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ELC Members Hold 2019 Winter Meeting in San Diego

March 13th, 2019


The 2019 Winter Meeting got off to a fast start with a series of board and committee meetings, and a special orientation and celebratory dinner for new members, attended by The ELC board and Legacy Committee members. ELC President and CEO Skip Spriggs and ELC Board Chair Tonie Leatherberry joined former ELC Treasurer Lloyd W. Brown II and Immediate Past ELC Board Vice Chair Donna M. Wilson to welcome nearly 55 of the 67 new members in the Class of 2019.

ELC Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Kelly Veney Brinkley interviewed ELC Founding Member James "Jim" G. Kaiser during a Fireside Chat, where he recalled the origins of the organization and spoke about the value of active, engaged membership. A commemorative dinner was held for the group off site at the Pacific Coast Grill.


ELC Board Vice Chair Crystal E. Ashby, past ELC Board Director Dianne Ashley and ELC Board Chair Tonie Leatherberry.

Thursday, March 7

Following meetings of The ELC Board and committees, all members gathered to witness and applaud new members as they were inducted into The ELC and pinned. Concurrent afternoon sessions offered an orientation for CBI (Corporate Board Initiative) Cohort 4 and a panel discussion on Opportunity Zones Investments presented by the Legacy Committee.


Newly inducted members of The ELC gathered for a commemorative photo with Executive Committee members of The ELC Board.

CBI sessions featured CBI Co-Chair Billy Dexter, Partner with Heidrick & Struggles; Gena Ashe, President & CEO of GLA Legal Advisory Group LLC; Vanessa Griffith, Partner, Labor & Employment with Vinson & Elkins LLP; Ibi Krukrubo, Managing Partner with EY in San Jose, CA; and Hilda Pinnix-Ragland, former Vice President of Public Affairs with Duke Energy.


CBI Speakers Gena Ashe and Ibi Krukrubo.

The Opportunity Zones Investments panel featured Clarence McAllister of Fortis; Donray Von of Castleberry & Co.; Walter L. Davis of Peachtree Providence Partners Holding Company, LLC; Sekou Kaalund, Head of Advancing Black Pathways for JP Morgan Chase; and moderator Sam Combs III, Managing Partner and CEO of COMSTAR Advisors, and co-chair of The ELC Legacy Committee.


(l-r) ELC Legacy Committee Co-Chair Sam Combs III; Opportunity Zones Panelists Clarence McAllister, Donray Von, Walter L. Davis and moderator Sekou Kaalund; ELC Legacy Committee Co-Chair Jim Kaiser.


A “Members-Only” private dinner with “America’s #1 Crisis Management Expert” and longtime friend of The ELC, Judy A. Smith, included a discussion about reputation, personal brand and crisis management moderated by ELC Board Secretary Leilani M. Brown.

Friday, March 8

ELC President and CEO Skip Spriggs and Board Chair Tonie Leatherberry were joined by members of The ELC Board Executive Committee to fully brief members on the status and direction of The ELC. ELC Vice Chair Crystal E. Ashby, Secretary Leilani M. Brown and Treasurer Gregory E. Deavens joined Skip and Tonie to present information about the strategic direction of the organization, its governance and the state of its finances. Later in the day they reconvened to hold a fireside chat to cover the Strategic Vision and member value proposition in greater detail, and answer questions from members.


ELC Board Officers Gregory E. Deavens, Tonie Leatherberry, Leilani M. Brown, and Crystal E. Ashby with ELC President & CEO Skip Spriggs, and ELC Board Directors Geri P. Thomas, Marc Howze, Ken B. Robinson, Sena Kwawu, Nancy Armand, Gerald T. Charles, Jr., Immediate Past ELC Board Chair Orlando Ashford and Jeff Webster.


Tonie Leatherberry of Deloitte addresses her first ELC Membership Meeting as ELC Board Chair.

Late morning, a panel moderated by Kimberly Blackwell, CEO of PMM Agency, discussed recent instances of racial insensitivity by several luxury brands. Panelists included Laysha Ward, EVP and Chief External Engagement Officer of Target, Stacey Hightower, CEO of Omnicom Specialty Marketing Group, and Ukonwa Ojo, CMO of Coty, Inc.


Luxury Brands panel at the Winter Meeting: Ukonwa Ojo, Stacey Hightower, Laysha Ward and moderator Kimberly A. Blackwell.


Dr. Ira Kalish, Chief Global Economist for Deloitte, was luncheon keynote speaker.

In a luncheon keynote address, Dr. Ira Kalish, Chief Global Economist for Deloitte, presented his most current assessment of the state of the global economy and its impact on the U.S. Among the subjects he covered were the imbalance in opportunities in business and education based on race, the prospects for the impact of implementing Brexit on the U.K. and the role of China as an economic power.

Click here to view the photo gallery from the 2019 Winter General Membership Meeting.



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