All Articles Tagged "African-American executives"
Workplace diversity programs are a great concept in theory. But too often, African-American women are left out of the mix when it comes to developing new corporate leadership. Look around and you will now see more and more women leading major companies — from Marissa Mayer at Yahoo! to HP’s Meg Whitman to Time Inc.’s Laura Lang — but strikingly absent are African Americans. Some black men have reached the top as well — Kenneth Chenault, who has been the CEO of AMEX (American Express) since 2001; Richard Parsons, a former chairman of Citigroup and the former Chairman and CEO of Time Warner; and Don Thompson, the new president and CEO of McDonald’s, among others. There is but one black woman who head a Fortune 500 company: Ursula Burns of Xerox.
“Most Fortune 100 companies have employee affinity groups to foster leadership development. Over the years, partly because of their high numbers, white women have tended to dominate the women’s groups, while men have tended to dominate the Latino, Asian, or African-American groups. Women of color have seldom been able to rise in either group,” says Susan E. Reed, author of the award-winning book, The Diversity Index: The Alarming Truth About Diversity in Corporate America…and What Can Be Done About It.
One reason black women are missing is that they aren’t in corporate settings as much, notes Reed. “Some studies have shown that college-educated African-American women tend to choose occupations that focus on communities, such as social work or governmental jobs instead of business,” she tells us. “Secondly, the Civil Rights and Women’s Movements raised consciousness about ‘people of color’ and ‘women.’ These categories were replicated in corporate affinity groups… For a Latina woman to fit into the boxes, she has to join two affinity groups at work, the women’s group and the Latino group. She has to put in twice the amount of time and feel like a minority in each setting.”
And the exclusion of African-American women, adds diversity and inclusion expert Lenora Billings-Harris, might just be an oversight. “I do believe that it is frequently unintentional that women of color are left out of that loop. Also, the leaders who on the surface want women of color [to be included] are not aware of the micro messages they send to women of color — that women of color are not leadership material or that they don’t ‘fit,’ which essentially translates that you are not quite enough like us,” she says. “The leaders, presumably male leaders and most presumably white male leaders need to be willing to lean into their discomfort around interacting with women of color and to interact without judgement. To listen more and to ask questions in order to develop real professional relationships with women of color not only in their corporations but outside as well. ” Billings-Harris also says black woman too must interact more and give feedback to their bosses about being excluded.
Changing the Workplace Culture
Even though the obstacles are there and the hurdles are hard to overcome, in order to make this change women of color have to be more persistent. “The first challenge is to stay in the corporate game. For at least the past 25 years, more African-American women have graduated with college degrees in business than African-American men have. But black men have developed their business majors into their careers more than black women have,” Reed notes. She suggests that African-American women create their own affinity groups. “You should consider what specific awareness, positive change or increased business that you all could bring to the company that is not being contributed through the existing groups. If the women long for greater accomplishments [and] recognition, ask each other what needs to get done in the form of acquiring skills, leadership experience or notifying management in order to get the promotions,” she offers.
Billings-Harris agrees the onus is not only on the company, but African-American women executives as well. “It is time for us to go beyond the numbers and counting heads but rather get to a point to where the heads count. So women of color can help in this regard by being courageous enough to speak up and have those conversations with the leaders throughout their organization,” she says in an interview. “My point is rather than being negatively critical, come to the table with suggestions and an open ear. If both sides are willing to listen and to teach each other how they can interact more effectively, then I think ultimately we all will win.”
(Rolling Out) – SoftSheen-Carson, a subsidiary of L’Oreal USA, is a brand that African Americans have come to know and trust over the years. The company produces popular brands such as Dark and Lovely, Roots of Nature and Optimum Care. Angela Guy is the senior vice president and general manager of SoftSheen-Carson and has helped take the company to the next level during her tenure. Over the years, Guy has been responsible for expanded distribution, developing strong relationships with retailers and helping to solidify the organization’s position as the leading brand in the ethnic beauty market. Rolling out caught up with the busy executive to see what it takes to run such a successful brand.
Gee Roberson, the man managing some of the the greatest current hip-hop acts of our time including Drake, Kanye West and Nicki Minaj, has been tapped by Universal Music Group to restart the Geffen records label. He will act as Chairman and, according to Bloomberg, he will “work to expand direct digital sales to consumers, merchandising, touring and management.”
Roberson started his career at Roc-a-Fella records as a young intern who rose up in the company during its explosive growth, during which time Jay-Z made a name for himself as one of the best-selling and most popular rappers in the world. Later, he went on to work with Hip Hop Since 1978, the management company, as co-CEO.
At Geffen, Roberson will be reporting to Interscope Geffen A&M Chairman Jimmy Iovine. Congrats!
A pretty face and a gorgeous design aren’t the only way to make a mark in fashion. As an endless array of behind the scenes shows has shown us, there’s always an army holding up the elaborate apparatus of creative endeavor. The Atlanta Post has rounded up 10 blacks who play key though background roles in the industry. From Pullitzer prize-winning journalist Robin Givhan to automotive executive turned panty pusher, Richard Dent III, it’s an interesting mix of professionals working to move fashion forward.
You might say that retail was in June Haynes’ rearing — as a young girl in Guyana she worked in her mother’s haberdashery. Transplanted to New York she studied fashion buying and merchandising at FIT. She got her big break when Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbano, having tapped her on a Barney’s sales floor, tapped her to manage their first U.S. boutique. Haynes eventually oversaw all North American stores, a position that prepared her for her current and most demanding job: since 2003 she’s been senior vice president for retail at Valentino.
(The Wrap) — Pioneering music executive Sylvia Rhone is in talks with bosses at Universal Music Group to exit as president of Universal Motown, a major label arm of the world’s largest music company. Under one scenario, according to two persons familiar with the situation, Rhone — perhaps the industry highest-ranking female and African-American executive — would be head a new production entity fully or partly financed by Universal. ”It’s just too early” to know the outcome of the talks, a confidante of Rhone told The Wrap. Rhone — whose list of new and hit artists ranges from hip hop’s Busta Rhyme to Motown legend Stevie Wonder to R&B star Brandy and Erykah Badu — wasn’t immediately available for comment. Nor could a spokesman for Universal Music be reached.
by Kweli Wright
African American working mothers are making their mark on this generation, especially in the high-powered, demanding business field. Meet some of the best and brightest. Each of these moms has at least one child–some are young children and others are young adults. But what all have in common is that they all have powerful moms who bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan…and help make the world a better place.
Everyone loves a well-made car, but did you know that many of the executives working behind the scenes at the top companies in the auto industry are African American? And our history shows that this is nothing new; the automatic gear shift, the traffic light and the stick shift were all invented by African-Americans. Detroit was once one of the most important destinations for African-Americans migrating from the south because of its reputation for car manufacturing. But success for African-Americans in the auto industry came as a result of a hardship and hard work. Here are some of the present day movers and shakers who are literally driving the automobile industry.
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By: De’Juan Galloway
When a media company can define a generation, it goes without saying that its content and distinctiveness resonate well with the masses. This is the case for MTV; an iconic network that launched in 1981 and has since become a prominent agency influencing popular culture. We have watched music legends build their career on the channel but a facet less known about the network is the business. Meet Damon Burrell, vice president of marketing at MTV Networks. His road to the executive office began at the University of Iowa. He attributes his on-campus marketing experience as key in developing his interest in the business. His relocation from the Midwest to New York City enabled him play ball in the media capital of the world, consequently arriving at MTV. As the VP of marketing his leadership has proven effective. In 2008, MTV’s presence on the social web–a by product of their marketing department–was ranked number eight on Virtue’s 100 Top Social Brands. This year, Burrell and his team are the recipients of an Adweek Buzz award for “Best Out Of Home Advertisement.” In his office overlooking Manhattan’s West Side, Burrell spoke with TAP about his professional journey and the business behind why people “want their MTV”.
How did your career in marketing begin?
I began my career in marketing as early as my Sophomore year in college. I was lucky enough to have landed a job for the University where I was responsible for promoting events, student programs and store sales on campus. My first campaign was actually “Burgers and Fries on sale in the Student Union. Hurry While Supplies Last!” This is the time where I developed a foundation and understanding of marketing, how to manage clients, and how to formulate insights into a target audience. Given that I was an economics major, minor in marketing, it was easier for me to bring analytical concepts into what I was doing from a marketing perspective. As I gained more experience, I realized that I wanted to work at an ad agency and help build brands.
Once you graduated, what where those developmental experiences that led to MTV?
My first job out of college was working for a small advertising agency in Chicago, where I was responsible for many functions. Given the size of the agency it gave me the opportunity to see and participate first hand in the creation of media planning and buying, marketing strategy, creative development, research analysis and event promotion. I really lucked out because typically that level of exposure takes 3-4 years to accumulate and usually over multiple accounts and/or agencies. After a year or two there it was time to move on. I had an opportunity to work with some of the bigger players in the agency world, Doyle Dane Bernach & Ogilvy & Mather, working on blue chip accounts such as State Farm, US West and Ameritrade.
I am extremely thankful for those experiences because they truly gave me a solid foundation and understanding of traditional advertising, marketing and media. However, even with that I still felt as if I needed to round out my marketing background with more of a Digital area of expertise so I moved to New York to begin working for Agency.com, a website development, online advertising and marketing agency . There I handled the Discovery Network account and I was responsible for all the online advertising and website development projects for the Discovery brands in the U.S. This is where my passion for Television and Entertainment was discovered. Discovery led me to MTV and I am now in my fifth year with the network.
What is a typical day like as VP of marketing?
To be honest with you, there really isn’t a typical day. I think that’s the reason why I like being here.
How did yesterday play out?
Yesterday was a mix of putting out fires all day because our fiscal year is coming to a close and we have budget presentations coming up soon. I spent a lot of time reviewing competitive information and figuring out how much money is necessary to spend next year in order to gain increased market share against certain demographics. Additionally, I reviewed the impact of how spending X amount of dollars would impact our overall business.
How has quick-developing technology altered the marketing landscape?
On the consumer side, social media is playing a huge role in how we approach and handle marketing. Back track five years ago, the amount of data regarding individual audiences was available on a monthly, if not quarterly basis. Nowadays, social data is readily available every second. So, the biggest shift is being able to figure out how to adjust and change the way we communicate with our audience in real-time; listen to what they are saying, engage in a two way dialogue and provide them with relevant experiences that bring value.
The social data that’s available is also creating an opportunity to affect business decisions as well. This has put an emphasis on marketing’s ability to show a return on investment beyond traditional brand norms such as Awareness or Intent. Marketing is no longer a department responsible for putting together pretty ad campaigns or television spots. Now marketing has the ability to help inform business strategy due to social data uncovering where both the audience and competitive opportunities exist.
Has interactivity via social media allowed the audience to influence MTV’s programming or anything in terms of operations?
Well, without giving away any competitive secrets, I will say that we’re constantly monitoring the conversations that our audience is having about our brand and what they are saying in regards to our competition. Based on that information, what is heavily influenced is what we say when we go out into the marketplace and to some extent, where we end up focusing our marketing efforts.
How does the marketing team and production collaborate to create an effective strategy to make a show successful?
They know the content better than anyone else. It’s our [marketing's] responsibility to help figure out what’s the best way to get people to watch our shows on an ongoing basis. It’s a constant feeding process of them informing and educating us on the actual content, and in their opinion, the best way to articulate those things to the audience. We combine those components with what we know about the audience and the competition to help formulate a strategy.
(Market Watch)–NORWALK, Conn., Jun 09, 2010 (BUSINESS WIRE) — Xerox Corporation (XRX 8.49, -0.07, -0.82%) today announced the appointment of Kevin M. Warren as president of the U.S. Solutions Group.
Since 2007, Warren has served as chairman, president and chief executive officer of Xerox Canada. He moves to the United States to lead Xerox’s direct sales force that markets and sells Xerox systems and services across the country. He replaces Doug Lord, who is retiring from Xerox after a 34-year career with the company. Warren will report to Russell Peacock, president, Xerox North America. The appointment is effective July 1.
Prior to his position with Xerox Canada, Warren led the transition team for Xerox’s 2007 acquisition of Global Imaging Systems. He also has a strong background in direct sales and sales management, previously serving as head of Xerox’s U.S. Eastern Sales Operations.
Warren began his Xerox career in 1984 as a sales trainee in Washington D.C. He held a number of sales and sales management positions including manager of sales operations, solutions manager for the District of Columbia commercial marketplace, and vice president of Federal Sales for the United States.
Warren earned a bachelor of science degree in finance from Georgetown University in 1984. He is a graduate of the Harvard Business School Advanced Management Program. Last year, he was named one of Black Enterprise magazine’s “100 Most Powerful Executives in Corporate America.” He is an advisory board member of the first international chapter of the National Black MBA Association, and sits on the national board of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. He also is a member of the Executive Leadership Council and the Young Presidents’ Organization, and is a board member of the Conference Board of Canada.
He recently was presented with the 2010 Excellence in Communication Leadership (EXCEL) Award by the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC).
Xerox Corporation is a $22 billion leading global enterprise for business process and document management. Through its broad portfolio of technology and services, Xerox provides the essential back-office support that clears the way for clients to focus on what they do best: their real business. Headquartered in Norwalk, Conn., Xerox provides leading-edge document technology, services, software and genuine Xerox supplies for graphic communication and office printing environments of any size. Through ACS, A Xerox Company, which Xerox acquired in February 2010, Xerox also offers extensive business process outsourcing and IT outsourcing services, including data processing, HR benefits management, finance support, and customer relationship management services for commercial and government organizations worldwide. The 130,000 people of Xerox serve clients in more than 160 countries. For more information, visithttp://www.xerox.com, http://news.xerox.com or http://www.acs-inc.com. For investor information, visit http://www.xerox.com/investor.
Xerox(R) and the sphere of connectivity design are trademarks of Xerox Corporation in the United States and/or other countries.
SOURCE: Xerox Corporation