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Emerging business leaders who are shaping our future

Duane Jackson

Duane Jackson 27
Investment Specialist
U.S. Department of Treasury Washington, D.C.

As an investment banking associate at Merrill Lynch, Jackson witnessed the ravages of the financial crisis firsthand. With a specialty in executing mergers and acquisitions and other capital-raising activities, the Chicago native realized his skills could serve his country. In 2009, he joined the U.S. Treasury Department as an investment specialist with the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) and is the youngest African American on TARP’s 20-person Chief Investment Office team.

—John Simons

Christopher Johnson 31
President/CEO
The Johnson Group Inc.  Sacramento, CA

Johnson has grown his technical staffing and consulting firm into an 11-employee force that generated $3.3 million in 2009—less than four years since its inception. The Johnson Group specializes in high-growth architectural, engineering, environmental, and construction fields, and has retained nearly 100 clients, including Sacramento Municipal Utility District and global firm HOK Architects.

Chekesha Kidd 33
Chief of Staff/Head of Business Development
Aetna Inc. Hartford, CT

Heading up the Local Employer and Consumer Segment, Kidd  oversees a team of 15, managing M&As, alliance strategy, and governance structure estimated to represent 60% of the company’s revenues. Previously she worked as a director on the corporate development team, responsible for negotiating and executing transactions involving Aetna’s global business units.

Franklin Leonard 31
Director of Development, Universal Pictures
Founder/Publisher The Black List Los Angeles

Leonard reviews scripts for Universal that will give the studio the best creative and financial return and shepherds them through the process, from concept to completion. But Leonard’s real draw is The Black List, an annual publication he created in 2004 that highlights Hollywood’s most popular unproduced screenplays—material that has potential to make it to the big screen. List alum include: Juno, which won the Academy Award for Best Original screenplay, and Will Smith’s critically acclaimed Seven Pounds.

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