Making their mark on sectors ranging from finance and medicine to media and entertainment, this year’s roster of black enterprise Hot List honorees are young, audacious change agents. Some have redefined American culture. Others have cut billion-dollar deals that transformed industries. And a few have created life-altering products, leaving the rest of the world to sit back and marvel.
This is the third time that we have compiled our list of superstars, our biennial register of professional and entrepreneurial powerhouses under the age of 40 who shape our world. The first was in 2003—and our team of editors and researchers spent months in search of the best and brightest whose accomplishments would drop jaws regardless of their age. This year’s list includes be 100s executives, top-ranked money managers, and medical researchers. More than half of the list comes from media, music, movies, and sports—fields that attract talented achievers at an early age. However, whether they are singers like Beyoncé or athletes like Tiger Woods, those in sports and entertainment have seen the value of developing enterprises to capitalize on revenue-building opportunities and ensure long-term financial security.
Appearing on one of the previous lists doesn’t guarantee a berth on this roster: there were only 22 returnees from our 2005 list. So how did we compile this year’s listing? Our editorial team contacted legions of business leaders, corporate professionals, industry insiders, and national organizations such as the National Society of Black Engineers, the National Association of Investment Companies, The Black Entertainment and Sports Lawyers Association, National Bar Association, Executive Leadership Council, and National Association of Securities Professionals.
On the following pages, find out why the young, powerful African Americans that comprise our Hot List are so noteworthy and newsworthy.
Tyra Banks TV Producer, CEO Bankable Productions / 34: Why she’s hot: Embarking on cycle 9 of her hit show America’s Next Top Model, the former supermodel-turned-multimedia powerhouse shows no signs of slowing down. The Tyra Banks Show, which was nominated for six Daytime Emmy Awards, recently launched its third season. Banks, who serves as executive producer for both shows, plans to continue wearing the producer hat as she prepares to star in an upcoming feature film. Her company has five shows in varying stages of production, including a sitcom and a one-hour drama. Banks has also created a licensing firm that she may use to market her own line of lingerie—and she’s looking to launch an online community.
DeAnna Allen, Partner / Dickstein Shapiro L.L.P. / 39. Why she’s hot: An attorney who specializes in intellectual property law, Allen has represented some of the world’s leading information technology companies seeking to protect and capitalize on their intellectual property assets. In 2007, she rose to the rank of partner after five years of top-notch legal work. Over the years, Allen’s clients have included Ricoh Co. Ltd., Pitney Bowes, and Micron Technologies. Her most recent victory was the successful defense of Lectrolarm Custom Systems’ technology patent for its computer-based security system. Allen is currently representing a $17 billion office automation company