All Articles Tagged "african american professionals"
by Sue Naylor
African Americans constitute nearly 13% of the population of the United States. However, in 2007, they owned a mere 7.1% of the companies in America and received a little over 40 cents for each dollar earned by firms that were owned solely by whites.
The top 5 CEOs and African American businessmen are Kenneth I. Chenault, the chairman and CEO of American Express, the former CEO of Young & Rubicam Brands who is now on the broad of directors at GE, Ann M. Fudge, Alwin Lewis who is the President and CEO of the K-Mart Holding Company, Renetta McCann who is the CE for Starcom MediaVest Group and is number 27 on the Forbes List of Most Powerful Women and Clarence Otis, Jr. who became the head of a Fortune 500 company Darden Restaurants when he was just 48 years old.
The other African American entrepreneurs who started their own companies and emerged highly successful are Tyler Perry who is a director, actor, producer and author, Lisa Irby who started the SEO companies 2CreateaWebsite.com, 2PlanaWebsite.com and Websitebabble.com, Sherrell Smith who is the independent owner of an Allen Tate Real Estate Company in North Carolina, the owner of Rhodes Clothiers located in Nashville, Marvin B. Rhodes and the President and CEO of the Atlanta Metropolitan Black Chamber of Commerce, Michael T. Hill.
Today, there are a number of notable African American entrepreneurs who beat all odds and emerged victorious in a situation where business owned by them were 35% more likely to fail when compared with other white-owned business.
(Washington Post) — Dialing back government support for District-based Fannie Mae and McLean-based Freddie Mac could have far-reaching implications for minority financial professionals in the Washington region. Not only are the mortgage finance giants two of the largest employers in the area, with a total of 10,000 workers, but many of those positions are held by people of color. Were the government-sponsored entities (GSE) eliminated, as the Obama administration is proposing, that may leave thousands of these professionals looking for a place to land.
“The private financial industry has not historically been as open to minorities as the GSEs,” said Anthony P. Carnevale, director of the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce. “I don’t know why we would expect the private sector to hire as aggressively, first of all locally and second of all in the minority community, as Fannie and Freddie have.” The mortgage twins are widely considered progressive in their hiring practices, routinely recognized by publications such as Black Enterprise and Working Mother for efforts to recruit and retain ethnic minorities and women. Both entities have especially been lauded for their continued commitment to these practices throughout the downturn.
(Chicago Tribune) — A Chicago Bears fan, Dwayne Hirsch was happy when he was finally able to get together a group of friends to watch the games on TV. What he found at the get-togethers, however, was that a lot of time was spent talking about work and career dreams. Hirsch, a radio exec, thought, “Why not bring these like-minded people, many of them small-business owners, together to network?” He and AnDrea “Fuzzy” Dixon, a bartender who already was organizing a Monday-night networking event at a South Loop bar, turned it into an event that combined socializing over pizza and drinks and formal business pitches. That was two years ago. The free event, Business Spotlight Network, outgrew the South Loop location, and Hirsch moved it to the Red Kiva lounge in the West Loop, where 50 to 150 people attend the meetups each Tuesday night. He also changed the format, setting it up like a talk show. The Crete resident says he has plans to start a south suburban event this spring on a different night. Presenters varied, from a pastor to a magician to politicians, said Hirsch, 39, development director for Real Estate on Radio. There’s a waiting list to get onstage, he said. ”Tonight, we have an artsy theme,” Hirsch said, picking up the microphone on Red Kiva’s small stage on a recent Tuesday. He and Dixon are co-hosts, jumping in with questions to keep the presenters on their toes.
Contrary to popular belief, most people don’t know what they want to do by the time they finish college. But since many professionals want to jump on the career ladder soon after graduation, the decision to go off track years later to pursue a more desired career can be a very difficult one. Kerry Hannon has penned a book called “What’s Next? Ten Tips for Career Changers” to address such concerns. If you’re thinking of changing your job and changing your life, take heed of these simple 10 tips from the book.
Understand what’s behind your desire to make a change.
Sometimes people can think of an alternative career because they’re fed up with their current job. Make sure you are desiring a career change for all the right reasons and take your time in terms of framing your transition. Hannon suggests trying out your new imagined career by dabbling in that type of work.
Get your life in order.
Get physically, financially and spiritually fit advises Hannon. Since change is taxing, making sure your foundation is secure enough to handle the challenges is key. Being physically fit can help one handle stress, being debt-free releases a lot of worry, and spirituality can help guide your trajectory.
(Black Enterprise) — Using the “Responsibility” platform and positioning, Paul G. Alexander, Senior Vice President, Communications for Liberty Mutual Group, Inc. is the innovator that builds the brand of the nation’s fifth largest property and casualty insurer. To promote the company’s responsibility theme, Alexander went to one of the most iconic figures on the planet: Oprah Winfrey. Since April 2010, Liberty Mutual has been spreading the message of Oprah’s “No Phone Zone,” a campaign to end distracted driving habits that kill nearly 6,000 Americans a year.
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 Kweli Wright
Sure, there are some great black women music artists, but what’s even more impressive are the women behind the scenes. The deal takers and contract makers, the women who “make it happen.” Some of them you know and some you’ll get to know right here, but they all have one thing in common, they are the women behind the music.
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By Sonya Kimble-Ellis
According to the directory of African-American Architects, there are less than 2,000 licensed architects in the United States. That number, however, doesn’t diminish the contributions of these professionals on local and national scales. Their work has been underwritten by the accomplishments of pioneering African American architects who came before them. Some of them include Albert Cassell, Norma Sklarek, Paul Williams, Robert Taylor, Max Bond and others. In celebrating this fascinating industry and the African-Americans who thrive in it, we’ve compiled a list of 7 successful architects who are making major contributions to the American landscape.
Curtis J. Moody
Curtis J. Moody is an award-winning architect who received the Whitney M. Young, Jr. award for Outstanding African-American Architect in the United States. He has also received 26 awards from the National Organization of Minority Architects and 23 from the American Institute of Architects. His Columbus, OH firm, Moody-Nolan, Inc., was founded in 1982, with Howard E. Nolan. The company specializes in architecture, interior design and civil engineering. Past projects include North Carolina Central University Pearson Cafeteria, Eric Kunzel Center for Performing Arts & Education in Cincinnati, and Columbus Metropolitan Library. Moody has degrees in Science and Architecture from Ohio State University. He also attended Harvard Graduate School of Design. Moody-Nolan, Inc. has been credited with doing more than several billion dollars in construction since its existence.
By Steven Barboza
As the black owner of a hair salon with such celebrity clientele as Angela Bassett, Paula Patton, Phylicia Rashad, Diana Ross and others, Daisy Curbeon managed a staff of six hair stylists for more than 10 years. A former runway model, she had worked her way up from sweeping beauty shop floors to styling for the stars. After opening a salon on Manhattan’s posh Park Avenue, she ran into resistance from some of her own black employees, women who “dissed” her largely because of race.
“Because I’m a black boss, they thought they could come in late,” Curbeon said. “If they had some daddy-mama drama, they might not come in at all. You know, a white salon wouldn’t put up with that. But in a black salon, I’d have to deal with it and be sympathetic because I’m a black woman too.”
She added bitterly: “There was too much familiarity and lack of respect because of race. Familiarity breeds contempt. People try to fit in like family, and then it becomes a problem at work.”
Curbeon’s difficulties no doubt were partly due to her informal management style, but her experiences are not unique; they’re just not widely discussed—in public. In truth, many black managers don’t care to see themselves as too lenient on “their own,” so this “race secret” is glossed over among friends. And business school professors are only now scratching their heads, trying to develop theories on how to deal with this peculiar racial dilemma.
The New Power Brokers
The issue is especially pertinent today, though, because a new “black power” is taking shape nationwide, and black leaders are better positioned than ever to make hiring decisions, from the variety store to the boardroom to the corridors of political power. The nation now has 2 million black-owned businesses.
In addition, the nation has tens of thousands of black executives, several hundred black directors of Fortune 500 firms, 650 black mayors, a handful of black governors—and its first black President, a shrewd and savvy operator credited with running the finest campaign ever launched by a candidate for our highest office.
Despite this clout, blacks are suffering disproportionately in the Great Recession. According to September data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, black male unemployment rose from 16.7% to 17.3%, compared to a rate increase of 8.8% to 8.9% for white males. Thus, black male unemployment is 94% higher than the rate for white men. The unemployment rate for black women rose from 12.9% to 13.2%, whereas white women did not see an increase.
African-Americans cannot afford to let insubordination serve as an excuse for not getting hired. Yet, it is a real, though mostly unspoken, concern among black bosses. While black–on-black disrespect on the job is hardly universal, it does occur when black employees use common racial bonds as a pass to excuse under-performance.
Slack performance can mean the difference between success and failure for black-run organizations, from barbershops and banks to charter schools and tech firms. Sabotaging a manager’s effectiveness could prevent a firm from winning new business, hamper overall work quality, or prevent a firm from gaining access to traditional pools of capital—and black-owned firms already face higher hurdles in this area than non-minority firms.
Off The Record, Here’s The Real Deal …
Many black executives won’t even discuss this issue “on the record” for fear of causing friction among employees, or because they’d just as soon keep the company spotlight off a hidden race problem, especially one in which they themselves might be enmeshed. Others are altruistic about their avoidance of this issue, saying that revealing this problem might put a damper on opportunities for blacks to climb the corporate hierarchy.
Off the record, however, these same black bosses and entrepreneurs can easily recall black-on-black impertinence, ranging from backtalk to a “do-it-yourself” demeanor that could be grounds for dismissal.
“An African-American manager asked his black subordinate to schedule travel arrangements,” a nonprofit executive confided. “The employee felt it could have been done by the manager. You could tell from her tone, which was entirely too familiar for the workplace. It’s challenging on the management side because you can’t respond as you would to a family member, and that’s where tension comes in. An African American manager needs to be able to lead in such a way that’s going to cultivate the support and respect he or she needs to get the job done.”
“Our book is not a page turner in the usual sense,” said Thomas Kochman of the book he co-authored with his wife Jean Mavrelis. “It’s a book that requires some thought and reflection. One of the strengths of it is that people can go away with accurate research and information that will help them climb that corporate ladder.” What their book, Corporate Tribalism, may lack in entertainment, it certainly makes up for in value. It chronicles more than 20 years worth of research from two cultural anthropologists about the implications and affects of cultural differences in corporate environments.
Mavrelis and Kochman are diversity training veterans, having conducted training in the field since its inception in the 1980s and working with companies like AT&T, Boeing and McDonald’s. Passed over for a seemingly well-deserved promotion? Fade into the background in the boardroom? Kochman and Mavrelis argue that in some cases it has less to do with the quality of work or ideas, but more to do with the quantity of cultural differences that can keep some ethnic groups from relating to those in the mainstream.
“The whole goal of our book is to develop and promote multicultural flexibility,” said Kochman. “It’s not to make everybody the same, but to develop the ability to manage differences.” The concentration on ingrained cultural differences as opposed to the skin-deep brand of diversity training is what makes their services resonate so personally with their clients.
They examine how different cultural practices relate to those in the mainstream (white) culture in corporate environments. Kochman explains that while some cultures are taught to be more reserved and tend to shy away from being braggadocios about their work, it can translate into meaning that person is not assertive enough for a leadership position in mainstream corporate America.
“It’s not politically correct anymore to be racist,” Mavrelis said. “So people discriminate based on culture and a flippant comment such as ‘she’s not leadership material’ can be career ending.”