Record Turnout for The ELC’s 2018 Winter Meeting in Miami


March 12th, 2018


ELC leadership, current members, new members and invited guests convened in Miami last week for The ELC’s 2018 Winter General Membership Meeting. Record attendance and interactive sessions made this one of the best ELC general membership meetings to date. The program featured energetic speakers, thought-provoking panels and opportunities to network one-on-one with fellow ELC members and guests. The following is a brief recap of the event.

Wednesday, February 28

The 2018 Winter Meeting kicked off on Wednesday with a special “Meet & Greet” reception to welcome The ELC’s incoming President & CEO, Skip Spriggs. Nearly 100 ELC members attended the affair offering a warm welcome to the organization’s new president and chief executive officer. The ELC’s outgoing President & CEO Ronald C. Parker delivered remarks offering advice and well wishes to Skip as his successor. Board Chair Orlando Ashford then took the podium to express his appreciation to Ron for all of his hard work and commitment to The ELC over the past five years, and to congratulate him on his retirement.

Thursday, March 1

On Thursday, 41 of the 67 new members from the Class of 2018 were inducted into The ELC during the New Member Orientation and Induction Ceremony, where Ron Parker and ELC founding member Milton Irvin engaged in a brief fireside chat about The ELC’s origins. New members were welcomed and pinned by the co-chairs of the Membership Committee, Crystal Ashby (ELC Board Member) and Lloyd Brown. ELC leadership was also on hand to deliver remarks and offer words of encouragement and advice to the incoming class.


41 of the 67 new members from the Class of 2018 were inducted into The ELC during the New Member Orientation

Attendees then transitioned into the Corporate Board Initiative (CBI) Session titled, “The Future of HBCUs: A Governance Model for the 21st Century.” The session featured leaders from some of the nation’s top Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) who participated in a candid and lively panel discussion about issues facing HBCUs and opportunities to strengthen HBCU boards. The panel encouraged members to lend their knowledge and expertise to key governance and leadership roles, such as serving on boards of trustees and/or advisory boards, in an effort to create positive change at the top to ensure the relevance and sustainability of HBCUs, now and into the future. The CBI session at Winter Meeting marked the next installment of The ELC’s education series for prospective black board members.


(l-r) CBI Session Panel: Alejandro "Al" Perkins (University of Louisiana System), Alana Ward Robinson (Robinson Group Consulting), Mary Schmidt Campbell (Spelman College), Hilda Pinnix-Ragland (RTI International/AHK Global Resources), and Dr. Harold L. Martin (North Carolina A&T State University)

Delivering closing remarks was Ken Bouyer, Americas Director of Inclusiveness Recruiting at EY. EY is a CBI sponsor. Bouyer provided attendees with an overview of the EY Center for Board Matters that offers content, insights and education to help board directors address complex boardroom issues.

The Winter Meeting program continued Thursday evening with the Opening Session titled, “A Year in Review…What’s Required to Move Forward.” The session featured a panel of contemporary thought-leaders, political pundits and media experts who looked back at the extraordinary events of 2017 and analyzed the impact of these events on Blacks and other people of color moving forward.


(l-r) Winter Meeting Opening Session Panel: Jeff Balou (Al Jazeera Media Network), Donna Brazile, Trevor Phillips (Center for Talent Innovation), and Janet Murguía (UnidosUS)

The Honorable Andrew Gillum, Mayor of the City of Tallahassee, delivered opening remarks followed by ELC Board member Julia Brown, Chief Procurement Officer at Carnival Corporation & plc. The two offered a glimpse into the economic growth and business development of both cities, while Brown also highlighted some of the key sites and attractions to visit while in Miami. The evening concluded with a poolside Welcome Reception featuring an exclusive book signing with Donna Brazile. Brazile is the author of the recently published New York Times’s bestseller Hacks the Inside Story of the Break-Ins and Breakdowns That Put Trump in the White House.

Friday, March 2:

Day two of the Winter Meeting continued with the ELC Business Session where members heard from Ron Parker, Orlando Ashford and members of the Board who discussed the current “State of The ELC” and identified key organizational priorities for 2018. Ron and Orlando additionally congratulated The ELC’s incoming board members, Thomas Harvey, AT&T; Marc Howze, Deere & Company; and Gale King, Nationwide. They also acknowledged the hard work and contributions of outgoing directors Valerie D. Lewis, The Albertsons Companies; Linda Forte, Comerica Bank; and Larry Quinlan, Deloitte LLP.

Friday’s programming also featured an executive session titled, “The Trifecta: Health, Wealth & Tax Reform.” The session featured a panel of industry experts who discussed the impact of this trifecta and potential ramifications for ELC members and the communities where they live and work. The session received an overwhelmingly positive response from attendees who expressed that this was one of their best experiences during the Winter Meeting.


(l-r) The Trifecta - Health, Wealth & Tax Reform Panel: Ehrika Gladden (Cisco Systems), Rhonda Mims (WellCare), Racquel Oden (JPMorgan Chase), Joyce Rodgers (AARP), and Roy Weathers (PwC)

ELC members later participated in “The ELC Family Meeting,” a members-only Town Hall discussion offering opportunities for members to ask questions, express concerns and receive insights during this time of change and transition within the organization. Attendees participated in one of three breakout sessions, including Community Impact and External Giving, External Advocacy and Program Engagement. Each session offered suggestions for how members can become more engaged across the organization and maximize their involvement with The ELC.

Winter Meeting participants later attended “An Executive Conversation with Dr. Nat Irvin and Dr. Marilyn Parker.” This closed-door session offered ELC members the opportunity to share their personal experiences as senior-level black executives in corporate America and receive feedback on how to navigate challenges in their personal and professional lives. During this time, ELC spouses and guests were invited to participate in a Private Shopping Experience hosted by the Prada store in the Miami Design District.

The Winter Meeting program concluded on Friday with a closing reception, dinner and a Miami Mixer, followed by a morning of golf at Crandon Golf at Key Biscayne on Saturday, March 3.

The ELC would like to extend a special thanks to our 2018 Winter General Membership Meeting sponsors for their generous support of this year’s event, including The Coca-Cola Company (Supporting Sponsor); WellCare Health Plans, Inc. (Contributing Sponsor); and Cox Enterprises (Partner Sponsor).

For more details about the meeting, events and panelists, download the ELC 365 mobile app or visit our Winter Meeting photo gallery on Flickr to view additional images from the event.



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