Why BE Next Is the Now Generation

Reginald F. Lewis. It was also on the pages of the December 1985 issue of be that we revealed the prowess of a 34-year-old Kenneth I. Chenault, a senior vice president of American Express at the time, who today runs that financial services giant as its chairman and CEO. And when we revealed 30 leaders for the future in the August 2000 issue, we spotlighted, among others, 31-year-old Mellody Hobson as president of Ariel Capital Management (No. 4 on the be asset managers list with $4.3 billion in assets under management), who has grown to become a powerhouse in the mutual fund industry and corporate boardrooms. These are but a few names of those who displayed great promise. We have identified scores of other achievers who can now be found on our series of registries, from the list of the 100 Most Powerful Executives in Corporate America to the be 100s.

It has been a part of corporate management practices to nurture young talent since my father, Earl G. Graves Sr.—a BE Nexter of his day—launched this magazine in 1970 at the age of 35. Early on, he realized the benefits of not placing false limitations on individual ability due to an employee’s age. Over the years, he would spot and mentor editorial and business talent, giving them an opportunity to innovate, succeed, and, yes, make mistakes. In fact, some of his charges work for be to this day: Editors-in-Chief of the magazine and Website, Derek T. Dingle and Alfred A. Edmond Jr., respectively, played significant roles in running editorial operations when they were in their 20s; and Creative Director Terence Saulsby was overseeing magazine and corporate design by the age of 30. I was among that group of recruits as well. At 27, I was responsible for generating revenues as senior vice president of advertising. My father’s confidence and guidance enabled us to reach our full potential and manage distinct areas of the company.

Today, as CEO, I continue this tradition. I credit the practice with moving our business forward, from a single-publication enterprise to a full-fledged multimedia company. I’ve always believed that youthful energy and out-of-the-box thinking was a major requirement for advancing a business agenda. We have been able to expand, in part, through the significant contributions of our in-house version of BE Next—smart, young professionals who make up roughly a third of be’s workforce. From content development and event planning to marketing and multimedia sales, our company has

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