The Executive Leadership Council Concludes Two-Day Event Focused on Identifying Key Strategies for Strengthening Historically Black Colleges and Universities

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Alexandria, VA (March 18, 2015) – The Executive Leadership Council (ELC) hosted its 2015 Winter General Membership Meeting on March 5-6 in Middleburg, VA. The two-day event brought together global black business leaders with key administrators from historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), policy makers and strategic partners for a candid discussion on the current state and future of HBCUs.

The event revealed the many strengths of our nation’s historically black colleges and universities while helping to identify tangible solutions to the critical issues that are challenging their existence.

“The ELC has adopted External Advocacy as one of our key strategic pillars with our efforts being centered on education,” said Ronald C. Parker, President and CEO, The Executive Leadership Council. “As an organization for senior black executives, we felt compelled to focus on the state of historically black colleges and universities because of their importance and relevance as a resource for developing future generations of global black leaders.”

A highlight of the two-day event featured an unscripted conversation with key thought leaders in higher education, including Dr. George E. Cooper, Executive Director of The White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Dr. Cooper was joined by leadership from the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education (NAFEO), the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) and the Thurgood Marshall College Fund who discussed ways ELC members, corporations and influencers can advocate on behalf of strengthening HBCUs, both administratively and financially.

The event kicked off on Thursday, March 5 with an Opening Session entitled “An Executive Conversation with HBCU Presidents and Provosts.” The panel featured Dr. Ronald Mason, Jr., President of Southern University and A&M College Systems and Delaware State University President Dr. Harry L. Williams. The two engaged ELC members and invited guests in a conversation on the value of corporations and business leaders forging relationships with HBCUs.

“This is a rare and special group of executive officers from Fortune 500 companies [who happen to be African-American] who have a lot of influence and insight,” said Dr. Mason. “We had a chance to talk about historically black colleges and universities and their value to America and how we can work together to help them survive and thrive over time.”

Dr. Williams continued, “Being able to interact with people who bring best practice models in terms of how to build relationships for HBCUs with these major corporations is one of the advantages for me personally being here at this meeting.”

On Friday, March 6, the conversation continued with ELC members from John Deere, Duke Energy and DuPont joining the “HBCU Boards of Directors” panel discussion. The group shared their experiences, insights and recommendations for serving on HBCU boards as current board members at historically black institutions. The panel was followed by “A Great Mission Needs Money” which included a conversation with Mr. Sidney Evans, Vice President of Finance and Management at Morgan State University who provided recommendations on best funding sources for HBCUs.

The event concluded with ELC member and the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) Board Chair Reatha Clark King, Ph.D., sharing candid insights and a wealth of knowledge on board disruption and managing shareholder activism. This session was held as part of The ELC’s Corporate Board Initiative (CBI) designed to prepare black executives for service on corporate boards.

About The Executive Leadership Council:

The Executive Leadership Council, an independent non-profit 501(c)(6) corporation founded in 1986, is the pre-eminent membership organization committed to increasing the number of global black executives in C-Suites, on corporate boards and in global enterprises. Comprised of more than 500 current and former black CEOs, board members and senior executives at Fortune 500 companies and equivalents, its members work to build an inclusive business leadership pipeline that empowers global black leaders to make impactful contributions to the marketplace and the global communities they serve. For more information, please visit

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