?
Just do it — jump in. Don’t wait for the “right time” to start a business. I was a new mother with a screaming 3-month-old in the middle of a global pandemic, with no blueprint on how to start a bourbon company. The key is to have a sound plan, then start, and adapt along the way.
What are you are doing to encourage more diversity within your industry?
I talk with other Black women about the bourbon industry and encourage them to join. I’m very transparent about my journey, and I love opening that dialogue to inspire them to chase whatever dream they may have. Also, once we have our own distillery, I plan to hire a very diverse, innovative workforce to assist in bringing my vision to life.
What impact do you hope your company will have on the city?
I hope to change the narrative on the bourbon industry within the city. Louisville is like a finely aged bourbon, with different aromas and complex tasting notes of people from all walks of life. All bourbon doesn’t taste the same, so there is no reason for the owners of the industry to look the same. I may be the first black female CEO in bourbon in Kentucky, but I definitely won’t be the last.