Black marketing executives from 26 of the world’s most influential brands and companies are uniting to form the Black Executive CMO Alliance (BECA)
BECA is designed to champion corporate diversity at the corporate leadership level. Jerri DeVard, the founder of BECA, said she started the alliance because she got tired of being the only Black executive in the room.
“I’ve been the lonely-only too many times and I’m personally aware of the isolation that comes along with it. It makes you keenly aware of just how different you are, not only because of your gender and race but because of what experiences come from being different, and those differences are not always valued or supported with the fervor given to others,” DeVard told BLACK ENTERPRISE.
BECA will provide a home for collaboration and networking while at the same time creating opportunity, access, and change through membership. BECA will also build a pipeline of talented Black executives to guide and provide the foundation for the next generation to stand on.
BECA will feature Black executives from Nationwide Insurance, Adidas, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video & Studios, NielsenIQ, Amway, Peloton, BCW, PetSmart, Eastern Bank, Prudential Financial, Ecolab and others.
According to the think tank Coqual’s report, Being Black In Corporate America, which was released in 2018, just 3.2% of Black Americans have senior leadership roles at large corporations.
“At times it can feel lonely when you find yourself in the C-suite alone. But, one of the great things about an organization like BECA, is you learn to really lean into your network to help fill the gap within the company and outside,” Ukonwa Ojo, Global CMO of Prime Video & Amazon Studios and a founding BECA member, told BLACK ENTERPRISE.
“While many of us are the first, we want to make sure that we are not the last. So, developing a really strong pipeline of incredible, business building, super smart, Black talent that can take amazing executive roles all over the world is important to all of us. We love that we can all band together and use our collective resources to mentor, train, and inspire the next generation so that even as we look to the future, we can ensure that its going to look very different than it does today,” Ojo added.