Blog / October 18, 2019

The ELC Focuses on Strategic Vision 2021 During Gala Week

Gala Week 2019 was one for the record books. Early in the week, The ELC welcomed the top forty-two of this year’s 58 scholarship recipients to the Honors Symposium with a reception at the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art. On Wednesday, nearly one thousand aspiring mid-level managers and executives crammed the Liberty Ballroom at the Marriott Marquis Washington DC to participate in the 25th Annual Mid-Level Managers’ Symposium (MLMS). In this milestone year, we recognized former PepsiCo executives Ronald C. Parker and Maurice Cox, along with the late Dr. Price M. Cobbs, for their leadership roles in creating this signature ELC leadership development and networking program.

Dozens of enterprise CEOs joined their ELC colleagues to participate in the CEO GameChanger Conference, where The ELC and Korn Ferry introduced groundbreaking research on the obstacles to placing more black executives in P&L positions, a pipeline to C-Suite and CEO posts. In a Bloomberg article on the research, it was noted that black executives are often steered to assignments off the path to CEO.

Billionaire Robert F. Smith, the founder, chairman and CEO of Vista Equity Partners, spoke to MLMS and CEO GameChanger conferees, delivering an important message — his success should not be an anomaly. Smith returned to address  an audience of more than 2,300 guests at the Annual Recognition Gala, where he accepted The ELC’s highest honor, the 2019 Achievement Award.

These multiple layered events served as platforms to enlighten, engage and motivate participants to join The ELC on its path to accomplishing its Strategic Vision 2021, to open channels of opportunity for the development of black executives. Goals include The ELC’s “North Star,” increasing the number of ELC members in C-Suites and boardrooms and expanding our emphasis on community.

Among the messages delivered at the Annual Gala, The ELC announced it will invest $2 million in 2020 to launch a series of new philanthropic initiatives to help increase opportunities for young black women and men to succeed as business executives. It’s part of ELC Board Chair Tonie Leatherberry’s Chair’s Initiative to support our communities.

The ELC Legacy Committee also organized two panel discussions, 2020: What’s At Stake—Politically, Economically, Culturally and Economic Empowerment – The State of Black America. With all of the activities during Gala Week, there was still room for a traditional New Orleans style second line to honor and celebrate the contributions of Camilla McGhee, vice president and Chief Corporate Partnership Officer, as she bids farewell to the organization and prepares for the next phase of her career. It was a fitting tribute, leading guests from the Gala to the post-Gala receptions.

Photos from the week’s events are available on The ELC’s Photo Gallery.