50 Most Powerful Black Women In Business

From the executive suite to the BE 100s, these dynamos are changing the direction of American business

one of the leading ad-revenue-generating stations in the nation, grossing roughly $300 million. Known for her community involvement and corporate leadership, Madison has earned a number of awards including the 2004 Citizen of the Year Award and 2005 Excellence in Media Award. She also serves on the Vassar College Board of Trustees and presides over the college’s 35,000-member alumni association.

HARRIET R. MICHEL President National Minority Supplier Development Council Inc. New York, NY. Age: 63
Clout: One of the nation’s most enterprising women, Michel connects minority businesses with the largest industrial corporations. In more than 15 years as head of the NMSDC’s network of 39 affiliated regional councils, she has helped provide vending opportunities to more than 15,000 certified minority-owned companies, matching them with 3,500 corporate members. The result: Roughly $87.4 billion in goods and services were purchased from minority businesses in 2004. Michel continues to make connections through her board duties at Triad Hospitals and NY National Banks.

WONYA Y. LUCAS Executive VP and General Manager The Weather Channel Networks Atlanta, GA. Age: 44
Clout: When a colleague called Lucas about an opportunity at the Weather Channel in 2002, she wasn’t a regular viewer of the channel. Nobody took the business of weather coverage that seriously. Twenty-four hours of climate conditions? It was the brunt of many TV industry one-liners. But encouraged by her husband (who did watch the channel) and her colleague, she joined as executive vice president of marketing. In October 2005, the Wharton M.B.A., with an industrial engineering degree, also assumed the role of general manager, responsible for strategic marketing and company strategy for The Weather Channel, Weatherscan, and The Weather Channel Radio Network.
The network has access to 88 million homes and, in 2005, the channel’s prime-time average audience delivery among households grew 31% over 2002. TWC’s total day average audience delivery has increased 23% over the same period. “People come to seek information,” explains Lucas. As a result, the network is well-positioned for a number of on-demand technology opportunities, such as mobile cell phone use, podcasting, and broadband channels. Weather coverage is no longer a joke. Lucas realized their audiences never thought it was. In fact, she says that because weather affects behavior, it impacts people emotionally.
“What happens to television [often] is [TV executives] start believing they’re the target audience — and they’re not,” explains Lucas, a former senior vice president of Strategic Marketing for Domestic Networks of the CNN News Group. “You have to [talk] to the people. Most of my actions are founded in solid consumer research and understanding the consumer.” Lucas conducts a variety of focus groups as well as quantitative surveys and studies throughout the year — even in the midst of hurricane season. “In between hurricanes we’ve made changes based on what consumers told us.”
— Sonia Alleyne

VALERIE MOSLEY DIAMOND SVP & Fixed Income Portfolio Manager Wellington Management Boston, MA. Age: 45
Clout: Mosley Diamond’s 25 years of experience in the finance industry paid off in December 2005 when Wellington Management, a $511 billion investment banking firm,

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