2021 ELC Virtual Summer Meeting Recap
Thursday, June 10
Nearly 300 ELC Members gathered virtually over two days for The ELC 2021 Summer Member Meeting. ELC Board Chair Lloyd W. Brown, II and ELC President and CEO Michael C. Hyter hosted the opening session, “Who’s Zooming Who Cocktails & Conversations: An ELC Family Chat.”
Lloyd kicked off the meeting while elegantly displaying the commemorative ELC 35th Anniversary cocktail tumblers and coasters, sent as gifts to registered attendees. Mike introduced a musical performance by Grammy-Award Nominee Melanie Fiona, allowing members to unwind and prepare for the members-only Family Chat. ELC Members Tara Jaye Frank and Keith Pigues facilitated the Family Chat, where members had a free and candid discussion on current societal issues around race, diversity, and the economy. Members recounted personal experiences with addressing these issues at their companies and within their networks, sharing insights into challenges faced, strategies utilized, and ideas on how to measure progress and hold companies accountable.
Finally, the topic of ESG sparked a lengthy discussion. Members surfaced and debated the concept of incorporating metrics around Black issues within ESG reports.
Friday, June 11
STATE OF THE COUNCIL
Friday’s Business Meeting covered the State of the Council, presented by members of The ELC Executive Committee: Chair Lloyd Brown, II, Vice Chair Edward Dandridge, Secretary Valerie Rainford, Treasurer Sena Kwawu, and CEO Mike Hyter. Lloyd thanked the ELC Board and Executive Committee for their tireless efforts to propel the organization forward and covered three key topics:
- Societal issues actively impacting the Black and Black Business Communities and The ELC.
- The ELC’s efforts to move the organization forward despite the societal issues.
- The ELC’s value for and commitment to members.
Lloyd presented his perspective on why The ELC will be:
- More vocal on issues impacting the Black community.
- Actively positioned to help increase Black representation in C-Suites and boardrooms through the CEO’s ELC 2.0 plan.
- Poised and prepared to implement a tightened member nominating and intake process.
Ed briefed members on reviews of accounting and investment services, and the retention of accounting firm Mitchell Titus. Valerie reviewed the Board Governance process involving bylaws and charters, and the ELC Board composition analysis and selection process. Sena presented a healthy financial picture with adequate resources to meet the operational needs of the organization and an ambitious philanthropic strategy. He also announced the selection of a new, DC-based investment firm, Rock Creek, to manage The ELC’s portfolio.
CEO STRATEGIC FRAMEWORK: ELC 2.0
Mike detailed his experiences as CEO over his first 100 days, working closely with the senior leadership team and staff, the ELC board, and strategic partners to craft a plan for preparing The ELC to celebrate its first 35 years with an eye toward the future. Having pledged to Listen…Learn…and Assess, Mike shared his ELC 2.0 strategic framework after conducting numerous meetings and conversations during his town halls with members and other stakeholders. He outlined a framework for a clear, thoughtful, and results-oriented approach to addressing the key pillars and values guiding the organization’s success.
Advocacy & Thought Leadership
Being mindful of ELC members and the Black community, Mike said The ELC will redouble its efforts in advocacy, positioning itself to have a bigger voice in government affairs, working with a leading public policy agency and strengthening its existing nonpartisan relationships with the Executive and Legislative branches of government. The new advocacy initiative will position The ELC as a champion for pushing for C-Suite and board diversity, greater resources for HBCUs, and closing the Racial Wealth Gap.
With a higher focus on expanding our thought leadership, we presented opportunities to elevate the ELC’s unique leadership position, including the launch of ELC’s CEO LinkedIn Chat. The monthly series showcases thought leaders, the first of which successfully featured the authors of the Women of Color research. Also, The ELC partnered with Black Enterprise to sponsor the Economic Equity & Racial Justice Town Hall Series, another platform to elevate The ELC’s voice. “One Year After George Floyd – Has Corporate America Made Good On Its Economic Equity Pledges” was the subject of the first Town Hall and featured panelists such as Ben Crump, Bakari Sellers and ELC Member Jerri DeVard. The partnership with Black Enterprise is part of a larger Black media engagement strategy that will invest $1 million by The ELC over several years to support Black-owned media outlets.
Mike announced a new philanthropic strategy called BUILD, GROW, PROTECT that will focus on closing the racial wealth gap. It consists of a $6 million commitment over the next three years to help build capacity in nonprofits that serve Black communities, contribute to creating programs designed to grow wealth in the Black community, and invest in programs that aim to protect our civil rights, our history, and our culture. The strategy announcement was timed to serve as the focal point of ELC’s 2021 Juneteenth commemoration. Mike emphasized that the new philanthropic strategy does not replace ELC’s existing scholarship program. The organization plans to award more than $1 million in scholarships to 100 students at this year’s Virtual Gala on October 14.
The exceptional work of the Institute for Leadership Development & Research was recognized for generating more than $5 million in revenue from its programs that reached more participants virtually, and the successful introduction of several new programs. The Power of Women at Work and Black Men in Leadership are two gender-based programs that were well-attended. The Institute’s Custom Program Offerings for individual companies are in high demand, and two new programs, Decoded for Black professionals in Tech and Levels for Black professionals in the music industry will be added to the Institute’s portfolio. These newer programs, along with the Mid-Level Managers’ Symposium, Leadership Development Week and C-Suite Academy, have the collective potential to take the Institute’s revenues to $7 million annually.
Social media played a big role in shining a light on the accomplishments of ELC members, with more than 100 appointments to boards this year and The ELC’s referrals for 150 board searches. Recognizing the opportunity, NACD Fellowship certification was added to the corporate board curriculum and corporate board development sessions are now available to all ELC members, beginning with two sessions offered to Summer Member Meeting attendees.
Lloyd and Mike fielded questions from ELC members during a Q&A Session incorporated into the meeting. Members utilized the opportunity to clarify points addressed during the Business Session. They also raised questions about membership intake and member value, and expressed a desire to maximize their engagement with the organization and fellow members.
CORPORATE BOARD SESSIONS
Member Services curated a stellar corporate board panel entitled Perspectives from the Boardroom, featuring ELC members Arnold Donald, Deb Sandler, Sheila Talton, and James White. Moderated by Dmitri Stockton, panelists shared their experiences and offered guidance as sitting corporate board directors.
The event closed with a session entitled Advancing Black Directors. Members were treated to a special presentation by a highly regarded NACD Facilitator, Teresa M. Sebastian. This president and CEO of Dominion Asset Group led an insights-driven session outlining specific recommendations and suggestions on navigating the corporate board director selection process.