Celebrating Our Impact, Inspiring Our Future: The ELC Celebrates 35 Years of Black Excellence and Reveals Surprise Game Changer Honoree
On October 14, athlete and social justice advocate, Colin Kaepernick, accepted The Executive Leadership Council 2021 Global Game Changer Award at our Annual Recognition Gala and 35th Anniversary Celebration.
On behalf of the Board of Directors and ELC membership, Board Chair Lloyd W. Brown, II and President and CEO Mike Hyter wish to thank Gala Co-Chair Donna M. Wilson for her tireless work in making this year’s gala a success, notwithstanding her commitment to securing Johnson & Johnson as the lead sponsor for this and next year’s galas!
Lloyd and Mike also thank the 2021 Gala Committee for their leadership in producing such a stellar event, as well as our sponsors. without whom last week’s event would not have happened. Please take a minute to review the full Gala Committee and Sponsor list below.
Prompted by the event’s theme “Celebrating Our Impact, Inspiring Our Future,” Kaepernick praised The ELC’s history and called on Black corporate executives to build futures through collective efforts that do not replicate the very ideas and structures that need to be uprooted to achieve racial and economic equality. Kaepernick underscored the critical need for personal sacrifice and disruption in order to effectively change the status quo and change the narrative for future generations.
The ELC recognized contemporary Black trailblazers, including filmmaker, director, playwright and movie exec Tyler Perry as well as Achievement Award recipients Rosalind Brewer and Thasunda Brown Duckett, who were honored for becoming the second and third ever Black women Fortune 500 CEOs.
In a proud ELC historical moment, The Achievement Award was presented by past Achievement Award honoree, Ursula Burns, the first Black woman CEO in the history of the Fortune 500. Lloyd also recognized ELC Member Mary Winston, who was appointed interim CEO of Bed Bath and Beyond in May 2019 and led the Fortune 500 company for seven months during its search for a permanent successor.
Bank of America Chairman and CEO Brian Moynihan accepted the Corporate Award on behalf of his organization.
Perhaps the biggest stars of the evening were The ELC Scholarship recipients. We awarded a total of $1.3 million in scholarships to 117 of the most brilliant Black undergraduate students today. 67 scholars are Black women, 73 attend an HBCU, and 47 different educational institutions were represented. Click here to learn more about these phenomenal leaders.
The night also featured a tribute to The ELC’s history. We heard from founding members (including Elynor A. Williams, pictured here,) past presidents, and current members who started their journey as ELC scholars and became leaders at some of the world’s largest corporate institutions.
As we reflect on the glory of 35 years of Black Excellence, we are mindful of the words of our Board Chair:
The last few years have been a wake-up call for corporate America. The legacy of our founders demands that we step up and provide the leadership that our community so desperately needs. We proudly embrace our responsibility as ELC members to actively participate in uplifting Black youth, Black talent, Black business, and Black leaders, because that is what we learned from our founders, and that is how we lift each other up.