Tag: American Express

American Express CEO Kenneth Chenault to Join Facebook, 1st African-American to Sit on FB’s Board of Directors

NEW YORK, NY: Kenneth I. Chenault speaks onstage at The New York Times 2017 DealBook Conference at Jazz at Lincoln Center on November 9, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Cohen/Getty Images for The New York Times)

by , via usatoday.com

SAN FRANCISCO — Facebook has named one of the nation’s most prominent black corporate leaders, American ExpressKenneth Chenault, to its board of directors.

The appointment, which gives the social media giant the guidance of a highly regarded finance executive and the first black director on its all-white board, was the culmination of years of recruitment efforts, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said. “I’ve been trying to recruit Ken for years. He has unique expertise in areas I believe Facebook needs to learn and improve — customer service, direct commerce, and building a trusted brand,”  Zuckerberg said in a statement. “Ken also has a strong sense of social mission and the perspective that comes from running an important public company for decades.”

Chenault announced in October that he would retire as chairman and CEO of American Express on Feb. 1, capping a 16-year run.

Chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg told the Congressional Black Caucus in October that the social media giant was in talks to bring aboard its first black board member but she did not disclose the person’s identity.

The striking lack of people of color in the executive suite and on the boards of Silicon Valley companies won’t come as a culture shock to Chenault, one of the longest-serving black CEOs of a major U.S. corporation and a veteran of an industry dominated by white men in its top management ranks. The appointment to the Facebook board, effective Feb. 5, comes after years of lobbying by civil rights leader Jesse Jackson to add people of color to the company’s directors.

Diversity remains a top challenge for Facebook and other Silicon Valley companies that are mostly staffed by white and Asian men. Top universities turn out black and Hispanic computer science and computer engineering graduates at twice the rate that leading technology companies hire them, USA TODAY research showed.

Minorities are also sharply underrepresented in non-technical jobs such as sales and administration, with African Americans faring noticeably worse than Hispanics, according to USA TODAY analysis of the employment records of Facebook, Google and Yahoo in 2014.

Women now make up 35% of Facebook’s global workforce, up from 33%, and hold 19% of technical roles, up from 17%, the Menlo Park, Calif. company said last year.

In the U.S., Facebook has brought aboard more people of color. Three percent of Facebook workers are African American, up from 2%, and 5% of them are Hispanic, up from 4%.

But Facebook fell short where the lack of diversity is most acute, in the proportion of African-American and Hispanic workers in technical roles, which has stayed flat at 1% and 3% respectively since 2014. The percentage of African Americans and Hispanics in senior leadership positions at Facebook has also remained largely unchanged.

Chenault was the second black Fortune 500 CEO to announce plans to step down in 2017, along with Xerox Corp.’s Ursula Burns. Less than 5% of the 200 largest U.S. companies are led by African Americans, according to a 2016 report from recruitment firm Spencer Stuart.

A graduate of Harvard Law School, Chenault, 66, has been with American Express since 1981. He serves on the boards of IBM, Procter & Gamble and non-profit groups including the Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health. He’s also a philanthropist who took a lead role in raising money for the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

When Chenault announced he was stepping down from American Express, Warren Buffett, whose Berkshire Hathaway Inc. is the largest AmEx shareholder, said in a statement that he was the “gold standard for corporate leadership and the benchmark that I measure others against.”

To read full article, go to: https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2018/01/18/facebook-names-american-express-ceo-kenneth-chenault-first-african-american-all-white-board/1043015001/

Young Entrepreneurs Who Started Taharka Bros. Ice Cream in Baltimore are Subject of New Documentary “A Dream Preferred”

Large_devon_brown_and_mike_prokop__co-founders_of_taharka_brothers_ice_cream_featured_subjects_in_a_dream_preferred__photo_courtesy_of_tribeca_digital_studios__2_

The media’s representation of Baltimore in 2015 hasn’t been the kindest—well, aside from that time President Obama praised HBO’s The Wire. The sad fact is, the media would’ve continued to ignore the crime-ridden city’s residents’ needs and discontent had it not been for the tragic death of Freddie Gray, the 20-year-old black man who died while in police custody in early April.

Rightfully angered, many of Baltimore’s citizens let their frustrations be seen and heard via riots and protests. And since nationwide news outlets were there on the scene for every broken window and raised-in-solidarity fist, much of the viewing public saw Baltimore’s post-Gray events and formed opinions based on those acts.

Instead of spending so much time focusing on the city’s angriest moment, however, media outlets should be paying more attention to the young men and women who are busting their humps to uplift Baltimore both emotionally and financially.

In the new documentary short A Dream Preferred, filmmakers Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady (Jesus Camp) have done just that. Co-produced by Tribeca Digital Studios and American Express, the film—which is currently available on various cable on-demand platforms—follows the efforts of six young black men in Baltimore, led by an outspoken go-getter named Devon Brown, who’ve started their own dessert company, Taharka Bros. Ice Cream. (The name is a tribute to Taharka McCoy, a 25-year-old local mentor who was senselessly gunned down in January 2002.)

The company’s goal is, naturally, partly to use their handmade frozen treats to turn profits, but ultimately the Taharka Bros. are aiming to inspire other young entrepreneurs—they’re proof that inner-city minorities don’t need to play sports and make rap music to be successful.

A Dream Preferred, shot throughout the summer of 2013, captures their efforts to raise $28,000 in 29 days through the crowd-funding site Kickstarter. Dubbed “Vehicle for Change,” their Kickstarter plan was crucial to allow the brothers (in the figurative sense, not literally blood-connected siblings) elevate their business above using a rinky-dink ice cream truck.

With charisma to spare, the Taharka crew—especially Devon Brown, who’s the film’s de facto star—give A Dream Preferred a lightheartedness that offsets its heavier underlying themes, mainly the racial discrimination they experience everyday as young black men. In one scene, their efforts to solicit Kickstarter contributions from white folks is mostly a cold-shoulder struggle, and the Taharka brothers’ frustrations are visible.

That scene has struck a lot of people who’ve seen the film,” says Taharka Bros. creative director Darius Wilmore, 42. “It’s interesting, because that scene is part of the challenge of something like this. You have the softest product on the face of the Earth, which is ice cream, that’s made and sold by people who’ve been deemed to be the hardest, and that’s an interesting juxtaposition. Unfortunately, you can’t avoid the issue of race. It’s always gonna be there. Some people will be open to it and others aren’t, but you can’t let that stop you from doing what you’re trying to do.”

Continue reading “Young Entrepreneurs Who Started Taharka Bros. Ice Cream in Baltimore are Subject of New Documentary “A Dream Preferred””

First Lady Lauds American Express’ $1M Donation to Preserve DC Slave House

First lady Michelle Obama is surrounded by schoolchildren from Willow Springs Elementary School in Fairfax, Va., after they performed part of a play at the Decatur House, a National Trust for Historic Preservation Site and home to the David M. Rubenstein National Center for White House History, in Washington, Wednesday, May 22, 2013. The events were part of an announcement of a major philanthropic effort to preserve the Decatur House.1 (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
First Lady Michelle Obama is surrounded by schoolchildren from Willow Springs Elementary School in Fairfax, Va., after they performed part of a play at the Decatur House, a National Trust for Historic Preservation Site and home to the David M. Rubenstein National Center for White House History, in Washington, Wednesday, May 22, 2013. The events were part of an announcement of a major philanthropic effort to preserve the Decatur House.1 (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Michelle Obama said Wednesday that stories of toil and sweat by slaves once held at a historic home within sight of the White House are an important part of U.S. history, including her own personal story, and are “as vital to our national memory as any other.”

The first lady commented as American Express announced its donation of $1 million to the White House Historical Association to preserve Decatur House and pay for education programs for children. The nearly 200-year-old house is owned by the National Trust for Historic Preservation and operated by the association.

Most of the money will be spent to preserve the building’s former slave quarters, where about 20 men and women “spent their days serving those who came and went from this house” and their nights “jammed together on the second floor of the slave quarters, all the while holding onto a quiet hope, a quiet prayer that they, too, and perhaps their children, would someday be free,” Mrs. Obama said.

The red-brick, three-story townhouse built in 1818 has been home to many, including several secretaries of state.  Mrs. Obama, briefly invoking her ancestry as a descendant of a South Carolina slave, said even more history came from the back of Decatur House, where the slave quarters were located, “the kind of stories that too often get lost, the kinds of stories that are a part of so many of our families’ histories, including my own.”

Continue reading “First Lady Lauds American Express’ $1M Donation to Preserve DC Slave House”

The Good Things Black People Do, Give and Receive All Over The World
%d bloggers like this: