Monday, 28 July 2014


                              BLACK                SOCIAL           HISTORY                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Janet Emerson Bashen is an American inventorentrepreneur, and business consultant. Bashen is the first African American woman to receive a patent for a web-based equal employment opportunity (EEO) software invention and was inducted into the Black Inventors Hall of Fame in 2007. Bashen is the founder and President of Bashen Corporation, a human resources consulting firm with a market niche in EEO compliance. In May 2000, Bashen testified before Congress regarding the effects of the Federal Trade Commission opinion letter on third-party discrimination investigations. With Congressional help from Texas Representative Sheila Jackson Lee, The Society for Human Resource Management and The Chamber of Commerce, Bashen played as a key role in changing the legislation.

Early life and education

Janet Rita Emerson was born on February 12, 1957, in Mansfield, Ohio to James L. Emerson Sr. and Ola Emerson. The family soon relocated to Huntsville, Alabama where Bashen spent her childhood. Both of Bashen’s parents worked two jobs to support the family and the responsibility to care for two younger siblings fell to Bashen. During Bashen’s seminar called, “Business Ownership Ain’t for the Weak-Hearted: Tales of a Sista”, she stated:
“As a black girl growing up in the segregated South, I asked my parents many questions; they didn't have answers. This started a life-long quest of trying to understand our country’s history and struggle with issues of race. This research led me to gender issues and then my passion with EEO grew into a business interest that has evolved, incorporating diversity and inclusion initiatives.”
In 1967, Bashen’s mother made a decision to send her daughter, along with five other black students, to Fifth Avenue Elementary, a newly integrated school. That decision would ultimately become the catalyst that inspired Bashen’s interest toward issues regarding race. Bashen soon learned that integration did not mean acceptance. Although Bashen and the other black students were placed in the same classrooms with the white students, they were still separated by race in the classrooms.
Overcoming the adversity of growing up in government housing until junior high, Bashen was a good student. After high school graduation, Bashen decided to apply to Alabama A&M University, a historically black university (HBCU). Alabama A&M proved to be an eye-opening experience for Bashen.
“There were all these smart black professors who discussed race, politics, social issues, and even Black English openly. I remember Dr. Ronald Slaughter, my political science professor, often referred to the black experience. Dr. Slaughter inspired me to educate myself beyond the classroom by reading works by black writers.”
Bashen’s educational background includes a degree in legal studies and government from the University of Houston and postgraduate studies at Rice University’s Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Administration. Bashen is also a graduate of Harvard University’s, “Women and Power: Leadership in a New World.”

LinkLine software patent

In January 2006, Bashen was awarded a patent for her software invention and became the first African-American woman to receive a patent for a web-based EEO software invention, LinkLine. LinkLine is a web-based application for EEO claims intake and tracking, claims management, document management and various reports. Bashen will soon release AAPLink, a web-based software for building affirmative action plans.


Started in 1994, Bashen built the business from her home office. As a businesswoman competing with legions of capitalized law firms, Bashen had to establish immediate credibility with prospective clients. These entities had to be persuaded that Bashen Corporation’s services would transform the way equal employment opportunity and fair employment practices concerns were investigated. With over 25 years of consulting experience, Bashen is considered an industry expert in fair employment practices, which include: discrimination investigations, EEO compliance, affirmative action, training, and diversity inclusion strategies. Ms. Bashen’s vision created a cottage industry for HR/Diversity/EEO “insourcing.”

Books, papers and presentations

Bashen is currently working on her first book titled In the Trenches: A Question of Fairness. Ms. Bashen has written numerous white papers and Industry articles in the area of EEO, diversity, fair employment practices and affirmative action:
  • Privilege is Not Yours Alone – 2010
  • Measuring the Real Costs of EEO and Workplace Claims – 2009
  • Investigating Discrimination Complaints – 2009
  • Diversity Investment Plans “DIP” – What is Your ROI? – 2009 Software as a Service (“SaaS”) The SaaS Application why it’s important to EEO Investigations – 2009
  • “Generations Apart” Diversity for the Generations – 2008
  • Building a Strategic Affirmative Action Plan
  • Designing an EEO Business Initiative, “It’s all in the Plan” – May 2008
  • The EEO Business Plan – 2008
  • Diversity Process Mapping – 2007
  • “The Color of Diversity, Race Codes - It's All in the Mix” – 2007
  • EEO Process Mapping, “A Narrow and Winding Road” – December 2006
  • Fair Employment Practices - It Affects the Bottom Line! – 2006
  • Equal Employment Opportunity - The Real Meaning 40 Years Later! – 2006
  • Best Practices for Managing Diversity – 2002
  • Solving the Affirmative Employment Maze – 2004
  • LinkLine, A Look at Technology and EEO – 2001
  • Diversity Training for Employees and Front-line Managers – 2001
  • Advanced EEO for Supervisors and Managers – 2000
  • The Life Cycle of A Discrimination Complaint – 1999
  • The ABC’s of EEO for Supervisors and Managers – 1998


In October 2002, Bashen Corporation was named one of America’s entrepreneurial growth leaders by Inc Magazine in its annual Inc 500 ranking of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies, with an increase in sales of 552 percent. In October 2003, Bashen received the Pinnacle Award by the Houston Citizens Chamber of Commerce for success in business. Ms. Bashen was also the 2004 recipient of the Crystal Award, presented by the National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women’s Clubs, Inc., for achievement in business. She was featured in the October 2004 issue of Eclipse Magazine highlighting her business successes. Bashen Corporation was named as one of’s Top 500 Minority Owned Businesses in the United States in 2008, and in 2010 Bashen Corporation is ranked in the Top 100 Women owned Businesses in Texas.


  • Pinnacle Award Finalist (1999)
  • Houston Small Business Award Nominee (1999)
  • Houston Women’s Business of the Year by the Houston Women’s Business Council Nominee (1999)
  • Emerging (E-10) Award Winner (2000)
  • Houston 100 Winner (1999, 2000, 2002)
  • Inc. 500 Winner (2002)
  • Pinnacle Award Winner (2003)
  • Crystal Award Winner (2004)
  • Winner (2008, 2009, 2010)
  • Women’s Leadership Board at the Harvard Kennedy School (2014)