Not only does Davis have the ability to work well with his shareholders, but he also has tremendous interpersonal communication and team building skills. Davis sends his employees handwritten notes to show his appreciation for their hard work and dedication. “You can’t achieve anything [in business] without the help of those around you,” says Davis (qtd in Whigham-Desir). Honesty and ethics in business is essential to being successful. Without these important qualities it would be difficult for anyone, or any corporation for that matter, to evolve and grow.
Davis is an exemplary figure for next-generation business leaders because of his years of experience and excellent track record with Wisconsin Power and Light and in other areas of corporate America. Men are not the only African-Americans making great leaps and strides up the corporate ladder, but African-American women are also making their move. One of the most influential African-American women in entertainment and business is Oprah Winfrey. Winfrey is America’s first black billionaire (Cady).
Overcoming a childhood filled with sexual abuse, teenage pregnancy and later drug abuse, Winfrey has emerged to become an extremely prominent and powerful woman (Cady). The Oprah Winfrey Show is the cornerstone of Winfrey’s success. Soon after achieving phenomenal success with the Oprah Winfrey Show, Winfrey founded the twenty-million-dollar-grossing Harpo Productions, which made her the third woman in history to own her own production company (Cady). Winfrey spends as much time out in the community, if not more, as she does in front of the camera.
In 1994 President Bill Clinton signed a bill, which was proposed to congress by Winfrey, which provided for the creation of a national database for convicted child abusers (Cady). She also created the “‘world’s largest piggy bank,'” in which people all over the nation donated their spare change in order to send disadvantaged kids to college (qtd in Tannen). Winfrey matched the $1 million raised for the cause. Phil Donahue comments, “[Winfrey is] more than a great star [she] is a 20th century political figure.
[Her] good works have touched us all” (qtd in Tannen). Winfrey has brought many qualities to the corporate world, but her expertise lies in communication. Oprah recalls, “” I used to speak in the church all the time, and the sisters in the front row would say to my grandmother, ‘Hattie Mae, this child sure can talk’ ” (qtd in Tannen). Winfrey’s communication skills have allowed her to establish a connection with people from all walks of life. Communication itself is what keeps America on the cutting edge of technology and Winfrey has mastered it.
These three individuals are just a few of the African-American leaders and CEOs that are qualified to earn the title of being a New Millennium Leader. I chose these leaders because I felt that they had the same exemplary qualities and skills that I would bring to the corporate landscape. Like the aforementioned, I will bring ingenuity, determination, dedication, communication skills, integrity, and service into any business environment that I will encounter. I have the drive and enthusiasm to pave new roads into the corporate hierarchy started by these leaders.
Through my participation and associations in groups such as the NAACP, I’m learning the social graces and skills that I feel will help me toward building a foundation of strong values. This foundation will assist me in achieving my goals to become a new millennium leader. Becoming a leader, especially one for the new millennium, means giving back to the community and being a role model for the next generation. I will never forget those people that helped me get on my feet and steered me towards the right path to success. It’s important to help those that helped you achieve your goals.
A leader also needs to know how to be humble. We are all human beings and we are nowhere close to being perfect. I will know how to accept and correct any mistakes that I may make and be open to suggestions from others to help me be more efficient. Teamwork is essential to attain the goals that have been set for the company, which is why interpersonal communication skills are so critical to the overall success of everyone. Business ethics and integrity are two of the most important qualities a leader needs to have to be respected by their peers and other business associates.
I will establish a reputation of credibility and righteousness. I want people to walk away from a business deal feeling as if they were fortunate to do business with me and as if they have made a new ally in the corporate world. In this time of constant change, it’s important to be able to have new ideas, developments, and projects ready to be worked on and ways to improve upon the ideas already in use. Being an innovative leader in the new millennium will allow me to keep my business and employees on the cutting edge of technology and have a new global perspective to make these new ideas work.
There is a new sunrise climbing the sky. I am apart of it and I carry with me the hopes and dreams of my ancestors, family and community. I have what it takes to be a leader of the new millennium and I have what it takes to be a glass breaker. There is no room for failure or backing down. I will help pave the way for the next-generation of African-American executives just as John, Davis, and Winfrey helped crack the glass ceiling for me. This sunrise will not set now or ever.