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From former NASA astronaut Mark Kelly, who is making a bid for the U.S. Senate, to presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren, the refrain du jour among 2020 Democratic presidential candidates seems to be a pledge to swear off donations from corporate political action committees (PACs). It’s a good sound bite to drop on the campaign trail: rejecting corporate and special interest money. But does it really matter on paper?
Steven Billet, who oversees a master’s program in legislative affairs at George Washington University, says candidates who refuse corporate PAC money are basically “giving the sleeves out of their vest.”
“They are giving up nothing because they wouldn’t have gotten much corporate PAC money,” Billet tells Fortune.
A corporate PAC, a type of PAC that raises money in the name of a company, can contribute up to $ 5,000 to a candidate’s campaign per election. To put this in perspective, an individual donor can donate up to $ 2,800 of personal money, and a couple can give up to $ 5,600. So, if a candidate refuses $ 5,000 from a corporate PAC, they could potentially get the same amount from a private donor.
“Corporate PAC contributions are not a big piece of the pie for major candidates,” says Andrew Mayersohn, a researcher at the Center for Responsive Politics. “There just aren’t enough corporate PACs out there to fund much of an eight-figure senate campaign, let alone a presidential campaign.”
And, according to Mayersohn, corporate PACs specifically “aren’t particularly ideological,” so they tend to give money to incumbents, rather than candidates in open primaries.
“Most corporate PACs don’t make direct contributions to presidential candidates,” he says, “especially when there’s a primary where you don’t know what the outcome will be.”
And even when corporate PACs do give money to a candidate, the sum pales in comparison to other contributions. In the 2016 presidential election, for example, Hillary Clinton raised around $ 250,000 from corporate PACs–constituting less than 0.5% of the total money she raised, data analyst Brendan Glavin told Marketplace. That number was even smaller for then-candidate Donald Trump: $ 26,000 or 0.01% of his total fundraising.
Finding the Loopholes
While corporate PACs might not donate money to a specific candidate who doesn’t want them, they can still donate to a political party. A candidate like Warren could reject the corporate and special interest money, but that doesn’t mean the Democratic Party as a whole will do the same. Money that comes through the party could end up being used to support an individual candidate or to sponsor political events.
But perhaps the easiest workaround is that people who work for corporations can donate on an individual basis, money that many candidates gladly continue to accept. In some cases, candidates may even seek out money from a company’s executives on an individual basis.
Michael Williams, founder of the public policy and communications consulting firm The Williams Group, calls it a “sick irony” that candidates will turn away lobbyist or corporate PAC money, while continuing to accept money from executives at the same companies.
“What’s the difference? If you won’t take a particular bank’s money, but you’ll take the bank executive’s money?” Williams tells Fortune. “Are you really materially changing anything?”
Williams says doing so only perpetuates the myth that money influences policy. If a candidate is completely opposed to an industry, he says, those corporations won’t give them money because they don’t expect money to change a candidate’s position.
“I don’t know anyone who was a ‘no’ on something until they got a contribution and then became a ‘yes,’” he says.
And these private donations tend to add up much more quickly than those from a corporate PAC. Unlike individual contribution limits, which have grown over time, corporate PACs continue to face the $ 5,000 per candidate donation limit–a figure that hasn’t changed since 1974. As such, the total contributions from individuals have skyrocketed as compared to those from PACs.
According to 2017-18 data from OpenSecrets, corporate PAC donations to Democrats totaled $ 149,426,431, while business donations from individuals to Democrats totaled $ 920,808,050–more than six times the total given by PACs.
FEC data for the 2016 presidential election shows that corporate PAC donations to Democratic presidential candidates totaled $ 942,116, and independent expenditures for non-political committees totaled $ 4,582,471.
But not everyone feels rejecting corporate PAC money is misguided. At the very least, the move could be an effective branding strategy.
Brad Smith, a former FEC commissioner and the current chairman of the Institute for Free Speech, a nonprofit that advocates for loosening campaign-finance regulations, calls swearing off corporate PAC money “not meaningless, but a calculation,” and says the advantage of doing so could outweigh the loss of PAC money.
“It might even get them a net increase in contributions if it persuades more individuals to give,” Smith tells Fortune.
What about super PACs?
While not all of the Democratic candidates are aligned in this respect, many of the expected frontrunners–including Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris, and Elizabeth Warren–have disavowed super PACs. But this is tricky in practice.
Super PACs have only been around since 2010, but unlike other PACs, they can accept unlimited contributions from any non-foreign source and can spend unlimited amounts to influence an election–meaning that their potential power is also limitless.
Yet super PACs are intended to operate independently from a candidate: they are legally prohibited from contributing directly to a candidate or party, meaning that their funds are usually used to run ads for or against particular candidates and issues. As a result, a candidate can say that they don’t support a super PAC operating on their behalf, but in practice, there isn’t all that much they can do to stop it.
“Any candidate who swears he won’t accept super PAC money is either ignorant, or assumes the listener is ignorant,” says Smith. “A candidate cannot ‘refuse’ super PAC support. He can publicly ask a super PAC not to spend in his race, but the super PAC can choose to ignore the plea and spend whatever it wants.”
Such a claim, therefore, amounts to “grandstanding,” he says.
In addition to swearing off super PACs, some candidates–like Julian Castro, Tulsi Gabbard, Beto O’Rourke, and Elizabeth Warren–have sworn off PAC money entirely, meaning they won’t accept money from labor or ideological PACs, either. Gabbard, O’Rourke, and Warren are also joined by Cory Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand, Kamala Harris, and Amy Klobuchar in a pledge to refuse money from lobbyists.
But the pledge that might matter more than the others, according to Mayersohn, is Warren’s. Going a step further than the rest of the crowd, Warren told supporters in a February email that she would not attend high-dollar fundraisers, dinners, or cocktail receptions with donors, in order to provide “equal access.”
Looks like 2020 might become the small dollar donation election, after all.
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For the 13th consecutive year, Kaiser Permanente has earned a 100 percent score in the 2019 Corporate Equality Index, a survey administered by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation. As part of this national benchmarking survey and report, which evaluates corporate policies and practices related to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer workplace policies, HRC named Kaiser Permanente a Best Place to Work for LGBTQ Equality.
“We are proud to be recognized once again by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation for our ongoing commitment to ensure our workforce represents our members, patients, and communities — irrespective of gender, gender identity, or sexual orientation,” said Ronald L. Copeland, MD, FACS, senior vice president and chief equity, inclusion, and diversity officer. “For over 70 years, Kaiser Permanente has regarded equity, inclusion, and diversity as core principles of our organization.”
Now in its 17th year, the Corporate Equality Index report scores businesses on their LGBTQ-related policies and practices, including non-discrimination workplace protections, employment benefits, competency programs, public engagement on LGBTQ equity, and responsible citizenship.
By inspiring and engaging all Americans, the HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBTQ people. It is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer equality.]]>
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Big executives should be held criminally liable for misconduct on their watch.
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For months, activist investor William Ackman promised to rebuild his record. Now he has some numbers to prove it.
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Drew Binsky convinced his parents to accept his non-traditional career path as a travel video maker.
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BLACK ENTERPRISE recently unveiled our roster of the Most Powerful Women in Corporate America, identifying the highest-ranking female executives of the nation’s largest corporations and honoring this business elite at our 14th annual Women of Power Summit. Included among the three executives representative of this group featured on the cover of our January-March issue was Gloria Boyland, corporate VP, operations and service support for FedEx Corp., which provides millions across the globe with a range of transportation, commerce and business services.
The Savannah, Georgia native, who holds an MBA from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and a law degree from the University of Pennsylvania Law School, joined FedEx in 2004 as vice president of service experience and quality in which she coordinated a range of company-wide improvement initiatives, among other areas, before rising to her current position. The following are Boyland’s responses to questions on her innovative role, career journey and advice to young professionals seeking to advance to corporate leadership:
Share with us your role as corporate vice president, operations and service support? In working with members of FedEx’s Strategic Management Committee, how do you help drive innovation and improvement throughout the organization?
As corporate vice president of operations and service support for FedEx Corporation, I am responsible for the evaluation and leadership of priority advanced operations technology initiatives, service quality improvements, customer experience improvements, and new service offerings for the company.
Technology advancements, digitalization, and the explosive growth of e-commerce require companies like FedEx to respond rapidly to rising customer expectations in a cost-effective manner. My role in the innovation space is comprised of three key parts: 1) I work closely with the members of the FedEx Strategic Management Committee to define key strategic opportunities; 2) I scan the technology space to identify optimal technology partners; and 3) I lead initiatives to achieve speed and scale, such as the recently announced FedEx SameDay Bot.
Define Quality Driven Management and how that approach is a part of the company’s DNA?
Quality Driven Management, or QDM in short, is the secret sauce to the way we work at FedEx. QDM provides a set of common principles and methods that unleashes the creativity of our worldwide team of more than 450,000 team members as we deliver on our Purple Promise to “make every FedEx experience outstanding.” QDM is like a universal translator – no matter which global region, function or title a team member has, QDM instills in us the passion and commitment to improve customer experience and business performance.
What is it like to work with FedEx founder and CEO Fred Smith? What lessons have you learned from him? How has that relationship impacted you from a professional and personal standpoint?
Mr. Smith is an amazing, transformational leader who inspires and motivates his team to perform at high levels. He founded FedEx on a “people first” philosophy 45 years ago, and that strong corporate culture continues to be deeply embedded across the organization today. He believes that every one of our more than 450,000 team members across the globe is a vital link in the chain of success. I have learned from him how absolutely critical it is to foster loyalty, the customer’s experience and an entrepreneurial spirit with each team member.
We would like insight into your professional evolution during your formative years. What led to your interest in technology and logistics? Who and what served as your inspiration in the field? Who were your mentors?
Over the years, I have sought and received advice and counsel from family, friends and colleagues, including my own leadership chain and the many team members who make up my organization. Research has shown that diversity of perspective is not only essential to business success, but also to personal success. I have gained perspective from the myriad of people who have mentored me throughout my career and each one was valuable in their own unique way.
Define your management style and guiding principles.
My direct reports are vice presidents who lead their own organizations, so I embrace a coaching management style. My team plays a vital role in the success of my overall organization – everyone matters. At FedEx, we have adopted a new program called Coach Forward, which focuses on enhancing work performance and motivation.
I have three guiding principles: Each day, recommit to doing your best and being your best; say: do ratio must be 1:1; and, step back so others can step up. These principles ensure success and a sense of accomplishment.
BLACK ENTERPRISE has appropriately named you as one of our Most Powerful Women in Corporate America. As such, what have been some of the challenges that you faced as a woman in your career journey? How have overcoming them shaped you as a business leader?
One of my biggest personal challenges has been maintaining confidence in the midst of setbacks. It has taught me to persevere and to trust my instincts in the face of doubt from others. Persistence and patience, I have learned, are necessary as one struggles to attain and maintain relevance in the organization. Now, as a business leader, I am confident in my decisions. I learned to find my own voice and trust in my capabilities and experience.
Provide us with your views of the state of diversity in the tech industry? How can more African American women, in particular, make gains in reaching top leadership positions in the corporate sector?
Women and minorities have a presence in the technology industry, but continue to be underrepresented as leadership roles are dominated by white and Asian men. In 2017, women made up about 26 percent of the tech industry, and black women were just 3 percent of that overall number. Leading by example, then creating opportunities for black women is the strategy for increasing our representation. We need to inspire and engage.
Leaders such as Shirley Ann Jackson at FedEx, Linda Johnson Rice at Tesla, and Debra Lee at Twitter, exemplify the importance of representation and influence through corporate board oversight and governance. Innovators like Stephanie Lampkin, founder of Blendoor, and Kimberly Bryant, founder of Black Girls Code, are executing the grassroots approach. Stephanie founded Blendoor to help eliminate racial bias in hiring. She is also publishing a data-driven report, BlendScore, which will rate companies on diversity and inclusion.
Maya Angelou said it well, “When you learn, teach. When you get, give.” Inspiration and engagement will ignite change.
What advice do you give young professionals who aspire to achieve leadership positions in corporate America?
Be brave. Take some risk. Someone once told me never to take on a role that wasn’t fully established with a clear career path and accountabilities. I have done the exact opposite and it has served me well. We all have different paths to success. Find the path that suits you. Along the way, you’ll find people who will champion you and willingly help lift you up.
The post Gloria Boyland, One of The Most Powerful Women in Corporate America, Drives Innovation At FedEx appeared first on Black Enterprise.
I just want to point out there are one or two other issues that may also screw things up, especially for financial markets, in addition to whether Britain slips its moorings and drifts away from Europe to somewhere lost in the mid-Atlantic.
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A black woman may not be the image that comes to mind for most people when they hear corporate power—and it certainly won’t be the result of a Google search—but around here, we know better. Women of color are remaking the face of leadership teams and C-suites at corporations across the country and around the globe.
So we’re celebrating the fearless female executives who have managed both to stand firm in the face of hostile corporate environments and to take the bull by the metaphorical horns, powering their careers to the top.
The recent Women in the Workplace report from McKinsey and LeanIn showed that black women receive the least support of all women (and significantly less support than men) from their managers, with just 35% reporting that their managers create opportunities for them to showcase their work, promote their contributions to others, or socialize with them outside of work.
So how have dozens of black women overcome these obstacles to make it to the top of the corporate ladder? By owning their power, of course.
“Take ownership for your own career,” says Tracey Travis, CFO of Estée Lauder.
“You have an opportunity of readying yourself and expressing an interest in those areas that the management team is looking at in terms of valued experience and trying to build relationships with the folks that run those areas to make yourself more known.”
The 136 women on the roster make up our largest ever list of the crème of the crop of the most powerful black women in corporate America. They have succeeded by leading with performance, deeply understanding their company culture, deftly navigating the corporate landscape, and—above all—wisely wielding their power to determine their own destiny.
HOW WE CHOSE THE MOST POWERFUL WOMEN IN CORPORATE AMERICA
Hold companywide and industrywide influence, each list member represents the highest-ranking executives among the following universes:
1,000 largest publicly traded companies
100 largest international companies with significant U.S. operations
S&P 500 companies
- Largest privately held companies and institutions
- Each executive has a direct impact on ensuring their corporations are market leaders and/or play a vital leadership role in revenue generation, profitability, market share, and strategic development. As such, they hold top-tier and executive officer positions of the entire enterprise; oversee major global, national, and regional subsidiaries and divisions; and maintain significant budget authority. Positions include those with oversight of operations, sales, marketing, talent, technological infrastructure, and product development.
Each executive reports directly to the CEO, COO, or the executive management team or hold positions on corporate board committees.
Top-tier executives who serve as corporate officers or members of the senior leadership team.
Women who hold C-suite positions including CEO (chief executive officer); COO (chief operating
officer); CFO (chief financial officer); CAO (chief administrative officer); CIO/CTO (chief information
officer/chief technology officer); or another top designation on the corporate leadership
team, senior management group, executive committee, or corporate board. Those who hold the
positions of Chief Compliance Officer; Chief Legal Officer and/or General Counsel and Chief Human
Resource Officer are included. Other titles include president, general manager, executive vice
president, or other such high-ranking positions. Using our research and reporting, BE may have
also chosen executives based on their decision-making clout and influence within a given sector
All executives have held their positions as of Dec. 1, 2018.
Executives who have been excluded from our list:
- Non-executive corporate directors—regardless of board position including chairman and lead director.
- Executives who manage local and statewide divisions.
- Executives who work for government agencies and entities under full government control.
- Regardless of inclusion on the executive committee, leading executives with sole responsibility for staff functions such as corporate communications, corporate affairs, investor relations, public affairs, public policy, media relations, and community affairs.
- Although vital to global business overall, CEOs and top executives from the BE 100s—the nation’s largest black businesses—were not included. (BE has separate rankings for the BE 100s.)
2019 marks the first time companies have to put operating leases onto their balance sheets.
Viacom will roll out an ambitious internal corporate initiative dubbed Spark that aims to engage and energize the company’s 10,000 employees with an expansive slate of conference-style programming. Viacom president-CEO Bob Bakish calls Spark “a multi-market next generation town hall.” The sessions kick off Tuesday with a 50-minute Q&A with Bakish and Viacom vice chair […]
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A new report from the Alliance for Board Diversity (ABD) and Deloitte, reveals that women and people of color represent 34% of all corporate board seats in Fortune 500 companies—placing board diversity at an all-time high.
Here are some key findings from the study:
-Black woman gained 32 board seats in 2018, an increase of 26.2% from 2016.
-Black men gained 26 board seats in 2018, an increase of 8.5% from 2016.
-Black and Asian women achieved the largest increase in board seats; black women at a 44.8% increase, and Asian women at a 30.8% increase.
-Companies are increasingly re-appointing minority board members to their boards rather than seeking out new directors.
“The increase in boardroom diversity over the last two years is encouraging, but we must not overlook that Caucasian/White men still hold 66% of all Fortune 500 board seats and 91.1% of chairmanships on these boards,” said Linda Akutagawa, chair for the Alliance for Board Diversity and president and CEO, LEAP (Leadership for Asian Pacifics).
“While progress has been achieved, there is still much more work to do,” said Deb DeHaas, vice chairman and national managing partner, Deloitte Center for Board Effectiveness.
‘Wokeness’ in the Boardroom
Corporate America has been responsive to the wave of activism, particularly across social media, in regards to racism, sexism, economic inequality, and various other societal ills. Last year, Nike interjected itself into the heated debate over NFL players kneeling during the national anthem pre-game, to protest police brutality. The athletic apparel company made the symbol of the kneeling movement, Colin Kaepernick, a star in one of its ad campaigns.
The risk of offending customers who disagree with protesting on the field seemed to be worth taking. Nike’s sales increased 31% after the Kaepernick ad backlash.
Recently, Gillette, a Procter & Gamble brand, released an ad in line with the #MeToo movement, urging men to take responsibility for sexist behavior of other men. The ad is inciting both praise and outrage.
It’s not yet known how the controversial ad will affect P&G’s bottom line; the company is set to release its Q2 earnings next week (but so far, Wall Street speculation is favorable).
Burger King is the latest company to wade into political waters after posting a tweet poking fun at a misspelled tweet of Donald Trump’s.
due to a large order placed yesterday, we're all out of hamberders.
just serving hamburgers today.
— Burger King (@BurgerKing) January 15, 2019
CNN coined this ad trend “woke advertising.” This “wokeness” has presumably made it into the corporate boardrooms as the growing diversity board diversity numbers seem to evidence.
Despite Spate of Black Executive Board Appointments, Challenges Persist
A number of high-profile black executives have been appointed to the boards of some of the world’s largest companies. Last November, Nike announced the appointment of John W. Rogers, the CEO and founder of Ariel Investments L.L.C. to its board. Retired AMEX CEO Ken Chenault sits on the boards of Facebook and Airbnb. Edith Cooper, the executive vice president and global head of human capital at Goldman Sachs was added to Silicon Valley company Slack’s board. View a full listing of black board members on BLACK ENTERPRISE’s 2018 Registry of Corporate Directors.
As progress is made, challenges remain. One issue is that most board appointments come from the C-suite level and from the pool of corporate CEOs, in particular. The number of black CEOS at the corporate level has shrunk in recent years. Chenault actually discussed this issue with BE in a recent interview.
“We have a long way to go,” said Chenault. “As I’ve said publicly, I think it’s embarrassing that the number of African American CEOs has actually been reduced from eight years ago. That’s a serious problem. From an African American perspective, we are underrepresented. We can talk all the theories we want. People talk about the complexity of this issue. I know that there are very qualified people. They just haven’t gotten the opportunity.”
While it’s important to celebrate the achievement made in diversifying American corporate boards, there is still the need to build up the pipeline of qualified black executives that can ascend to the C-suite.
The post Fortune 500 Company Corporate Board Diversity at All-Time High appeared first on Black Enterprise.
Each year corporate governance changes with the times and the needs of investors. This year there are several trends corporate board should be watching in order to stay ahead of the changes, Betsy Atkins, CEO and founder, Baja Corp.
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Duke University's look at where 212 CFOs stand showed that 48.6 percent think the next negative growth period is less than 12 months away.
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HICL Infrastructure Company Limited (HICL.L) reported profit before tax of 192.6 million pounds for the six months ended 30 September 2018, up from 87.6 million pounds in the year-ago period. Earnings per share rose to 10.8 pence from 5.1 pence a year ago.
RTT – Earnings
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Before they were placed into board service to protect assets of shareholders at some of the largest publicly traded corporations on the S&P 500, a phalanx of BLACK ENTERPRISE Registry of Corporate Directors members chose military service to secure our nation. After their tours of duty, many of these black veterans applied their leadership and strategic skills to advance in corporate America while some decided to build distinguished careers in the Armed Forces. All, however, were drafted to serve on corporate boards because they consistently exhibited the right stuff when it came to management, decisiveness, and sound judgment.
As you would expect, most of these board members are involved in technology and aerospace and defense—sectors in which equipment and processes, in some cases, have been perfected for military and government use before being modified for consumers. Corporations in other industries have clearly benefitted from leaders who spent years developing detailed plans to ensure successful outcomes and at times have done so with literally lives on the line.
In honor of Veterans Day, we salute Registry members who have proudly represented America in this capacity. Using bio information, we share their military journey. You will be fascinated by this cadre of tops guns, military geniuses, and inspirational heroes—all bound by patriotism, sacrifice, and honor.
Gen. Colin Powell
The most prominent among them: Gen. Colin Powell, who rose to become the nation’s first African American Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff—the pinnacle position in the Armed Forces—as well as the first African American to head the diplomatic corps as Secretary of State. The retired four-star Army general “found his calling” while attending the City College of New York, where he studied geology and joined the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC). Serving as the commander of his unit, he has often been quoted saying that the opportunity helped provide him with structure and direction. After graduating in 1958, Powell was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army. In the 1960s, he served two tours of duty in Vietnam and has been awarded as many 11 military decorations in all.
After receiving an M.B.A. at George Washington University and gaining a White House fellowship in 1972, he would serve four presidents, holding positions in the Defense department and at the Pentagon, involved in the coordination of military campaigns over the course of three decades that included the bombing of Libya and both Iraq Wars.
Powell currently serves on the board of Salesforce.com.
Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III
Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III is a retired U.S. Army General with nearly 41 years of military service and extensive operational experience, having commanded troops in combat at the 1-, 2-, 3- and 4-star levels. As the Commander of U.S. Central Command from March 2013 through March 2016, he was responsible for the 20-country Central Region that includes Iraq, Syria, Iran, Yemen, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia. He was also the Combined Forces Commander in Iraq and Syria.
Austin is the Class of 1951 Leadership Chair for the Study of Leadership in the Department of Behavioral Sciences & Leadership at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York for the academic years 2016-17 and 2017-18. A graduate of the U.S. Military Academy with master’s degrees from Auburn University in Education and Webster University in Business Management, he holds numerous awards and decorations, including five Defense Distinguished Service Medals, the Silver Star, and the Legion of Merit.
Austin is a corporate director on the board of Nucor Corporation.
Frank M. Clark Jr.
Frank M. Clark Jr. has been president of the Chicago Board of Education since 2015 and served as chairman and CEO of Commonwealth Edison Co. (also known as ComEd), an affiliate of Exelon Corp., from 2005 to 2012. He has held various positions at the company, ranging from governmental and community affairs to distribution services and marketing. As such, he has cemented his reputation as one of the most versatile leaders in the energy sector.
The only time he did not work for the company during his 45-year career was when he was drafted in 1967, shortly after being hired for a mailroom position. He served two years in the U.S. Army, including a year in Vietnam. Once his tour was over, Clark returned to work at ComEd and at the same time, went back to school to earn bachelor and law degrees from DePaul University.
Clark serves on the boards of Waste Management Inc. and Aetna Inc.
Major Gen. Augustus Leon Collins
From his bio on Huntington Ingalls Industries’ site: “Collins served in the U.S. Army and Mississippi National Guard for more than 35 years and held numerous command and staff positions, including command of the Mississippi National Guard’s 155th Brigade Combat Team, which deployed to Iraq and was responsible for security operations in the southern and western provinces.
Collins was promoted to brigadier general in 2005 and is the first African-American to attain the rank of general in the history of the Mississippi National Guard. He retired in 2016 after serving five years as the adjutant general of both the Mississippi Army National Guard and the Mississippi Air National Guard.”
Collins serves on the board of Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc.
Major Gen. Elder Granger
Major Gen. Elder Granger is currently president and CEO of The 5Ps L.L.C., a Centennial, Colorado, healthcare, education, and leadership consulting organization. Prior to his retirement from the US Army in 2009, Granger served as the deputy director and program executive officer of the TRICARE Management Activity, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Health Affairs), for close to a half-decade. In that role, he was a principal adviser to the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Health Affairs) on the department’s health plan policy and performance and oversaw the acquisition, operation, and integration of its managed care program within the Military Health System. Engaged in planning, budgeting, and execution of the $ 22.5 billion Defense Health Program, Granger managed a staff of 1,800 to ensure high-quality, accessible healthcare for 9.2 million uniformed service members, their families, retirees, and other stakeholders worldwide.
Prior to TRICARE, Granger led the largest U.S. and multinational battlefield health system while serving as Commander, Task Force 44th Medical Command and Command Surgeon for the Multinational Corps Iraq.
A graduate of Arkansas State University in 1976 and the University of Arkansas School of Medicine in 1980, Granger began his military career commissioned through ROTC. Over 40 years, the military physician, board-certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine and the Board of Hematology and Oncology, rose through the ranks, gaining a series of surgical assignments and leadership roles. Among his numerous awards, decorations, and honors: The Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit with three oak leaf clusters, the Bronze Star Medal, and the Meritorious Service Medal with four oak leaf clusters.
Granger currently serves on the board of Express Scripts Holding Co.
Anthony W. Hall Jr.
Anthony W. Hall Jr. has been known as the “people’s lawyer” in the H for decades. As City Attorney during Houston Mayor Lee Brown’s administration. from 1998 to 2004, and then played the role of chief administrative officer for the next mayor from 2004 to 2010. Since then, Hall, who has an economics degree from Howard University and a law degree from the Thurgood Marshall School of Law at Texas Southern University, handles cases through his private practice.
Before discovering law and government, he served in the U.S. Army from 1967-1971, attaining the rank of captain. Hall’s military service included tours in Berlin and Vietnam in which he was awarded the Purple Heart and three Bronze Stars.
Hall serves on the board of Kinder Morgan Inc.
Gen. Lester L. Lyles
Besides having a mechanical engineering degree from Howard University and master’s in mechanical/nuclear engineering from when he attended school in the 1960s, Gen. Lester L. Lyles studied at Defense Systems Management College, the Armed Forces Staff College, the National War College, and the National and International Security Management Course at Harvard University during the 1980s and 1990s.
Lyles, who entered the U.S. Air Force in 1968 as a distinguished graduate of the Air Force ROTC program, also gained an array of key assignments, including Special Assistant and Aide-De-Camp to the Commander of Air Force Systems Command; Avionics Division Chief in the F-16 Systems Program Office; and Program Director of the Medium-Launch Vehicles Program and Space-Launch Systems offices in 1997 during the recovery from the Challenger Space Shuttle accident.
The aforementioned experiences—just a few of the highlights on his extensive résumé—and training prepared Lyles for his biggest role: Commander, Air Force Materiel Command at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio in 2000. The command conducts research, development, test and evaluation, acquisition management services and logistics support for the Air Force. In 2012, the retired Lyles was bestowed the General Thomas D. White Award for distinguished service in national security, from the U.S. Air Force Academy.
Lyles is a corporate director on the board of General Dynamics.
Leo S. Mackay Jr.
Leo S. Mackay, Jr. is senior vice president, Internal Audit, Ethics and Sustainability, and an elected corporate officer of Lockheed Martin Corp.
A 1983 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, he completed pilot training two years later and graduated at the top of his class. Selected to fly the F-14, he served as a member of Fighter Squadron 11 for three years, conducting operational deployments to the North Atlantic, Mediterranean, and Indian Oceans. He finished Naval Fighter Weapons School—known as “Top Gun”—and compiled 235 carrier landings and 1,000 hours in the F-14. In the 1988 operation, the highly decorated naval aviator was among the U.S. forces sent to protect civilian oil tankers targeted in the Iran/Iraq War.
On the ground, his various assignments and promotions eventually led him to his role as Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs from 2001-2003, receiving the Exceptional Service Medal, the VA’s highest honor, for his service. As he made his ascent, Mackay earned a master’s degree, and a Ph.D., in public policy from Harvard University. He is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a member of the Aspen Strategy Group.
Mackay serves on the board of Cognizant Tech Solutions Corp.
Gen. Lloyd W. “Fig” Newton
Gen. Lloyd W. “Fig” Newton is the retired commander of Air Education and Training Command, headquartered at Randolph Air Force Base in Texas. As such, he is responsible for the recruiting, training, and education of Air Force personnel. Newton manages a massive operation: Air Education and Training Command consists of 13 bases, more than 43,000 active duty members and 14,000 civilians.
But as a young man, he made wartime history. Earning a degree in aviation education from Tennessee State University, he was commissioned as a distinguished graduate through ROTC in 1966. After completing pilot training at Williams Air Force Base, Arizona a year later and qualifying as a fighter pilot, he flew 269 combat missions from Da Nang Air Base in South Vietnam, including 79 missions over North Vietnam, the dangerous stronghold of the Viet Cong. Due to his prowess, Newton became the first African American selected to join the elite U.S. Air Force Aerial Demonstration Squadron, the Thunderbirds, in November 1974.
Upon retirement, he entered the corporate world and moved up the ranks to EVP, Military Engines at Pratt & Whitney, the global leader in designing, manufacturing, and servicing of aircraft engines, space propulsion systems, and industrial gas turbines.
Newton currently serves as a corporate director on the boards of L3 Technologies Inc. and Torchmark Corp.
Charles E. Phillips Jr.
As CEO of Infor Global Solutions, Charles E. Phillips Jr. has built the company into an enterprise software giant. Prior to Infor, he was president and board member of Oracle Corp. and during his seven-and-a-half-year tenure, it tripled in size and successfully acquired 70 companies. Before that experience, Phillips was a managing director in the Technology Group at Morgan Stanley, where he was recognized as one of BLACK ENTERPRISE‘s Most Powerful Blacks on Wall Street and an Institutional Investor All-Star for 10 consecutive years. Highly respected in business and economic circles, Phillips also served on the Obama administration’s Economic Recovery Board, led by Paul Volcker.
Holding a degree in computer science from the U.S. Air Force Academy, a JD from New York Law School, and an M.B.A. from Hampton University, Phillips spent some of his formative career years as part of the military. He was a captain in the U.S. Marine Corps in the 2nd Battalion, 10th Marines artillery unit before his career ascent on Wall Street and Silicon Valley. In fact, in 2012 he was invited as the keynote speaker for the Marine Corps’ 237th Birthday Ball where he addressed his unit in which he served while stationed at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.
Phillips serves on the board of Viacom Inc.
Gen. Larry Spencer
As the Air Force Association’s leading executive, Gen. Larry Spencer manages the group’s staff. He has oversight of the operations of AFA, AFA Veteran Benefits Association, and Air Force Memorial Foundation. He also holds the title of publisher of Air Force Magazine, the official journal for the association’s 94,000 members.
Spencer began his military career in the enlisted ranks and rose to become a four-star general. Receiving his degree in industrial engineering technology from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale. Spencer was then commissioned through Officer Training School in 1980 as a distinguished graduate. He has commanded a squadron, group, and wing, and served as Vice Commander of the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center. He made military history as the first Air Force officer to serve as the Assistant Chief of Staff in the White House Military Office.
Retiring as a four-star general, Spencer spent over 40 years in the Air Force. His last assignment was as the Vice Chief of Staff of the US Air Force, reaching the second highest-rank in that branch of the armed forces. He presided over the Air Staff and served as a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Requirements Oversight Council and Deputy Advisory Working Group. In that role, he assisted the Air Force’s Chief of Staff with organizing, training, and equipping of 690,000 active-duty, Guard, Reserve, and civilian forces home and abroad.
Spencer serves as a corporate director for Whirlpool Corp.
Melvin T. Stith, Ph.D.
An alumnus of Norfolk State University and a member of its Board of Visitors for the past four years, Melvin T. Stith, Ph.D. will assume the role of interim president of his alma mater beginning Jan. 1, 2018. He is also Dean Emeritus, Martin J. Whitman School of Management, Syracuse University and Dean Emeritus, College of Business, Florida State University, respectively. Before climbing the academic ranks as a professional, the Vietnam veteran served in the U.S. Army Military Intelligence Command from 1968 to 1972, achieving the rank of captain.
A native of Jarratt, Virginia, he received his sociology degree from NSU in 1968 and his M.B.A. and Ph.D. in marketing from the Whitman School in 1973 and 1978, respectively.
Stith serves on the board of AFLAC Inc.
Hansel E. Tookes II
Retired, Hansel E. Tookes II had served in various senior executive positions with tech, aerospace and defense conglomerate Raytheon. Joining the company at the turn of the century, he rose quickly, serving as chairman and CEO of Raytheon Aircraft Co. as well as Raytheon International. Before joining the company, he played vital leadership roles at industrial companies United Technologies and Pratt & Whitney.
Before becoming a top gun in corporate America, Tookes was a Lieutenant Commander and Military Pilot in the U.S. Navy for seven years and later served as a Commercial Pilot with United Airlines. Moreover, he holds a degree in physics from Florida State University and a master’s in aeronautical systems from the University of West Florida. He also completed the Advanced Management Program at the Harvard Business School. He served as a member of the Advisory Group to the Secretary of the Air Force and continues his membership of the National Academies – Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board. No longer in military service, Tookes still continues to serve his country.
Tookes is on the boards of NextEra Energy Inc., Corning Inc., Harris Corp., and Ryder System Inc.
-Additional reporting by Tiamari Whitted
Last month, novelist Chuck Wendig—the bestselling author of the licensed Star Wars novel Aftermath and its sequels—stood before a crowd at New York Comic Con and announced he’d be working on Shadow of Vader, a miniseries for Marvel Comics. A week later, on October 12th, Wendig made another announcement: he’d been fired. The reason given, Wendig wrote on his personal website, was “the negativity and vulgarity that my tweets bring. Seriously, that’s what Mark, the editor said…It was too much politics, too much vulgarity, too much negativity on my part.”
Wendig, an openly progressive and occasionally combative presence on social media, had been the target of a long-running harassment campaign* fueled by reactionaries in the Star Wars fan community. His books were review bombed; he dealt with SWATing attempts, harassment from bots and sock-puppet accounts, and creepy personal messages. “People have been trying to get me fired from Star Wars since Aftermath came out. Since before it came out, actually,” he told The Daily Beast in an email. “[Lucas Film Licensing] has always had my back, and with Marvel, my politics never came up. And I haven’t been shy about those politics—or about being vulgar, which has been part of my voice so to speak since my first novel, Blackbirds, which is a very vulgar book…I never received any warnings about my behavior.”
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Wages growth is at its highest level in 9 years. Corporate profits are at the highest ever.
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