40 Next: Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins

In celebration of our 40th anniversary, Black Enterprise is taking a look both forward and backward at the world of black business. Our list of 40 Next celebrates the next generation of entrepreneurs and business leaders.

These BE Nexters–those 21—35 years old making a measurable impact within their respective business, organization, industry, or field–are standouts in the areas of entrepreneurship, corporate America, academia, nonprofit, the arts, and the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). And they prove every day that “business as usual” is not so usual. For them, leveraging expertise in one area to maximize an opportunity in another is standard operating procedure.

Using the legacy of their business predecessors to forge their own way, this new generation of leadership accepts the torch without trepidation. But the commonality between then and now is that success still takes a focused, strategic, and passionate mindset. Here, we introduce you to one of our 40 Next.

Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins, 34
CEO, Green for All
Oakland, CA

Ellis-Lamkins’ goal is to build a green economy, inclusive of people of color as well as those in low-income and underserved communities, who are traditionally shut out of  the “new economy.” Under Ellis-Lamkins’ leadership since March 2009, the national not-for-profit scored major legislative victories on state-level green jobs and energy-efficiency programs in Washington State and New Mexico as well as responsibly investing federal Recovery Act dollars for environmental and economic health. But part of her advocacy is engagement–getting people involved within their local communities. “It’s critical. If we don’t do something, it’s only going to get worse for our community,” says Ellis-Lamkins, who adds the first step is behavioral change. “There’s a long way to go but we’ve come incredibly far in this short amount of time. This is a moment where everything is possible.”

Be sure to pick up the commemorative 40th anniversary August 2010 issue of Black Enterprise, which contains the entire 40 Next list.