There is a new sun rising over the horizon. Unlike the many suns that have risen during the last few decades, this sun is multifaceted. This sun is red, yellow and every shade of brown imaginable. As this new sun climbs into the sky, it is carried by a new generation of African-American visionaries and entrepreneurs and with them are the hopes and dreams of a race of people. African-Americans, for many decades, had yet to make a breakthrough into the corporate world and hold positions such as CEO, chairman, president, or vice-president.
“According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Division of Labor Force Statistics, there were 19 million executives, managers and administrators in the U. S. labor force in 1998. Of that number, 7. 2% were black. In 1988, only 5. 6% of the nation’s executives, managers and [administrators] were African-American; by 1991 that number had grown slightly to 5. 7%” (Whigham-Desir). Now, there is a new sunrise and unlike the others before it, this sunrise will never set. These African-American corporate leaders, young visionaries, and entrepreneurs are making an incredible impact in the corporate landscape.
Daymond John, founder and CEO of FUBU clothing, is one of the youngest African-American entrepreneurs in the world. John started his business ten years ago by selling tie top hats out of his home, which he mortgaged for $100,000. 00 (“The Company”). It was easy for John to jump into the business because he “saw that there were no young African-American designers-even though young African-Americans spend heavily on fashion” (Balu). For being a relatively young company, FUBU has won many awards for its entrepreneurialship.
Among the many honors that it has received are two Congressional Awards, two NAACP Awards, and FUBU was the first company to ever receive the coveted Essence Entertainment Essence Award (“The Company”). FUBU was also the “first clothing maker to use music videos to market [their] products” (Balu). This innovative concept helped launch FUBU into homes in America and across the world via television. Not only has John made an incredible leap in the corporate world, but he also believes in giving back to his home community and national charities.
The FUBU Foundation was established in January of 1999. The purpose of the foundation is to “provide a way for the FUBU founders to stay in touch with the community, serve as a source of inspiration, and encourage the community to grow along with them” (“FUBU Foundation”). The Foundation has also given donations to the New York City Parks and Recreation Department to refurbish basketball courts throughout New York City. They have also given large donations to The Partnership for the Homeless, Inc. , and The Fresh Air Fund (“FUBU Foundation”).
John is definitely a brilliant business leader and role model for young African-Americans interested in starting their own businesses, whether it is in clothing or beauty salons. John’s self-motivation and determination to achieve his goals are what makes him truly successful. Erroll B. Davis Jr. is the president and CEO of Alliant Energy. Davis manages 6,000 employees worldwide, controls $2. 13 billion in revenue and caters to more than 1 million electric, natural gas and water customers (Whigham-Desir).
Over his two decades of working for Wisconsin Power & Light he has earned a reputation for doing business honestly and ethically. It was his honesty, leadership skills, and business ethics that made him the natural choice to hold the position of president and CEO of Alliant Energy. “In many ways, corporate executives represent America’s royalty, so I understand how some people in positions get seduced by the power and money,” says Davis. “But you can’t forget that you have a job to do and that your shareholders expect you to do it right” (qtd in Whigham-Desir).