The ability to spot those on the rise and to be the first to reveal their groundbreaking achievements has been one of the hallmarks of our editorial leadership. When Reginald F. Lewis orchestrated the largest offshore leveraged buyout in 1987 and created the first billion-dollar global conglomerate owned by an African American, we were there. When Robert Johnson took BET public in 1991 and made it the first black-owned company traded on the New York Stock Exchange, we were there. When Ursula Burns recently became the first African American woman CEO of one of the world’s largest publicly traded corporations, we were there. And our coverage has not been confined to corporate power brokers or titans of entrepreneurial enterprise. In revealing the nexus between business and politics, we have gained access to the pinnacle of power. When Barack Obama was sworn in as the first African American president of the United States, we were there. In fact, BE was the first publication to interview the leader of the free world. For me, it was a career high and an example of our company’s reach and influence.
In composing this issue, we wanted it to be more than just a celebration. It was to be the exposition of the art of the possible. In the feature “Titans,” we reveal the 40 most influential people in business, iconic entrepreneurs and executives who built the present-day business environment. But we thought it was just as important to share with you those who are designing our future. In “40 Next,” we place a spotlight on those up-and-comers 35 and under with prospects of becoming the next Lewis, Johnson, and Burns in coming decades. Moreover, we kick off our monthly sections with essays from our editors who provide their take on future developments to help guide you to opportunities in the next 40 years and gain empowerment in each area of your life.
Although technology will advance, new businesses will be created, and new players will emerge, be’s mission will stay true to the discussion I had with Mr. Graves close to 30 years ago. be has always been—and will always be—the vehicle for wealth creation, business development, and career advancement. But we still have much work that needs to be done. To meet that objective, we will continue to provide the information you need in whatever form you desire. We will continue to report on movers and shakers who offer instruction and inspiration. Most important, we will continue to show you how to make the impossible possible.
Derek T. Dingle is the editor-in-chief of Black Enterprise magazine.