As a 21-year-old assistant editor for Black Enterprise some 27 years ago, I was summoned to the office of our publisher, Earl G. Graves Sr. A bit nervous, I wondered if I was going to have to pack my bags and head back to my hometown, Norfolk, Virginia. But our company’s paterfamilias was doing what he has done for decades, taking young professionals under his wing to share his views and offer a bit of sage advice.
At that meeting, he told me that there was room for hardworking, energetic young people to advance at the company. He then proceeded to reveal his vision for what be would mean to the world for decades to come: an economic and financial empowerment tool for millions of African Americans to “achieve their measure of the American dream.” This necessary guidance would be delivered, he said, through our magazine, a series of events, the airwaves, or any available medium of distribution. I can’t say he foresaw the development of the Internet, but our publisher believed in the power of technology as a transformative instrument for communication.
What stuck with me in that 20-minute chat was his philosophy: “Over time even the impossible can become possible.” As an editor, I have seen his assertion repeatedly demonstrated by the accomplishments—both incremental and monumental—of the entrepreneurs, professionals, and investors who have graced the pages of our magazine, segments of our television shows, sessions of our events, and features on our website. As we celebrate our 40th anniversary, we take great pride in sharing the compelling stories of audacious men and women—individuals who dare to be great, change paradigms, and influence the direction of our world.