The ELC’s 2016 Winter Meeting in Los Angeles Challenges Members to Network and Think BIGGER


February 22nd, 2016


ELC members gathered at the Beverly Wilshire in Los Angeles, CA to “Optimize Opportunities” during The ELC’s 2016 Winter General Membership Meeting. Nearly 200 current members, new members and guests convened to help kick-off The ELC’s 30th Anniversary year. An exciting agenda with stimulating panelists engaged and motivated participants to embrace emerging opportunities in corporations, on boards and as entrepreneurs. More details are available in our virtual 2016 WGMM program book which you can download here:


Thursday, February 18th

More than 30 of the 42 new members in the 2016 Winter Class attended the New Member Orientation and were inducted into The Executive Leadership Council. They were welcomed by ELC Board Chair Rhonda Mims and ELC President and CEO Ronald C. Parker. The new members heard from ELC founding member, Milton Irvin, about the humble beginnings of the organization and the bold aspirations of the 19 founding members. Chris Simmons, chair of the Membership Committee, addressed the new members and expressed his joy in meeting so many accomplished executives in the new class, representing tangible achievement in global black leadership. ELC COO Brickson Diamond was also on hand to welcome our new members.

The evening continued with our Opening Session and VIP Welcome Reception held at the Creative Artists Agency (CAA). More than 180 ELC members and guests were welcomed by ELC member and CAA executive, Ryan Tarpley, who hosted the event. The panel featured West Coast entrepreneurial leaders who spoke about how they forged paths to success using Los Angeles and the Southern California ethos as a backdrop and inspiration. The panel was moderated by Rosalind L. Hudnell of the Intel Corporation and featured Suzanne de Passe, co-chairman, de Passe Jones Entertainment Group and a former executive at Motown Records; Guy Primus, CEO and co-founder, The Virtual Reality Company; and Marc Washington, president and COO, Beachbody.

In a lively exchange with Ms. Hudnell, Washington spoke about what makes a successful entrepreneur while Primus recounted his fascination with success and wanted to achieve the greatness and influence of media mogul Ted Turner. Ms. de Passe, who signed the Jackson 5 to a contract with Motown and also produced TV shows that helped break new ground for blacks in television, spoke of the strength in storytelling by black people and the impact on content.

All of the panelists spoke about the focus on globalization, and acknowledged that taking risks are important as business culture rewards risk takers. They encouraged members to pursue their best ideas and seek funding that will lead to growing black wealth and success.

VIPs attending the panel discussion and welcome reception included former Motown Records CEO Clarence Avant and television personality Shaun Robinson.


Friday, February 19th

During the morning Business Meeting, Rhonda Mims thanked outgoing board members Cedric Coco, Lydia Mallett, Louis Parker, Chris Simmons and Bernard Tyson. Rhonda also saluted Immediate Past ELC Board Chair Carla Harris, reading a poem in her honor.

Ron Parker presented a review of The ELC’s 2015 accomplishments and 2016 projections. Among subjects covered, Parker focused on the success of The ELC’s Institute programs, member engagement and The ELC’s pledge of a major contribution to the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.

He discussed the value of the CEO Academy experience and the impact of the Corporate Board Initiative (CBI), including upcoming CBI events hosted by Twitter, JPMorgan Chase and Grainger. He also discussed the importance of the CEO Summit and Mid-Level Managers’ Symposium.

Following Parker’s presentation, Pamela Harding of Booz Allen Hamilton presented results of the recent ELC Member Survey and the importance of members engaging one another and serving as brand ambassadors to their colleagues and companies. Harding said the “curation of the network” is what allows members to derive support from one another. The survey found that members with 10 years or more association with The ELC had more passion for the culture.

The survey review was followed by a candid panel discussion moderated by ELC Board Vice Chair Ehrika Gladden of Cisco Systems, Inc. The panel featured ELC Board Treasurer Arlene Isaacs-Lowe of Moody’s Investors Service, Anré Williams of the American Express Company and Oral Muir of Marriott International. Each shared their experiences as ELC members and the value derived from networking “with a purpose.”

All mentioned the importance of building a network within the organization with people who can provide much needed support. Each said that sharing information is a valuable feature of membership. They encouraged new members to come to the meetings and said it’s about giving and sharing, not about taking.

Following the member panel, ELC member John Webb introduced Chris Sheeren of Huron Capital who offered an insider’s look into the world of private equity and the requirements of serving on the board of a private equity firm. The discussion was held as one of two CBI sessions presented at the Winter Meeting. Rose McKinney-James, a board member at MGM Resorts International, spoke to our CBI Cohort Members about preparation for and response to shareholder activism, and the implications of investor activism for corporate America and the economy.

Attendees also had the opportunity to enjoy spa time, a private shopping experience at Van Cleef & Arpels in Beverly Hills, and a guided museum tour at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). The meeting concluded with a cocktail reception, dinner and networking, followed by Club ELC: “Lights, Cameras, Action!”

Please mark your calendars for our 2016 Summer General Membership Meeting to be held on June 9-11, 2016 at the MGM Grand in Detroit, MI. Registration information will be sent in April.

Congratulations to our 2016 Winter Class ELC Members

Ryan Tarpley of Creative Artists Agency hosted the Executive Conversation featuring Marc Washington, President & COO, Beachbody; Suzanne de Passe, Co-Chairman, de Passe Jones Entertainment Group; Rosalind Hudnell, Vice President, Intel Corporation and President, Intel Foundation as moderator; and Guy Primus, CEO and Co-Founder, The Virtual Reality Company

Legendary music producer Clarence Avant with wife Jackie Avant and The ELC President and CEO Ronald Parker at the Executive Conversation

ELC Board Vice Chair and Cisco Corporation Vice President, Market Strategy Ehrika Gladden moderating the Powerline to Results panel discussion featuring Arlene Isaacs-Lowe, ELC Board Treasurer and Managing Director, Moody's Investors Service; Oral Muir, ELC Member and Vice President, Marriott International; and Anre Williams, ELC Member and President, Global Merchant Services & Loyalty Group, American Express Corporation

ELC Members enjoying the cocktail reception at the Beverly Wilshire

View additional pictures from the 2016 Winter General Membership Meeting on Flickr



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