Hot List ’05

of the MetLife brand, Salmon led his team—for 29 days—in raising $7 billion in capital of the more than $11.8 billion needed to finance the transaction It was the largest deal in MetLife’s 137-year history as well as one of the biggest acquisitions within the financial industry for 2005. The transaction secured MetLife’s position as the largest life insurance company in the nation. Day-to-day, Salmon is responsible for corporate finance and strategic capital planning. AGE: 39

Why he’s hot: Jeffrey Scott continues to help achieve the mission of Black Enterprise/Greenwich Street Corporate Growth Partners: to finance the growth of established minority-owned or managed companies. As managing director, Scott’s responsibilities include the origination, organization, implementation, and monitoring of investments such as Tama Broadcasting and the national Hispanic media company, DMG Media. The firm oversees eight portfolio companies and ranks No. 9 on the BE PRIVATE EQUITY FIRMS list with $91 million in assets under management. “We offer useful information to those within the minority space,” says Scott. “My ultimate responsibility is to help the best become even better.” AGE: 35

Raven-Symoné Actor, Singer, Producer
Why she’s hot: To be a successful young actress and singer is not rare these days. But being the lead character and a producer of a hit show (featuring a predominantly black cast) makes Raven-Symoné, star of That’s So Raven, so remarkable. The children’s program and its star have won a multitude of awards. It has been picked up for a fourth season, making it one of the Disney Channel’s longest-running shows, and it ranks No. 1 in the basic cable industry with girls aged 9 to 14. Raven’s popularity has made her a marketable commodity. Department stores can’t keep Raven-branded clothes, sheets, lunchboxes, and other items on their shelves. Last year’s Raven-themed video game sold a quarter of a million units. Toy stores have recently begun selling a Raven doll, and a new fragrance and cosmetic collection for girls is available at retail outlets. Disney estimates Raven merchandise should approach $400 million in sales by the end of 2006. The actress has already proved she has staying power; she’s grown up on television since joining The Cosby Show at the age of 3. Plus, she’s already released two albums. What’s next? Though Raven can’t see into the future like the character she plays on TV, that isn’t stopping her from predicting more success. AGE: 20

Why he’s hot: As a research meteorologist, he serves as deputy project scientist for the $1 billion Global Precipitation Measurement mission, a series of satellites that monitor our environment. For the past 12 years, Shepherd has conducted research to help predict weather and climate changes. In 2004, the White House honored him with the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, the highest distinction of its kind in the nation that’s awarded for cutting-edge research and development. Shepherd is also a member of the National Science Foundation