Examples of successful business leaders lifting as they climb don’t stop with our 2011 Companies of the Year. They can be found among the be 100s companies in every industry and across the country. For example, last month when James Reynolds, the CEO of be 100s investment bank Loop Capital Markets, learned that his elevation from an unpaid board member to chairman of the Chicago Housing Authority came with a $100,000 stipend, he came up with a plan to invest the money back into the community by creating a scholarship fund for children living in Chicago public housing. Reynolds also donated $25,000 of his own money to the fund.
Eddie C. Brown, CEO of Baltimore-based Brown Capital Management L.L.C., one of the be 100s asset managers, has made charitable contributions of more than $22 million to the arts, educational programs, and healthcare efforts through the Eddie C. and Sylvia Brown Family Foundation, which he and his wife created in 1996. Brown was inspired by a wealthy white woman in his hometown of Apopka, Florida, whom he called the “Magnificent, Mysterious Lady B.â€ in his autobiography and who paid for his college tuition throughout his four years at Howard University. The Browns’ philanthropy earned them spots on black enterprise’s 2005 lists of the 20 leading foundations and 15 top individual donors, respectively. And this year Brown is the recipient of our prestigious A.G. Gaston Lifetime Achievement Award at the Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Conference + Expo hosted by Nationwide at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis Hotel May 22—25.
Check out our photo essay in this issue, featuring be 100s CEOs including Warren Thompson of Thompson Hospitality, G. Jean Davis of UNIBAR Services Inc., and others who understand the intrinsic connection between the success of their companies and the need to create opportunities for their hundreds of employees and their families.
You may not command a seven-figure income, and your business may not be of the size and scale of a be 100s company, but you can still do your part as a successful entrepreneur or business professional. Go out of your way to create at least one internship position–arranging for students to get credit toward their degree if you can’t pay them–at your small business. Get to know your employees well enough to know when to offer assistance, such as helping with expenses related to the death of an immediate family member, or providing recommendations for their children’s college applications. If you meet a promising job seeker that you’re not in a position to hire, make the extra calls and work your network to get him or her hired
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