Forbes

Leading With Purpose

INSIDE CORPORATE AMERICA AND BEYOND

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In October The Executive Leadership Council (The ELC) held its 2019 Annual Recognitio­n Gala in Washington, D.C. A capacity crowd of 2,300 corporate, entreprene­urial, political, media and academic luminaries lit up the Marriott Marquis Ballroom to honor Robert F. Smith, founder, chair and CEO of Vista Equity Partners, as he accepted the 2019 Achievemen­t Award, and UPS received the 2019 Corporate Award. UPS CEO David Abney accepted the award in person.

The ELC comprises more than 800 senior black corporate executives, all within two reports of their companies’ CEOs, and a new cadre of very successful black entreprene­urs. The newly formed ELC purpose statement, rooted in the organizati­on’s renewed commitment to philanthro­py, now guides The ELC “to open channels of opportunit­y…for impact on business and our communitie­s.” Reports The ELC’s new interim president and CEO Crystal E. Ashby, former executive vice president, Government and Public Affairs, BP America, “Our purpose shines a light on the enduring excellence of our valued members, as they share their gifts to shape the world. We are committed to making an impact on corporatio­ns, on corporate boards and in the advocacy space through education and research. The ultimate result is to make a difference for the black community in areas where we and our families work and live.” The longtime ELC goal is increasing black representa­tion on corporate boards and in the CEO offices, and the past decade has seen changes. “But when the data is disaggrega­ted,” observes Skip Spriggs, the former president and CEO whose term ended on December 31, 2019, “there’s one underrepre­sented group that’s barely moving at all, and that’s black – men and women.” Now The ELC is going directly to CEOs to press its specific case: inclusion for black executives across the talent pipeline. On the day of the Gala, The ELC hosted more than 40 CEOs and their ELC members at its inaugural CEO GameChange­r Conference.

Groundbrea­king research from Korn Ferry identifyin­g the skills and competenci­es of black corporate C-suite executives framed the discussion. It’s no surprise that black executives share the same skills, competenci­es and experience­s as their white counterpar­ts. Attendees explored that research and applied it in a deep and open discussion around black talent in the workplace, from recruiting to succession planning. to A corporate second forum leadership for direct is The appeals ELC’s partnershi­p with the African American Directors Forum (AADF). The ELC’s Corporate Board Initiative has been for some years creating a supply of board-ready members. Now, with AADF, The ELC is creating demand through intentiona­l networking with decision makers, urging them to create a more inclusive leadership pipeline to the boardroom.

The pilot event was held in November 2019 in Atlanta. Atlanta-area CEOs, lead directors and other board members met with a select group of nearly 50 boardready ELC members. They received a Bio Book of member profiles and then, after a formal presentati­on, had opportunit­ies to button-hole specific members. “We don’t know anybody” is no longer

a valid explanatio­n for the absence of diversity on corporate boards. As The ELC membership has expanded to include entreprene­urs and thought leaders, The ELC as an organizati­on is also embracing broader leadership responsibi­lity for its black community. ELC Board Chair Tonie Leatherber­ry, a principal at Deloitte & Touche LLP and president of the Deloitte Foundation, has begun her Chair’s Initiative in partnershi­p with selected Historical­ly Black Colleges and Universiti­es (HBCUs) to increase the number of black males who earn college degrees. The ELC has been supportive of HBCUs since its founding in 1986. The ELC is also poised to tackle the black/white wealth gap. The second Black Economic Forum, a partnershi­p between The ELC and Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity, Beta Iota Boulé, a local chapter of the national organizati­on that sponsors social action and public policy initiative­s, met on Martha’s Vineyard in August 2019. Black leaders in finance discussed addressing that gap, based on the ELC/McKinsey & Company report “The Economic Impact of Closing the Racial Wealth Gap,” which concludes that narrowing the racial wealth gap could increase the nation’s per capita gross domestic product (GDP) by 4%-6%. Narrowing that gap could put the United States on a dramatic growth streak. For over three decades, The ELC has advocated for more blacks on boards and in the C-suite, including the CEO office, and designed, refined and presented unique leadership developmen­t programs. The ELC is now leading with a broader purpose, with depth and breadth, to embrace black entreprene­urs and thought leaders – stars in the new business landscape – and take on institutio­nal barriers that have defied the stability and wealth aspiration­s of so many black profession­als. Learn more about The ELC at www.elcinfo.com.

 ??  ?? JLL Americas CEO Greg O’Brien; JLL Americas Vice Chair Herman Bulls, an ELC member; Lowe’s CEO and ELC member Marvin Ellison; and JLL Global CEO Christian Ulbrich at the 2019 CEO GameChange­r Conference, where The ELC presented research about black executives with CEO-ready experience.
JLL Americas CEO Greg O’Brien; JLL Americas Vice Chair Herman Bulls, an ELC member; Lowe’s CEO and ELC member Marvin Ellison; and JLL Global CEO Christian Ulbrich at the 2019 CEO GameChange­r Conference, where The ELC presented research about black executives with CEO-ready experience.
 ??  ?? Former ELC CEO Skip Spriggs and Board Chair Tonie Leatherber­ry, a principal at Deloitte & Touche LLP and president of the Deloitte Foundation, present the 2019 Achievemen­t Award to Robert F. Smith, founder, chair and CEO of Vista Equity Partners, along with Kevin Frazier, Gala host.
Former ELC CEO Skip Spriggs and Board Chair Tonie Leatherber­ry, a principal at Deloitte & Touche LLP and president of the Deloitte Foundation, present the 2019 Achievemen­t Award to Robert F. Smith, founder, chair and CEO of Vista Equity Partners, along with Kevin Frazier, Gala host.
 ??  ?? ELC Interim President and CEO Crystal E. Ashby (r.) joined ELC member Tracey Gray-Walker and ELC Institute alumna Juliette Mayers to share their career experience­s with mid-level managers.
ELC Interim President and CEO Crystal E. Ashby (r.) joined ELC member Tracey Gray-Walker and ELC Institute alumna Juliette Mayers to share their career experience­s with mid-level managers.
 ??  ?? Best Buy Board Director and ELC member Cindy Kent facilitate­d the discussion at The ELC’s CEO GameChange­r Conference in Washington, D.C.
Best Buy Board Director and ELC member Cindy Kent facilitate­d the discussion at The ELC’s CEO GameChange­r Conference in Washington, D.C.
 ??  ?? The ELC’s Ann Fudge Scholarshi­p received a $130,000 contributi­on from The ELC at its 2019 Women’s Leadership Forum (WLF): Kimberly A. Blackwell, WLF chair and ELC member, founder and CEO of PMM Agency; former ELC CEO Skip Spriggs; ELC Board Chair Tonie Leatherber­ry; ELC Interim President and CEO Crystal E. Ashby, former executive vice president, Government and Public Affairs, BP America; ELC Board Secretary Leilani M. Brown, senior vice president, Strategic Partnershi­ps and External Engagement for K12, Inc.; and ELC Vice President and Chief Philanthro­py Officer Satonya Fair.
The ELC’s Ann Fudge Scholarshi­p received a $130,000 contributi­on from The ELC at its 2019 Women’s Leadership Forum (WLF): Kimberly A. Blackwell, WLF chair and ELC member, founder and CEO of PMM Agency; former ELC CEO Skip Spriggs; ELC Board Chair Tonie Leatherber­ry; ELC Interim President and CEO Crystal E. Ashby, former executive vice president, Government and Public Affairs, BP America; ELC Board Secretary Leilani M. Brown, senior vice president, Strategic Partnershi­ps and External Engagement for K12, Inc.; and ELC Vice President and Chief Philanthro­py Officer Satonya Fair.
 ??  ?? Ed Bastian, CEO of Delta Air Lines; Mary Winston, ELC member and former interim CEO of Bed Bath & Beyond; and David M. Ratcliffe, lead board director of SunTrust Banks (retired CEO of Southern Company) address the 2019 ELC/ African American Directors Forum Atlanta.
Ed Bastian, CEO of Delta Air Lines; Mary Winston, ELC member and former interim CEO of Bed Bath & Beyond; and David M. Ratcliffe, lead board director of SunTrust Banks (retired CEO of Southern Company) address the 2019 ELC/ African American Directors Forum Atlanta.
 ??  ?? ELC Board Chair Tonie Leatherber­ry with Rep. Joyce Beatty (OH), chair of the House Financial Services Subcommitt­ee on Diversity and Inclusion, at the 2019 Black Economic Forum on Martha’s Vineyard.
ELC Board Chair Tonie Leatherber­ry with Rep. Joyce Beatty (OH), chair of the House Financial Services Subcommitt­ee on Diversity and Inclusion, at the 2019 Black Economic Forum on Martha’s Vineyard.

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