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The Executive Leadership Council (ELC) is a national organization comprised of current and former African-American CEOs and senior executives at Fortune 500 and equivalent companies. For more than 25 years, the ELC has worked to build an inclusive business leadership pipeline and to empower African-American corporate leaders to make significant and impactful contributions in the global marketplace and their communities.

With more than 500 members, one-third of them women, In 2011, the ELC aligned around its five-year strategic goals to increase the number of African Americans serving in CEO positions and those one and two levels below by a net addition of at least one per Fortune 500 company and to increase the number of seats held by African Americans on the boards of publicly traded companies by 200. These aspirations will help advance innovation and the competitiveness of corporations, ensuring the long-term success of communities by bringing diverse thinking to the decision-making table.

The ELC’s related charitable organization, the Executive Leadership Foundation, focuses on improving local communities and helping disadvantaged groups within the broader society. The 501(c)(3) affiliate supports education programs and provides scholarships to deserving students interested in business and corporate careers.

Programs & Events

The ELC is committed to advancing the role and contributions of African-American executives and preparing the next generation of corporate leaders through a series of programs and events.

CEO Diversity Summit:
This half-day summit focuses on issues of diversity and inclusion in corporate America. The CEOs of Fortune 500 companies and ELC members convene to discuss insights, best practices and tools to advance the business case for diversity and inclusion.

Corporate Board Initiative:
This program is sponsored by Kraft and Heidrick & Struggles, and the purpose is to enhance the preparedness of African Americans for membership on corporate boards. It builds awareness, improves readiness, and enhances the visibility of ELC members who are interested in and actively pursuing board service. In addition to general membership events, the cohort group participates in workshops, webinars, individual coaching sessions, networking receptions, panel discussions, and board related conferences as part of a comprehensive development track.

Women’s Leadership Symposium:
The annual leadership development symposium convenes senior-level African-American women executives and leaders in the corporate, public policy, legislative, and academic arenas. The symposium offers networking opportunities and features keynote addresses and panel discussions that focus on important topics such as the experiences of African-American women in corporate leadership, tools for obtaining and maintaining power, and strategies for advancement in corporate America.

Leadership Development Week:
This program provides executive seminars, peer coaching and leadership opportunities to help mid-career and senior-level executives with their personal and professional development. It features three core development programs, which target each level of the pipeline: Bright Futures (first-time managers, new project leaders, team leaders, or individual contributors), Strategic Pathways (mid-career to senior- level black women executives and professionals) and Strengthening the Pipeline (senior project leaders, senior managers, directors, and new vice presidents).

Mid-Level Managers’ Symposium:
The annual symposium is comprised of panels featuring ELC members and other corporate executives who provide best practices, career strategies and insights about the corporate and business skills needed for mid-level managers to advance in corporate America.

Award for Excellence in Business Commentary:
Each year, the nation’s top business students compete in a nationwide writing competition on a specific business topic. Ten winners are selected to receive cash awards, summer corporate internships and a personal introduction to corporate America by ELC members in New York and Washington, D.C.

Alvaro L. Martins and Ann Fudge Scholars:
The Alvaro L. Martins program provides scholarships to deserving students at Howard University in Washington, D.C., the alma mater of ELC’s founding member and its first President and CEO Alvaro L. Martins. The Ann Fudge Scholars program, named after the trailblazing former CEO of Young & Rubicam Brands, is a two-year scholarship and leadership development experience open to African-American female scholars at both the undergraduate and MBA graduate levels.

National Business Case Competition:
Each year, MBA students from around the country submit case studies on current business challenges facing the corporate world. The competition rewards top students with scholarships and corporate internships.

Annual Recognition Gala
The Gala celebrates the business achievements of African-American executives, entrepreneurs, thought leaders and academics supporting diversity and inclusion in corporate America. The event also recognizes corporations demonstrating policies and practices that promote African Americans and their contributions. Awards given include:


  • The Alvaro L. Martins Heritage Award, which celebrates the African-American business legacy

  • The Achievement Award honoring African-American business achievement

  • The The Corporate Award in recognition of achievement on behalf of African Americans

  • The Executive Leadership Council “Diamond Leadership” Award applauds $1 million dollar corporate contributions towards ELC initiatives or new programs

Community Impact:
The ELC has identified three grant recipients under its Community Impact program, including LEAD, INROADS, and A Better Chance. These organizations are working to close the achievement gap for African-American high school and middle school students and prepare the next generation of leaders.

calibr was initially founded in 1999 as an affiliate of the Executive Leadership Council. In recent years, it became a separate entity with its own 501 (c) (3) status. It is a professional organization that offers career and professional development, community service opportunities, and points of connectivity for mid-career African-American executives.


The ELC produces research reports on corporate diversity, specifically Board of Directors, in conjunction with the Alliance for Board Diversity (ABD). The ELC is a founding member of ABD, which also includes Catalyst, Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility (HACR), Leadership Association for Asian Pacifics, Inc. (LEAP), and the Prout Group. In 2013, the ELC will take the lead on releasing a new study in partnership with ABD on women and minorities on Fortune 500 boards.

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The Council Community Outreach
The Executive Leadership Foundation selected Leadership Education And Development (LEAD), as the recipient of a $500,000 grant, provided through the Foundation’s Community Impact Initiative. LEAD is a nationally recognized leadership development organization.  It offers minority high school students multi-week residential academic, social, and developmental immersion programs at top business and engineering schools during the summer, preparing them for future global business leadership.  Member corporations such as Exxon Mobil, JPMorgan Chase, Deloitte and UBS, among others, sponsor the organization.  More . . .

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