Netflix is creating a new executive position that will focus on inclusion and diversity among employees of the streaming entertainment giant.
Vernā Myers has been appointed to the newly created role of vice president for inclusion strategy, Netflix announced Wednesday. The company said Myers will help devise and implement strategies that integrate cultural diversity, inclusion and equity into all aspects of Netflix’s operations worldwide.
Prior to joining Netflix, Myers worked as a consultant at the Vernā Myers Co., where she advised corporations and organizations on issues including race, ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation.
Her appointment comes two months after Netflix fired its chief communications officer after he used a racial slur on at least two occasions in the workplace. Jonathan Friedland, who had served as Netflix’s top spokesperson for the past seven years, acknowledged that he had spoken in an “insensitive” way.
“Leaders have to be beyond reproach in the example we set and unfortunately I fell short of that standard when I was insensitive in speaking to my team about words that offend in comedy,” he wrote on Twitter in June.
Earlier this week, Los Gatos, Calif.-based Netflix named Rachel Whetstone — a veteran of Facebook, Uber and Google — to succeed Friedland as chief communications officer.
Diversity executives have become increasingly common at major corporations. Silicon Valley in particular has become the focus of media scrutiny for what some workers have described as a lack of gender and racial diversity at technology and internet companies.
Myers has previously consulted for Netflix, the company said. “Having worked closely with Vernā as a consultant on a range of organizational issues, we are thrilled that she has agreed to bring her talents to this new and important role,” said Jessica Neal, Netflix’s chief talent officer.
Sixty seconds isn’t much time to make a business pitch, but often, that’s all you have. Whether it’s at a networking event, a conference or another event, you’ll want to have a one-minute pitch ready.
How can you make a good impression and convey your company’s message so it will lead to a follow-up meeting? Here are a few tips:
1 Practice and prepare. The more familiar and comfortable you are with your pitch, the more effective you’ll be. Put together a few talking points and rehearse them over and over again.
2 Focus on the basics. You want your pitch to be high-level, which means to be concise and leave the details out. In addition to describing your company’s programs and services, talk about the value you bring and how you’re different from competitors.
3 Show passion. People are attracted to others who love what they do, so be positive and enthusiastic. You’ll command their attention and they’ll likely have greater confidence in your abilities.
4 Be yourself. You want to be genuine; don’t try and be someone you’re not. Mislead them now and you won’t have another chance to get in the door.
5 Prepare for questions. Anticipate what questions will be asked after your one-minute pitch and be ready to respond. The way you respond to questions is as important as your pitch.
6 Be realistic. A one-minute pitch will not necessarily lead to a business opportunity. Use the opportunity to learn if there is enough interest to further the conversation, then follow up.
7 Call to action. After your pitch and any questions, follow up by asking if there would be an opportunity to talk in more detail to discuss your company’s offerings.
Practice your pitch at other networking events. If you’re prepared, a one-minute pitch can make a favorable impression and lead to new business ventures.
Operating with transparency used to be a luxury versus a necessity but, now, it’s quite mandatory. Millennials, in particular, who wield a tremendous amount of influence and purchasing power, make buying decisions based largely on the provenance, manufacturing processes and overall business practices of a particular company.
Because millennials are now the largest population in the United States, to say that transparency will drive how businesses are perceived is an understatement, at best. However, the good news is that establishing and maintaining transparency doesn’t have to be difficult. Simply communicating regularly with honesty and unequivocally holding yourself, your staff and your company accountable will go a long way toward fostering goodwill with not only consumers and prospects but also with vendors, strategic partners and your industry at large.
It used to be that only airlines had “loyalty” programs. Now, everybody from giant corporations like Pepsi Co. to mom-and-pop corner coffee shops have some sort of loyalty program. And rightfully so. Every industry faces new competition on a daily basis and customers are understandably price sensitive, often buying from whoever has the best sale or perks. However, what loyalty programs really come down to is creating that coveted repeat customer. For instance, airlines offering free first-class upgrades or hotels upgrading size of the room for elite travelers often creates an allegiance that trumps price point. This principle can be applied in every business. If you’re a service company and a client is at the end of his or her agreement, offer a specific service at a discount or another deliverable with a high perceived value. Those who do business online can easily build an awards program that fosters a faithful following.
The ugly truth is if you need a loan, chances are extremely high you won’t be able to get one. In fact, the recent small business study also revealed that the majority—a full 61 percent—of those who tried to get a favorable loan were unable to do so. Venture capital and private equity funding is equally, if not more, difficult to come by. While some types of capital are actually easier to procure, the interest rates are usually more aggressive, often prohibitively so. Instead, focus on crowdfunding and non-traditional lenders, such as Bond Street, Kabbage and Deal Struck. According to Massolution’s 2015CF–Crowdfunding Industry Report, global crowdfunding was anticipated to be more than $34 billion. A revenue source of that size is simply too big to ignore and not tap into.
4 Pay-for-Play Social Media.
Facebook was among the first to implement the “pay-for-play” model by removing organic reach and focusing on paid advertisement. Since being acquired by Facebook, Instagram is destined to follow. Pinterest and Twitter are also both currently growing into their pay-for-play systems and will likely make it difficult for pure organic reach as well. Unfortunately, this means entrepreneurs will need to increase their social media budget. However, Facebook’s paid ads have been shown to reach a significantly greater percentage of users than organic posts, making paid ads well worth the investment. However, social media shouldn’t only be leveraged as a form of advertising. Rather, social media is an ideal way to handle customer service in a way that not only improves marketplace loyalty but also your company’s transparency endeavor.
5 Instant Gratification.
Simply put, if you don’t offer some form of instant gratification, your prospective customer will likely go somewhere that does. This truth is particularly problematic for businesses that require information from customers, such as insurance or financial services. Having prospects fill out contact request forms to be contacted later on for products or services is becoming less and less effective in the “Age of Impatience.” To be competitive, you need to deliver to the customer instantaneously in some way, whether that be with the information they are seeking or some other deliverable that will satisfy them in the moment and keep them interested for a longer term. Even just offering quicker and more efficient processes for dealing or transacting with your company is certainly a form of instant gratification. At every available touchpoint, strive to impress the customer—an incredibly effective way of evoking that gratified feeling. No matter what industry you’re in or what type of business you run, you can still make a profit, no matter what the current economic outlook happens to be. That begins with giving customers what they want, how they want it and in a way that’s more sensitive to marketplace vs. company needs.
About the Author
Brian Greenberg is a multi-faceted entrepreneur who has founded and currently
spearheads an assortment of successful online businesses. He currently co-owns
and operates multiple entrepreneurial companies with his father, Elliott
Greenberg, which have each flourished for over 10 years, including Wholesale-JanitorialSupply.com, TouchFreeConcepts.com and TrueBlueLifeInsurance.com.
Shelly Bell has lived many lives. She’s a computer scientist, a former high school teacher, a performance poet, a community organizer, a founder, and a CEO. She has two successful apparel printing businesses: MsPrint USA—through which she creates swag for clients like Amazon and Google with a team of women designers and printers—and Made By A Black Woman, which celebrates products made by Black women.
Every project Bell undertakes is designed to empower women, especially women of color, which is why two years ago, she began her latest enterprise, Black Girl Ventures, which helps women identifying entrepreneurs of color gain access to capital.
According to a Medium post Bell wrote in May, Black women are the fastest growing group of entrepreneurs in the United States, yet they receive less than 1% of venture capital. In 2017, women on the whole, she wrote, only received 2% of venture capital.
Black Girl Ventures (BGV), based in Washington DC, holds pitch competitions, social events, boot camps, and other forms of entrepreneurial training for women of color. Since its inception in 2016, BGV has funded 13 founders and has engaged hundreds of women.
The unique BGV Pitch Competition, of which there are 10 per year, is described on the website as “a crowdfunding meets pitch competition.” Attendees pay admission at the door, selected founders pitch for three minutes, and the audience votes. Winners receive the money raised from admission fees, in addition to other perks like a free consultation with both a lawyer and an accountant and a meeting with an investor.
While anyone can attend the pitch competitions, only women of color can do the pitching. Bell is proud, she says, of “the women we serve and their reaction to the space created for them.” She is also proud of the success many of the entrepreneurs have found after working with BGV. Founders who have participated in pitch competitions have gone on to be accepted into accelerators, receive fellowships, and raise more capital from other resources.
As BGV continues to grow, Bell hopes to do a better job serving Latinx women. “Because Black is in the name, it is definitely easy for Black women to gravitate,” she says, “but we want to make sure we are serving Black and Brown women.”
She is also currently focusing on finding more access to capital, creating more revenue streams, getting more sponsorship, and creating more partnerships. Some of her most recent successes are corporate partnerships with both Bumble and Google Cloud for Startups, who are currently sponsoring the BGV Big 4 Tour through Atlanta, Chicago, DC, and NYC.
When first starting BGV, Bell struggled with trying to do too many things at once. “I’m a creative,” she says. “I have literally at least 10 ideas per day.” Initially, Bell focused on doing both trainings and pitch competitions, but her advisors suggested she focus on getting really good at just one of those things.
So, she invested all her energy in the competitions, which she says has now positioned her well to expand BGV’s training opportunities. Through analytics and data gathered from those involved in the competitions, Bell now feels confident she knows what the women she serves are looking for.
Continue onto Forbes to read the complete article.
New Nationwide survey reveals more than 80 percent of both African-American and Hispanic business owners of companies under 500 employees indicate they offer some form of employee benefits.
As unemployment rates remain low across the country, strong employee benefits packages are a key driver of both recruitment and retention. Diverse business owners — specifically those owned by Hispanics and African Americans — appear to be leading the way, as they are the most likely to offer benefits that can increase employee satisfaction.
“We treat our employees like family,” said Natasha Pongonis, a native Argentinean who is co-owner of Nativa, a Nationwide-insured independent multicultural marketing communications agency based in Columbus. “That’s why these survey results weren’t that surprising to me. They reinforce the fact that diverse business owners are diligent not only in job creation, but also in job security.”
Across every benefit category included in Nationwide’s survey, more African-American and Hispanic business owners indicate they provide more benefits to their employees than the general population of business owners:
Medical insurance: Offered by 62 percent of African-American business owners, 52 percent of Hispanic business owners and 41 percent of total business owners
Dental insurance: Offered by 48 percent of African-American business owners, 43 percent of Hispanic business owners and 25 percent of total business owners
Paid time off: Offered by 45 percent of African-American business owners, 40 percent of Hispanic business owners and 33 percent of total business owners
Workers’ compensation: Offered by 40 percent of African-American business owners, 43 percent of Hispanic business owners and 33 percent of total business owners
Life insurance: Offered by 38 percent of African-American business owners, 38 percent of Hispanic business owners and 22 percent of total business owners
Retirement benefits: Offered by 37 percent of African-American business owners, 37 percent of Hispanic business owners and 27 percent of total business owners
Vision insurance: Offered by 34 percent of African-American business owners, 34 percent of Hispanic business owners and 20 percent of total business owners
Short-term disability: Offered by 23 percent of African-American business owners, 24 percent of Hispanic business owners and 17 percent of total business owners
Long-term disability: Offered by 20 percent of African-American business owners, 19 percent of Hispanic business owners and 14 percent of total business owners
Domestic partner benefits: Offered by 13 percent of African-American business owners, 17 percent of Hispanic business owners and 8 percent of total business owners
Pet insurance: Offered by 4 percent of African-American owners, 7 percent of Hispanic business owners and 2 percent of total business owners
“Employee benefits help business owners take care of their most important asset: their employees,” said Syed Rizvi, Nationwide’s chief specialty insurance officer. “And when it comes to caring for their employees, diverse business owners appear to be among the most generous. From retirement plans to workers’ compensation and even pet insurance, they are more likely to invest in their employees’ futures and personal well-being.”
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Inside the rapper’s strategy to bring new life to the community where he grew up.
Not long ago, Clifford Joseph Harris Jr.–the rapper, actor, and fashion impresario who’s better known as T.I.–took a hard look at the once-vibrant neighborhood he grew up in. By the age of 14, he’d been arrested several times on drug charges. To flip the script for kids like him, in 2017 he founded Buy Back the Block, a real estate venture that reimagines his old neighborhood one building at a time. –As told to Sheila Marikar
I grew up in the 1980s and ’90s in the Center Hill section of Atlanta, just off Bankhead Highway. Back then, that part of town was considered the lower end of the middle class. After the crack era, the community stalled, and from 1994 to 2012, it became an extremely desolate area for business. There’s no major grocery store chain. There’s no fresh produce. There’s no CVS. There are liquor stores.
Now, with the BeltLine and Mercedes-Benz Stadium a stone’s throw away, there’s an incentive to redevelop. But I didn’t want it to be one of those situations where luxury condos go up, and people who are native are pushed out to the fringes because they can’t afford to live there. I wanted to provide development that would allow people from the area, who love the community, to be able to afford to stay.
I partnered with [Atlanta rapper] Killer Mike and other developers to purchase the Bankhead Seafood building. There is a corner where I have an assemblage of lots that I acquired with another partner. There’s another, bigger lot that I am acquiring on my own. I’ve gone in on six buildings and spent more than $2 million. I don’t have private equity financing or anything like that. It’s my personal finances and sweat equity.
The cornerstone of wealth is home ownership. It does something for the psyche of a person to know that all of the work they do comes back to this. A lot of the buildings I’ve bought, we’re turning into mixed-use housing. One of the smaller residential projects will hopefully be ready by the end of 2019. We’re aiming to complete a larger development–more than 100 units–around the same time. I’m working with a seasoned real estate agent, Krystal Peterson, to ensure prices are within the range of what people who live in the neighborhood can pay. I’m constantly out there, on the ground, talking to people. They are very pleased to see that I’m involved, that I’m taking steps to have ownership within the community–they know I’m a product of it. But they also wonder what’s going to happen.
Green spaces and gardens are incredibly important. We want a movie theater, bowling, laser tag–stuff I didn’t have. I’m trying to build a community where the people within it can be proud. If they’re proud, they’ll have more of a sense of wanting to maintain it. I’d love to see children walk and play and live in green spaces. I want to see senior citizens excited about the next generation. The only way to do that is to invest. Why wait for someone else to come into a community where I went to elementary school, where I rode my bike and played?
So many times, our answer to fixing things is “I’m gonna make some money and leave all these people behind.” There’s rarely an intent to get rich and make where you came from better for generations to come. It’s extremely ambitious, but I’ve worked myself to a place where I should be the one leading the charge. In my mind, that’s what it means to be king.
Rebuilding the Block
Following successes in the arts and as co-founder of fashion brand AKOO, T.I. has spent about $2.7 million since 2017 to buy six properties and plots of land in Center Hill, where he grew up. (One is a former Kmart where he’d bought toys.) “What [Under Armour founder] Kevin Plank and his Sagamore Development Company are doing to revitalize Baltimore has been a nice example,” T.I. says. He was also on Atlanta mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms’s transition team, working on job creation and economic development issues.
W. Kamau Bell, most renowned as the Emmy-winning socio-political commentator on CNN’s United Shades of America, has been characterized in many ways.
TV host. Director. Radio personality. Author. Stand-up comedian. Provocateur. Game-changer.
You might be surprised by how he sees his professional life.
“I think of my work as Sesame Street,” said the 45-year-old, also known for his critically acclaimed podcasts, an FX series called Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell, and his 2017 book, The Awkward Thoughts of W. Kamau Bell: Tales of a 6’4”, African-American, Heterosexual, Cisgender, Left-Leaning, Asthmatic, Black and Proud Blerd, Mama’s Boy, Dad, and Stand-Up Comedian.
“I’m a 21st century Mister Rogers,” he said.
Bell, as thoughtful as he is quick-witted, is interested in facilitating conversations, sans all the hollering and trolling going on in America, circa 2018.
Especially awkward conversations.
Humor is key. It disarms, de-escalates, he says.
“Laughter is power,” he said. “When somebody laughs, they’re giving up control.”
Shades is an adventure and a social experiment. Bell has featured, among others, the Gullah people of the South Carolina sea island, practitioners of the Sikh religion, and Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
“It’s about the people who need to speak and haven’t been heard before,” Bell said.
It’s also about shining a light on groups such as the Ku Klux Klan, which Bell did in perhaps the most famous Shades episode. He said he feared for his life when he joined the Klansmen for a cross burning in a field in the backwoods of Arkansas, but again, humor helped him.
“If I can go there and them to laugh, they’re not thinking about killing me,” he said.
There was a bigger picture: Those inclined toward hate took offense at their perception that Bell was mocking the KKK. Other viewers found themselves uncomfortable at the sight of the hooded men, but something strange happened: Many laughed, maybe to keep from crying and maybe because racism—costumed in goofy hats and creepy masks—is absurd.
In Bell’s Private School Negro, a comedy special that first aired on Netflix in June this year, Bell riffs about important and not-so-important things: parenting in the Trump era, woke children’s TV, his fear of going off the grid.
Always, it seems, he is winking at himself and chuckling at the absurdities in life.
Almost as telling is what he doesn’t do: lecture, preach, or scream, even when tackling the touchiest of topics.
Bell was raised in Alabama, Boston, and Chicago by his mother, an author and businesswoman, and father, who started as a bank teller and worked his way up to CEO of a Fortune 500 company.
His father’s motto was, “Nobody’s going to outwork me and I’m not going to take no for an answer.”
Bell graduated from the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools, then started his career in standup. His talent was undeniable, and so was his work ethic.
He has starred in the hit podcasts: “Kamau Right Now!”; “Politically Re-Active”; and “Denzel Washington is The Greatest Actor of All Time Period.” He continues to host his San-Francisco-based radio show (“Kamau Right Now!”), and in summer 2018, he directed the A & E comedy special: “Culture Shock: Bring Back the Pain with Chris Rock.”
He won an Emmy for Shades, winning another in September for Outstanding Unstructured Reality Program. He’s been nominated for NAACP awards, a GLAD award, a TCA award, and more.
An activist for most of his adult life, Bell is on the advisory board of Hollaback!, the National Advisory Council for Donors Choose, and is the ACLU Celebrity Ambassador for Racial Justice.
Bell doesn’t provoke awkward conversations for the fun of it, although he does seem to be having a good time. He’s after deeper, better thinking that tackles the complexity of human beings and doesn’t default to oversimplifications and stereotypes.
Why was everyone shocked by Kanye West’s support of the president—and ludicrous take on slavery—earlier this year?
“Every black person knows that guy,” Bell said. “We’re not a monolith. I know black Democrats, Republicans, socialists, anarchists, and those who don’t and won’t vote.”
Why are folks stunned by the current president and his support system?
Bell’s not, and neither are most African Americans, he said.
“When the right feels threatened, it just declares it is going to invent a time machine to take the country back so that America can be ‘great’ again,” Bell chuckled.
Behind Bell’s easy smile and blerd—black nerd—appearance is a man in the business of improving communities by improving communications in one of the most divisive times in America’s history.
Where there are impediments to social and economic equality and empowerment, especially for African Americans, Bell is there, not as a hammer but as an ambassador.
No name-calling, no trolling.
“If I yell, then you yell, that’s not a conversation,” he says.
It takes a ton of restraint and humor to not yell, because there is plenty to yell about, but it’s not Bell’s style. He’s not just a comedian; he’s a pragmatist. He’s also highly skilled at indirect attacks on social ills.
During the KKK episode of Shades, we see Bell talking with the imperial wizard of the international keystone knights of the KKK on a moonless night on a dirt road in the Deep South, and he’s having some fun with the ultra-serious, uber-uptight wizard: How about the KKK redesign its head-wear to include a mouth-hole? That way people could understand what the heck they’re saying. Muffled speech is as ruinous to communication as screaming at each other.
The wizard gives in.
“That might be a possibility,” he says.
“One step at a time,” Bell says, with a shrug and a smile.
TIAA recently announced the TIAA Difference Maker 100 Honorees – 100 individuals working in the nonprofit sector who have made significant contributions in their communities and throughout the world. TIAA will recognize each of the 100 honorees with a $10,000 donation in their name to the nonprofit organization they support, totaling $1 million in contributions.
The Difference Maker 100 program launched earlier this year as part of TIAA’s centennial to recognize the positive impact nonprofit employees have on the world. Individuals were invited to submit their own story or recommend others for consideration. The final Difference Maker 100 Honorees were selected by a panel of judges based on their impact, creativity, perseverance and motive.
“We could think of no better way to commemorate our centennial than to celebrate the people we have a mission to serve – the millions of nonprofit professionals driven by purpose and service – and to help enable them to continue having a positive impact on the world,” said Roger W. Ferguson, Jr., president and CEO of TIAA. “We were delighted to receive over 4,000 submissions. Each represents an inspiring story that epitomizes what it means to be a difference maker.”
The 100 honorees represent a wide range of nonprofit organizations from across the United States focused on social impact issues, health and wellness, education and technology, arts and culture, and the environment. TIAA teamed up with Oath and RYOT Studio to create and produce the TIAA Difference Maker 100 program.
Laila Ali, pictured, world-class athlete and a prominent supporter of charitable organizations, served as the ambassador for the program.
“I had the opportunity to review many of the amazing stories submitted by people working in nonprofit organizations across the country and was inspired by each and every one,” said Laila Ali. “The individuals who are being recognized today are selfless in their commitment to serving others. I am sure their stories will move more people to do good in the world.”
As part of its centennial celebration, TIAA also hosted a companywide “100 Days of Difference” campaign that enabled TIAA employees to take part in philanthropic and community service-oriented projects across the country. It was the largest employee volunteerism program in the company’s 100-year history. More than 9,550 employees across 51 offices completed 389 service projects that impacted 717,548 lives in 100 days.
With an award-winning 1 track record for consistent investment performance, TIAA (TIAA.org) is the leading provider of financial services in the academic, research, medical, cultural and government fields. TIAA has $1 trillion in assets under management (as of 6/30/2018 2) and offers a wide range of financial solutions, including investing, banking, advice and education, and retirement services.
Jordan’s partnership with Coach will include global advertising campaigns to promote its menswear, accessories, and fragrance lines, and the first images are expected to launch in the spring. The partnership will also include what Coach is calling, “special design projects,” with the brand’s creative director Stuart Vevers, as well as philanthropic endeavors with the Coach Foundation.
“Michael is cool and authentic, and he really embodies the Coach guy,” said Vevers. “I’ve had the chance to get to know Michael over the last couple of years. He always looks great in Coach, so it felt really natural to build our relationship.”
“I’m honored to be joining the Coach family and have so much respect for Stuart Vevers’ vision,” said Jordan. “I’m looking forward to jumping into the creative process and exploring fashion through a different lens.”
Continue onto Variety to read the complete article.
Angelique Brunner was once the only African American woman in VC from NYC to Atlanta. Now, she runs a $500 million investment firm that is revitalizing D.C.
When Angelique Brunner moved to the nation’s capital two decades ago, she was shocked to find neighborhoods with no stores, no services, and burned-out buildings.
“I started asking around about what is going on here, people told me it was the riots,” she tells Fast Company. “I said, ‘Oh, what riots?’ They said, ‘The Martin Luther King riots.’ I said, ‘The riots were in 1968. So, this is why D.C. doesn’t have grocery stores, and it’s giving away houses for a dollar?’”
The local city government was, in fact, selling off long-abandoned homes for a buck to developers who had the money to rebuild. Some of Washington’s once vibrant black neighborhoods never quite recovered from the unrest in the days following the assassination of the civil rights leader and the subsequent departure of the middle class.
Brunner was stunned and, armed with her degrees in public policy from Brown and Princeton, started learning the ropes in venture capital and then real estate development—determined to make a difference.
And she is making a difference, bringing jobs, homes, and new business to once blighted streets.
As president of EB5 Capital, which she founded a decade ago, Brunner is now one of the driving forces in the revitalization of D.C., leveraging a controversial program that puts rich foreign investors on a path to citizenship in return for their investment dollars.
FOUNDING HER OWN COMPANY
The road to founding her own firm was paved during those first years, initially at a VC firm. “I was the only African American female from New York to Atlanta that was in venture capital.” She later moved to Fannie Mae (the Federal National Mortgage Association), where she became an expert in community investing.
“Laypeople might assume that urban areas struggle to get development dollars because no one wants to build there. I learned through the late 1990s and early 2000s that there has always been interest, just not the financing needed to actually execute,” she says.
It was during this time that she became familiar with the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program and saw an opportunity to bring development dollars to neighborhoods that others did not want to touch. So with the gap in money needed persisting to complete urban projects, and the scars from the riots still showing, she founded EB5 Capital.
“I felt motivated to address this, which is why my second project ever was a grocery store on 7th Street in Northwest D.C. that also had an affordable senior housing component,” she says.
Since then, Brunner has helped connect foreign investors with several major D.C. gems, including City Market at O Street, bringing new residential and commercial life to a once dilapidated but beloved historic city site. Brunner is also behind D.C.’s Columbia Place development, bringing two new Marriott hotels to the downtown convention center area.
Brunner sees her mission as twofold: Rebuilding the capital’s neighborhoods and bringing new jobs to people who desperately need them. And she is an unabashed fan of the EB-5 program, which is up for renewal—and reform—in U.S. Congress. Job creation is at the core of the program, which was founded in 1990 and is administered by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). It offers foreign investors green cards in return for job-creating investments in domestic development projects.
The 93-year-old actress was named this week as the recipient of an honorary Oscar, making her the first black woman to gain that distinction, according to Essenceand People.
Tyson has won a Tony, two Emmys and a Presidential Medal of Freedom, but an Academy Award had escaped the performer in a legendary career. She lost the only time she was nominated for best actress, in 1973 for the sharecropper drama “Sounder.”
But she has won plenty of acclaim elsewhere, such as for TV productions like “Roots” and “The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman.”
Some of her notable big-screen credits include “The River Niger,” “Fried Green Tomatoes,” “Diary of a Mad Black Woman,” “The Help,” “Alex Cross” and “Last Flag Flying.”
Tyson began as a model and stage actress and got her big feature-film break in 1968’s “The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter.”
Fifty years later, she is getting some overdue recognition by the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Brenda H. Oneal and Carlton L. Oneal
Light Speed, LLC
eLearning and multimedia design, development and production
How has the NMSDC helped your business?
The NMSDC has helped our business by providing access to corporate personnel and information about business opportunities that we may not have gotten through any other mechanism.
In many cases, the people with whom I interact through the NMSDC at the National and Regional level are interested in doing business with minority suppliers based upon their knowledge of the responsiveness and innovation that many of our firms provide.
In what unique way did you win your last contract? The service being provided as a result of the last contract we won is unique. At an NMSDC event, a discussion was being held about how supplier diversity personnel are training the employees in their corporation on the subject of supplier diversity. A client of ours was part of that conversation and recommended that her colleague seeking the service call our firm because we offer a unique eLearning course series on supplier diversity. The courses we provide are designed to teach employees, leaders and other stakeholders the overall business rationale for supplier diversity in addition to many other facts about the subject. Once the person seeking the service talked to two of her other trusted colleagues about the subject and they gave her the same response, “call Light Speed,” she told me she was convinced we were the ones to seek for the information we could provide.
What advice can you give others?
Be very clear on the key products and services you provide. Once you are clear, be certain that you accept requests for work that will keep you in, or very closely tied to what you do extremely well. When companies start to stray from providing anything other than what will result in an excellent client experience, you are putting your reputation at risk.
What is the biggest lesson you have learned?
Develop as many relationships in an organization that you can. As you do this, seek to develop those relationships at different levels in the company. If you depend on a single relationship in a company, years of effort will be lost if that single contact person gets transferred out of the area of chooses to leave their company.
Ronald E. Damper
Tea supplier to McDonald’s, retail and food service
How has the NMSDC helped your business?
The NMSDC offers the forum to meet key decision makers and establish mutually beneficial relationships. We have formed lasting relationships with organizations with whom we do business and hope to do business. The networking and referral opportunities are endless.
In what unique way did you win your last contract?
In the past, we experienced difficulty connecting with a particular decision maker. DAMRON exhibited at council trade fair with a booth directly behind the company of interest. This Supplier Diversity person represents an organization that contract feeds many corporations. Our line was long and our aromatic tea wafted in her direction. We shared a cup of tea with her, and she was hooked! We have since been invited, on her behalf, to several company specific vendor fairs and am now supplying organic tea to a major IT corporation with more to follow.
What advice can you give others?
Be impeccable with your word. Deliver what you say you will deliver and always give your best. Become the caliber supplier with whom you would like to do business. Attention to detail is key!
What is the biggest lesson you have learned:
Not right now does not mean no. Stay the course and do not become discouraged. Continue to stay engaged. Your time is coming.
Learn more about the National Minority Supplier Development Council at nmsdc.org
The answer — for Bryant, 40, and many other retired sports stars — is investing.
In mid-August, the news that Bryant’s 2014 investment of $6 million in sports drink BodyArmor had morphed into $200 million after Cola-Cola purchased the company garnered lots of attention. In 2016, the five-time NBA champion partnered with Jeff Stibel, former CEO of Web.com, to form the venture capital fund Bryant Stibel. Other investments under Bryant Stibel include online education platform VIPKid and restaurant booking company Reserve.
Bryant’s return on investment is a boon to the ideology of athletes’ soaring interests in technology investments and beyond. But he’s not the only player who has taken the savvy approach to declaring his or her next passion.
More than 30 years ago, NBA Hall of Famer Earvin “Magic” Johnson, now the president of basketball operations for the Los Angeles Lakers, started Magic Johnson Enterprises and invested in technology staffing company Jopwell. For decades he has maintained ownership in movie theaters, Burger King, TGI Fridays and other franchises, teams and startups.
Miami Marlins CEO Derek Jeter invested in the video conference service Blue Jeans Network and the anti-bullying app StopIt. He also founded sports website The Players’ Tribune. NBA big man and Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal sat down with talk show host Ellen DeGeneres in June to discuss investing in Google. O’Neal has also invested in burger chain Five Guys, 24 Hour Fitness and Apple.
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The new mother and tennis champion took interest in the meal delivery service Daily Harvest. During a 2017 episode of talk series Kneading Dough, she also expressed to Maverick Carter some interest in investment properties.
“I have the weirdest one, it’s property,” Serena Williams said. “For me, investments are really important in terms of who are the other investors: What does their portfolio look like? Have they been successful? If they’re a new company, are they a good product? Is it something you believe in? I never do something if I don’t really believe in the product.”
Venus Williams is an investor in Ellevest, a financial app that empowers women and provides tips on saving.