NEW YORK, Dec. 8, 2014 — BLACK ENTERPRISE will present its highest honor in recognition of the achievements of black women when it presents the Women of Power Legacy Awards at the 2015 Women of Power Summit on March 3, 2015, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The Women of Power Summit is the nation’s No. 1 executive development and leadership conference for women of color, annually attracting more than 800 corporate executives, professionals and businesswomen from across the country. The Women of Power Summit, hosted by State Farm, will take place March 2-5, 2015, at the Fort Lauderdale Marriott Harbor Beach Resort & Spa. This is the 10th year for the event, the success of which has led Black Enterprise to expand the Women of Power franchise to include a new website, WomenofPower.com, and a national, network-syndicated weekly television show, Women of Power, produced in partnership with Chicago-based Central City Productions.
The Women of Power Legacy Awards recognize outstanding impact, achievement and leadership by women in business, the arts, education, government and other influential areas. Past Legacy Award recipients include luminaries such as the late National Council of Negro Women Chair and civil rights icon Dorothy Height; the late award-winning film and stage actress Ruby Dee; former FedEx Express Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Cathy Ross; and former U.S. Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders. In 2013, a Legacy Award was named for Barbara Graves, wife of BLACK ENTERPRISE Founder Earl Graves Sr. and a former educator, to be presented annually in recognition of outstanding achievement and service in education and other areas of service to young people.
Honorees to be recognized at the 2015 Women of Power Summit Legacy Awards Dinner, hosted by PepsiCo, include the following outstanding achievers:
Pam Grier, with over 40 movies to her name, the Golden Globe- and Emmy-nominated actress is known as Hollywood’s very first female action star, an especially historic accolade for an African American woman and a triumphant testament to Grier’s record of continually fighting and successfully overcoming personal obstacles. Grier attended UCLA where, as a student, she sang backup for R&B icon Bobby Womack. While working as a receptionist at American International Pictures she was discovered by director Jack Hill. He went on to cast her in films like The Big Doll House and The Big Bird Cage. While filming these movies in the Philippines, Grier contracted a tropical disease that caused her to temporarily lose her vision and her hair. It would take her a year to recover. Overcoming that hurdle, she scored a contract with AIP where her career exploded with the Blaxploitation film craze. Grier went on to be featured in classics like Foxy Brown; Sheba, Baby; Scream Blacula Scream, and her starring debut, Coffy. The box-office hit, featuring a vigilante nurse hunting down drug dealers, moved film critic Roger Ebert to say that Grier brought “physical life” to her characters in a way that was missing from other beautiful actresses. Her popularity put her on the cover of Ms. Magazine‘s August 1975 issue.
Susan L.Taylor, Founder & CEO, National CARES Mentoring Movement & Editor-in-Chief Emerita of Essencemagazine. After 27 years as the chief editor of Essence magazine and the visionary credited with building the brand, Taylor left publishing to devote her life to building an organization that is devoted to breaking the cycle of intergenerational poverty among African Americans. At Essence, Taylor not only served as editor-in-chief, she also wrote the magazine’s most popular column, “In the Spirit”—the first in a mainstream U.S. magazine to champion spiritual growth as a pathway to total well-being. Under her guidance, the publication’s readership soared to 8 million. One of Taylor’s greatest accomplishments, however, has been the launch of the National CARES Mentoring Movement, the fastest growing mentor-recruitment organization in the nation. In 58 U.S. cities, local CARES affiliates recruit, train and deploy caring adults to schools and a wide variety of youth-service organizations that are desperate for black volunteers to serve as mentors, tutors, reading buddies and role models.
Charlayne Hunter-Gault, an award-winning journalist with more than 40 years in the industry, working in every medium. A trailblazer in her own right, Hunter-Gault is the author of three books: In My Place, a memoir of the civil rights movement fashioned around her experiences as the first black woman to attend the University of Georgia; New News Out of Africa: Uncovering Africa’s Renaissance; and her latest book, To the Mountaintop: My Journey Through the Civil Rights Movement. Her numerous honors include two Emmy Awards and two Peabody Awards—one for her work on “Apartheid’s People,” a NewsHour series about South African life during apartheid, and the other for general coverage of Africa in 1998. Hunter-Gault also received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Association of Black Journalists, the American Women in Radio and Television Award and a 2004 National Association of Black Journalists Award for her CNN series on Zimbabwe. In August 2005, she was inducted into the National Association of Black Journalists Hall of Fame.
Beverly Daniel Tatum Ph.D. (Barbara Graves honoree). A 2013 recipient of the Carnegie Academic Leadership Award, Tatum has served as president of Spelman College in Atlanta since 2002. Her tenure has been marked by a period of great innovation and growth. Spelman College, long recognized as the leading educator of women of African descent, is now ranked among the top 100 liberal arts colleges in the nation and is one of the most selective women’s colleges in the United States. Overall, scholarship support for Spelman students has tripled since 2002, and opportunities for faculty research and development have expanded significantly. An accomplished administrator, Tatum is widely recognized as a race-relations expert and leader in higher education. Her areas of research include racial identity development and the role of race in the classroom. She is the author of Can We Talk About Race? And Other Conversations in an Era of School Resegregation, Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? And Other Conversations about Race, and Assimilation Blues: Black Families in a White Community. A Fellow of the American Psychological Association, in 2005 Tatum was awarded the prestigious Brock International Prize in Education for her innovative leadership in the field.
“The 10th annual Women of Power Summit marks a momentous milestone for this one-of-a-kind event for women of color who aspire to not just success, but leadership,” says Black Enterprise President and CEO Earl “Butch” Graves Jr. “This year’s Legacy Award Honorees, and our lineup of groundbreaking speakers, including McDonald’s CEO Don Thompson, our first ever male keynote, honors how far the event has come, while clearly taking it to another level for both sponsors and attendees.”
“We are thrilled that we will have this opportunity to pay well-deserved honor to women who are gifts to the world,” says Women of Power television show host Caroline Clarke, who also serves as editorial director of the Women of Power Summit. “Their examples are proper tribute to the Legacy Award honorees before them, and powerful motivation for those to come.”
The Women of Power Summit will host more than 800 women attendees who will engage in three immersive days of executive development sessions and activities designed to train, equip and encourage industry leadership, career strategies and effective peak-performance and work-life balance techniques. Topics will include positioning for corporate board recruitment, driving organizational innovation and managing social media as a tool for professional advancement, and classes such as a Crisis Management Master Class and Building Real Leadership in Real Time. Confirmed speakers include McDonald’s Corp. President and CEO Don Thompson; Ariel Investments L.L.C. President Mellody Hobson; President & CEO of Smith & Co. Judy Smith; Motivating the Masses CEO Lisa Nichols, Managing Director at Morgan Stanley Carla Harris; Psychiatrist Dr. Janet Taylor; America’s first African American Female Combat Pilot Vernice “FlyGirl” Armour; and Founder of the Terrie Williams Agency, Terrie Williams.
The host sponsor of the Women of Power Summit is State Farm. Presenting sponsors include AT&T, EMC, Macy’s, PepsiCo and Walmart. Platinum sponsors include FedEx and Intel; corporate sponsors are Bank of America, ETS and Southwest Airlines.
For more information on the speakers and agenda of the 2015 Women of Power Summit, go to BlackEnterprise.com/wps. For updates via Twitter and other social media sites, check the hashtag #BEWPS.
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