Tag: Florida A&M

Luke Lawal and Brittany Ireland Build HBCU Buzz, a Platform for Students and Alumni to Stay Connected

HBCU Buzz founder Luke Lawal and HBCU Buzz president Brittany Ireland (photo via black enterprise.com)

article by Courtney Connley via blackenterprise.com

While college helps to build your network and contacts for current and future opportunities, the strength of the HBCU community is one that provides a unique connection for its students and graduates.

Just ask millennials Luke Lawal and Brittany Ireland, who are proud HBCU alums and the leaders behind the popular site, HBCU Buzz.

“I realized that after going to college no matter where you go you can pinpoint an HBCU graduate,” says HBCU Buzz founder Lawal.

Graduating from Bowie State University in 2012 with a degree in bio-chemistry, Lawal works at a lobbyist firm on Capitol Hill and admits that it was the unique HBCU connection that helped him to grow connections at his current job.

“My general counsel is a Howard grad and we connected before I even got the job via LinkedIn,” says Lawal. “Whether I went to Bowie or he went to Howard, you generally just gravitate towards wanting to help and that’s one of the biggest benefits of graduating from an HBCU.”

His idea to launch HBCU Buzz came in 2009 during his undergraduate years, where he held a marketing position in the Student Government Association (SGA). With this position, the Maryland native traveled to different black colleges across the nation and got an inside view of how things were run on different campuses.

“When I was at Florida A&M I just remember visiting some of the SGA offices and talking to their students and I realized they have a lot of different techniques that us in the north just aren’t aware of,” he says. “So I was trying to figure out why we hadn’t connected with them and why we weren’t publicizing what other HBCUs were doing.”

It was then that his idea for a blog site came about. After spending much time at Howard University and eventually being contacted by BET to help with their Rip the Runway show, Lawal linked arms with Ireland, who was serving as Howard University’s homecoming fashion show coordinator.

“I asked him about HBCU Buzz and I was so excited and loved the idea,” says Ireland, who graduated from Howard in 2013 with a degree in public relations and a minor in sports management. “Immediately we were a team.”

The two locked arms and officially launched the site in March 2011, with Ireland working her way up from event coordinator, to director of PR and now president of the site.

Since it’s launch in 2011, HBCU Buzz has grown from a blog site that covers campus events, news, sports and fashion, to a brand that partners with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, HBCUs for Obama, and political activists to host on-campus events across the nation.

With a growing readership that consists of more than 81,000 followers on Twitter, 55,000 on Instagram and 20,000 on Facebook, Lawal and Ireland make it clear that the secret to growing the HBCU Buzz brand is its strong connection to the community.

To read more, go to: http://www.blackenterprise.com/education/young-professionals-built-plaform-hbcu/

Virtual Instruments CEO John W. Thompson Replaces Bill Gates as Chairman of Microsoft Board

John W. Thompson, Chairman, Microsoft Board of Directors (Image: File)

John W. Thompson, CEO of Virtual Instruments and former CEO of Symantec Corp, has been named chairman of Microsoft’s board of directors, according to reports.  An industry leader for more than 40 years, he has made phenomenal strides in technology, having served as the only African American leading a major tech company during his time at Symantec. The Florida A&M and MIT alumnus is credited with growing the software giant’s revenues from $632 million to $6.2 billion and leading the growth of its worldwide workforce to more than 17,500 employees.

Thompson has served as an independent director on the board of Microsoft and also brings his experience as a former vice-president at IBM to his current post.  An early innovator and investor in tech advances in Silicon Valley, Thompson has also been included among Black Enterprise’s “100 Most Powerful African Americans in Corporate America,” and was named “Corporate Executive of the Year” as head of Symantec in 2004.

The West Palm Beach, Fla. native was recognized early for his knack for sales and has had a go-getter approach to his advancement. In a recent New York Times article, Thompson shared the following on career and business lessons he’s learned through the years: “First, never take yourself too seriously, or work is boring. Next, people make the difference. You can have great technology, but if it’s not complemented by great people, it won’t go anywhere. Finally, customers buy from people they like. I can always circle back to former customers and suggest they might want to take a look at our products.”

article by Janell Hazelwood via blackenterprise.com