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Keniesha Watford-Woods

"I express myself often through my hair, my tattoos, and things like that, but I’m a professional woman.”

– Keniesha Watford Woods

The Entrepreneurial Rebel

Keniesha Watford-Woods says WOCIP helped her get in touch with her individuality.

WOCIP members and founders are all unique. Keniesha Watford-Woods, a native of Far Rockaway, Queens, describes herself as the outlaw of the bunch.

“I express myself often through my hair, my tattoos, and things like that, but I’m a professional woman,” Keniesha says.

Keniesha’s creative self-expression isn’t the only thing that makes her a creative outlaw. Her uniqueness also stems from her non-linear path to career success and the challenges she overcame to get there. Keniesha shares those monumental moments and lessons that shaped the mother of 4 into the budding entrepreneur and Corporate Brand & Executive Communications Leader that she is today.

Keniesha Watford-Woods Img

Balancing young motherhood and a career fed her natural ambition.

When she was a teenager, she met her now husband, and she became pregnant her first year in college. “I started my journey as a mother and as a career professional at 18 years old,” she says. She didn’t let it slow her down. By acquiring professional certifications and degrees, she enhanced her skill sets and broadened her horizons while supporting and building her family.

A non-linear career track diversified her talents and helped her get into the pharmaceutical industry.

Keniesha worked as a specialist in the finance industry but wanted to switch fields. “I’ve always had an interest in healthcare, but I didn’t know how to break into the field without actually being a nurse or something similar, so I took the plunge, and I interviewed for a temporary administrative role.” It paid off, and she was promoted to a full-time role. And within that position, her talent for design and communications was uncovered. She earned a reputation for being an expert in building unique and engaging brands . It all led her to become a director of communications and content.

Although she worked hard and dreamed big, she wasn’t acknowledged for her efforts – and she needed a change.

Despite her ambition and hard work, the opportunities Keniesha saw her often less qualified, non-black colleagues have access to during her career journey were unavailable to her.


Her challenges pushed her to be her most authentic self.

“When I was approached about helping to form WOCIP, I was like, but why me?” Keniesha recalls. “I used to be like, I’m not at the right level. I’m a nobody and I don’t want to make waves. I used to feel like that all the time. But now I feel like I can absolutely do anything, and that’s amazing. Now I want to help other women in similar situations see what’s possible.”

In embracing her individuality, WOCIP changed her trajectory.

While at Bristol Myers Squibb, she formed a relationship with Patricia Cornet and Charlotte Jones-Burton. “Talking with Pat and Charlotte about our journeys and the issues we were all experiencing made me feel empowered,” she explained. That’s when she started her own creative agency, KenWatt Communications. Keniesha’s next move? She is working diligently towards her leadership goals. With her bold, fierce, and entrepreneurial skills, she sees herself in the C-suite as an executive/vice president.

It’s not where you start. It’s what you do with what you have.

“You know that just because you are different, and your journey is different, does not mean there’s no opportunity for you or that you cannot find your purpose,” Keniesha says. “Stop leaving your career in the hands of someone else. Because if you do that, you’re going to be what they want you to be, not who you want to be.”

Building Connections

Empowering women of color in pharma to excel in their professional and personal development, WOCIP aims to change lives, and that starts with building connections.

Jacqueline “Jackie” Gerena

WOCIP’s Director of Committees

Monique Adams

Vice President of WOCIP

Jamila Watkins

Treasurer for WOCIP

Meet these amazing leaders redefining the life sciences industry for other women of color.

As the ultimate servant leader, Marianne A. Fray sees herself as an advocate for marginalized and underrepresented groups.

Shamika William’s work with HBCUs is influenced by the legacy of her late mother.

Through travel, Patricia Cornet enhanced her global competence, created more value for patients, and challenged the status quo.

Dr. Sharon Monet Sifford Wilson is a powerful matchmaker who helps connect others with the right resources.

Annie B. Harris always looked up to her father.

Keniesha Watford-Woods says WOCIP helped her get in touch with her individuality.

Tope Osiyemi highlights how to honor yourself from her coaching experience.

WOCIP founder, fearless leader, and master connector Dr. Charlotte Jones-Burton shares her greatest leadership moments.

Ambre Brown Morley shares 4 things that she learned about Sisterhood through WOCIP.

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