exceptional leader, black leadership, black coaching programmes, coaching programmes, leadership
Black Enterprise founder and chairman Earl Graves Sr., who passed away in April, was remembered this week as one of the 20th century’s greatest African American business leaders. He inspired millions to pursue their dreams in the corporate world while promoting social justice throughout the nation.
A longtime Scarsdale resident, Graves was a kindhearted man, practical jokester, and inveterate network creator, always looking to help others make the connections that would help them advance.
Graves looked good, too — in his trademark mutton-chop sideburns and perhaps attired in an outfit from Ralph Lauren he purchased on a shopping excursion to Bloomingdale’s with the Rev. Franklyn Richardson, pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Mount Vernon, where he was a parishioner.
“Earl Graves was a catalyst for change and progress in the African American community,” said Richardson, one of Graves' closest Scarsdale friends. “He also provided a bridge from the African American community to the larger white corporate community. He challenged the status quo. And he sought to make the powers and institutions accountable for the neglect African Americans received over the previous 400 years.”
Graves, who grew up in Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood, lived for decades with his wife, Barbara, on Heathcote Road, in a brick-faced palatial mansion in one of Scarsdale’s most desirable neighborhoods. Out back was a tennis court, swimming pool and a formal garden. Inside was his prized Steinway player piano, a collection of grandfather clocks, an ice cream parlor, and ample space for entertaining guests at his legendary parties.
The former U.S. Army Green Beret founded the magazine in the early 1970s, at a time when African Americans were just beginning to find a firm foothold in corporate America. His publication targeted black professionals, executives and entrepreneurs, as well as policymakers as he advocated for their inclusion in the mainstream of the American corporate arena.
He also fought for social justice in a society split by segregation and discrimination.
He did it through journalism, with his magazine, and at Black Enterprise networking events at ski resorts, golf and tennis clubs, as well as conferences for entrepreneurs and women seeking advancement.
He demonstrated how to succeed through his ownership of the nation’s largest minority-owned Pepsi-Cola bottling franchise in Washington, D.C. And he made his point to corporate America as a pioneering African American on the boards of major corporations, such as DaimlerChrysler, Aetna and AMR Corp., which runs American Airlines.
Graves was keenly aware of racism's grip on American society. In 1997, he said it wasn't a question of whether his grandchildren would be called the N-word. It was just a matter of time.
Four years later, one of his eight grandchildren, Earl "Gibby" Graves, had his first experience with the racial epithet when his father, Butch, showed him the word scratched on his Cadillac Escalade. By sixth grade, his grandson had to deal with classmates at Seven Bridges Middle School in Chappaqua who called out the slur repeatedly in his presence.
Graves inspired generations of African Americans. There were those from his generation, like Richardson, and Ray Robinson, a former AT&T executive. Then there was a younger cohort that belonged to the generation of his three sons — Butch, John, and Michael — who turned to Graves for direction and inspiration as they climbed the corporate or political ladder.
State Sen. Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins recalls the impact Earl Graves had on the African-American community.
“He was very accessible and such an important figure because of his willingness to share the secrets of business that many in the African American community were not privy to,” said state Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, D-Yonkers. “He broke so many barriers.”
Graves was a force in the political community as well. He came of age as an aide to U.S. Sen. Robert F. Kennedy in the mid-1960s. In June 1968, he was at the Ambassador Hotel that fateful night when Kennedy was assassinated. He was an adviser in the 1980s presidential campaigns of civil rights leader Jesse Jackson and a force behind Barack Obama’s historic victory in 2008.
He helped out locally, too, recalled Westchester Deputy County Executive Ken Jenkins, the former county legislator, who was a contemporary with Graves’ sons and socialized with them. Jenkins considered himself part of the “extended waves” of the magazine publisher’s vast circles.
“His whole life was about empowering others, just pulling them up and showing them the path to prosperity,” said Jenkins. “He made a difference everywhere he went.”
Source : lohud.com, 9th April 2020
CBEEBIES’ LAUNCH of its first ever animation based on the lives of a black British family, JoJo & Gran Gran, is long overdue but it’s also an ideal watch at a time when many grandchildren will spending time away from their grandparents as part of efforts to keep them safe during the coronavirus outbreak.
JoJo & Gran Gran is an animated series about an almost five-year-old girl and her fun and wise grandmother.
They live close by to one another in a bustling London neighbourhood and Gran Gran, voiced by Cathy Tyson, always has something planned to do when JoJo, voiced by Taiya Samuel, comes to visit.
Throughout the series, the stories are inspired by the passing of time, covering topics such as life cycles, the passing of the seasons, growth or the sequencing involved in activities like baking a cake or catching a bus.
JoJo adores her grandma and the time they spend together. Gran Gran is very proud of her Saint Lucian heritage and is always happy when she has an opportunity to teach JoJo about the island’s culture.
In one episode, JoJo draws a picture to show to her great grandma over video call but just as she’s about to show her a picture, the internet goes down! Gran Gran suggests they post JoJo’s picture to Great Gran Gran in Saint Lucia and it’s through this JoJo learns why a letter takes such a long time to travel halfway across the world.
In another episode, JoJo searches for a butterfly to complete her nature tick book. She learns that all butterflies start life as furry little caterpillars – a pretty apt analogy to remind us about the benefits of change.
Within each animated episode, there is a live action moment which features children talking about the themes covered.
JoJo & Gran Gran is based on characters created by Laura Henry-Allain, the look of the series was defined by award-winning illustrator Leo Espinosa.
If you and your little ones can’t get enough of the show, there are a selection of interactive games on the CBeebies website so you can continue the JoJo & Gran Gran fun.
You can catch up on all the episodes via BBC iPlayer.
Source : The Voice, 24 March 2020
The complete archive of award-winning novelist Andrea Levy has been acquired by the British Library.
Future novels, working drafts, intended and early rejection letters are among the archive of writer best known for her 2004 novel Small Island which chronicles the experiences of Windrush Generation immigrants to England, the Mother Country after the Second World War.
Other items in the archive include working drafts for her five published novels.
In a statement the British Library said the acquisition would offer the public an “opportunity to explore Levy’s life and legacy in much greater depth”.
Andrea Levy was an internationally bestselling author whose work explored her own experiences as a daughter of Windrush Generation parents who came to Britain in the post-war period, and examines the history and connections between Britain and the Caribbean.
After earning a degree in textile design and working in graphics, Levy began writing in her mid-thirties and rose to international prominence with Small Island.
The book won the Orange Prize, the Whitbread Novel Award, Whitbread Book of the Year, the Orange Best of the Best and the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize.
Levy’s 2010 follow-up The Long Song was short-listed for the Booker Prize and won the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction.
Levy’s extensive research into the history of Jamaica and her own family background is a key part of the archive, which includes audio recordings of interviews with her mother Amy Levy, used in the writing of Small Island.
There are also short stories, digital records and Levy’s email archive. Correspondence ranges from early rejection letters to letters of support and praise from writers such as Toni Morrison, Margaret Forster, Linda Grant and Joan Bakewell.
It also contains notes and drafts for unpublished and unrealised work.
Included within this are ideas for future novels, such as her intended sixth novel planned to portray the story of a marriage between a black woman and a white man and an unproduced screenplay about the life of Mary Seacole demonstrating the Jamaican nurse’s compassion and determination.
Notably, the archive also contains a darkly comic unpublished dialogue, written without expectation that others would see it, in which Levy faces up to her imminent death from cancer.
Other papers present in the archive document Levy’s commitment to issues of representation, diversity and inclusion, particularly as Executive Producer on the screen adaptation of The Long Song and in other collaborations with Lenny Henry, Gary Younge and Baroness Lola Young.
Zoë Wilcox, Curator of Contemporary Performance and Creative Archives, at the British Library said:
“Andrea Levy’s voice is present throughout her papers: vivid, alive, often chivvying herself along with notes to self in red pen.
“Whether writing about role models as diverse as James Baldwin and Julie Andrews, or trying to convince herself that her life was worthy of a memoir, Levy’s modesty, humour, and commitment to confronting the truth are evident throughout. Levy was an extraordinary writer whose literary significance will be celebrated for years to come.
Wilcox added: “Her writing is witty, unfailingly human, and consistently places British-Caribbean history at the centre of our national consciousness. We are incredibly proud that the British Library has acquired the archive for the nation in accordance with Andrea’s wishes. Following a first glimpse of her papers in our 2018 exhibition Windrush: Songs in a Strange Land, this acquisition will offer researchers the opportunity to explore Levy’s life and legacy in much greater depth.”
The British Library’s oral history collections also contain Levy’s ‘Authors’ Lives’ interview for National Life Stories. The full recording comprising over 14 hours of material is available to listen to onsite at the British Library.
Levy’s husband Bill Mayblin, said:“Late in her life it came as a surprise to Andrea that her carefully saved boxes of notes, letters and early drafts could become something as posh-sounding as an archive. But once convinced of it there was only one place she ever wanted that archive to go, and that was to the British Library.
“Not only had the Library greatly helped her research as a writer, but because much of her work examined British colonial history – a history full of omission and injustice – it seemed fitting, and somehow just, that her archive should finally find a home in a truly national institution.”
He added: “She would be very pleased that through the British Library her work and her story is now owned, and valued, by we British.”
Source : The Voice, 10 February 2020
Ian Stephenson was "bit by the bug".
It was never his intention when he started working at McDonald's as a wide-eyed 16-year-old just trying to get through his studies.
But 25 years later Ian now owns ten restaurants across Croydon.
He said: "I'm South London born and bred, so this is my patch. I have family in and around Croydon. I went to school in Lambeth."
When he finished studying after two years of part-time work at the company, Ian got the opportunity to work for a year abroad in Jamaica.
There he met Patricia Isaacs, a McDonald's grandee who brought the business to Jamaica, and it was she who set him on the path to owning his own restaurant.
"One of the things she said to me was 'Would you not want to own your own?'"
Ian said. "And she had done a very similar journey and after that it’s something I had aspirations to do. So when the opportunity unveiled itself I took it with two hands."
Ian never went to university and instead worked himself through the ranks on the business management side until he was Director of Franchises across the whole of South-East England.
But then the chance to buy two restaurants - one on the Purley Way in Waddon and the other in Thornton Heath - came up and he took it.
But why did he give up managing such a huge area to own just two restaurants?
"Being hands on and working in the restaurant is always something I’ve enjoyed," he said "Probably why I stayed with McDonald's.
"It wasn’t my intention as a 16-year-old to stay but I enjoyed that side of the business. I enjoyed serving customers but also serving and helping others around me.
Two restaurants became four, and then ten. But what is the secret to Ian's success?
He said: "It may sound blasé but you are a people business. You’re serving but you're also working with a lot of people.
"When it boils down, it's how you look after your people and how you develop them.
"Everyone working at the restaurants are at a different stage of their careers.
"If you want to progress in the business I’ve got to make sure there are programmes to do that. If you want flexibility while you’re studying, like I needed, I can do that too."
Ian estimated 70 per cent of his 1,000 employees are in some kind of education.
One of the cooks in the kitchen, Miles, is studying business management in Greenwich, another, Garfield, is studying bio-medicine.
Ian said: "From my employees I want to get what the business needs but also they need to get what they want and need.
"Generally, if you take that route, you won’t go too far wrong."
For Ian running a business isn't just about satisfying customers and looking after staff. They should also give back to the community.
"It is a responsibility of businesses to give back," he said "It could be something like football kits for the local team (they sponsor 6 teams) such as ‘All Stars’ but we also sponsor Legacy, a local youth centre."
When Ian was younger he went to youth centres so he knows how important they are.
He said: "I now operate a business in Croydon so I now have the ability to give back. If everybody does a little, we can make this a nicer place to grow up. I’ve got three kids growing up here, I've got cousins, nieces, nephews."
Last year was the worst year for retail in 25 years. Would there always be a place for McDonald's on the high street?
"I think there’ll always be a place for all business," Ian said. "The high street today is a different place to what it was 50 years ago and that very different from what it was like 50 years before that.
"The High Street is in the UK’s DNA. But you’ve got to adapt to the needs of people.
"Customers are going to determine what our High Streets will look like.
"And that’s true of all businesses, not just McDonald's."
Source : MyLondon - 10/1/20