LOWER EAST SIDE, Manhattan (WABC) -- When Sophia Chang was watching the news months ago and learned that New York City's Summer Youth employment program fell victim to coronavirus this year, an idea was sparked inside of her.
"That just lit a fire under me to do something," she said. "And I thought, this is the thing that I'm passionate about."
That passion is for mentorship, and she says it's made an impact on her incredible career.
Over the past 30 years, Chang has made her mark in the music business -- working with the likes of Wu-Tang Clan founder RZA, Method Man, and Redman, to name a few.
She's now the author of a memoir called "The Baddest Bitch in the Room," and she will admit that a key to her success was her own mentor -- music executive Michael Ostin.
"What he offered to me was experience and insight," she said. "He will help me navigate, help me focus, help me identify what horse races I should be in, what things I should chase, and what I should fall back on. And 33 years later, he's still my mentor."
She wanted to give other women of color the same hand up, and now, she's created the "Unlock Her Potential" mentorship program. And it's an all-star cast of mentors, from "Love and Hip Hop" creator Mona Scott-Young to actors like Andre Royo from HBO hit series "The Wire."
The mentorship program is extremely popular, and within just a few weeks, they have more than 1.000 applicants. And they continue to look for women, as long as they're over the age of 18 and women of color.
All because there is a need.
"We are not taught in the same way that white men and white women are about the system," Chang said. "We do not have the same access. We just simply do not have the same experience, because we are not the dominate culture."
Her hope is to give women of color a guide and opportunity -- and take away any excuses managers may have for not having diverse employees.
"They say, 'Oh, it's so hard to find a women of color who wants to write or direct,'" Chang said. "No it's not. It's only hard because you're not looking hard enough. It's only hard because you're lazy."
To apply or for more information, visit UnlockHerPotential.com.
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