Two of the Wealthiest African Americans Discuss Economic Mobility and Paying it Forward - Black Enterprise
Black Enterprise Magazine September/October 2018 Issue

On June 14, the Catalyst Network Foundation hosted “Position of Power” featuring Don Peebles and Thomas A. Moorehead, two of the wealthiest African Americans and both self-made entrepreneurs. The powerful discussion centered around entrepreneurship, economic mobility, and paying it forward. 

The event was sponsored by City First Bank and Industrial Bank and held at the illustrious The Park at 14th in the downtown district of the city. Speakers during introductions included Brian Argrett, president and CEO of City First Bank and Jay Morrison, founder of the Jay Morrison Academy, fund manager, and CEO of Tulsa Real Estate Fund which raised $5,000,000 in 24 hours and $10 million in less than a week.

Laurel Djoukeng, born and raised in DC, founded the Catalyst Network Foundation. Focused on life enrichment and professional development with a mission to engage high-potential youth in the black and brown community, more than 200 students have been admitted to the fellowship program with a 99% high school graduation rate and a 98% secondary education enrollment rate. 

“The Catalyst Network Foundation is dedicated to its students and providing them with access to experiences that will open up their windows of opportunity,” says Djoukeng. “Since 2011 the Fellows have pitched capstone presentations and interventions for inner-city challenges to several companies including Google, NIKE, BET, GAP, Bloomberg, Deloitte, and The Peebles Corp.”

The many challenges that we face within our own communities depend on both those in the community and outside of the community to take action. Moorhead, co-founder of the Joyce and Thomas Moorehead Foundation and founder and CEO of Sterling Motor Cars, believes that it is the responsibility of all who are achieving success to provide mentoring, encouragement, resources, and guidance to the next generation. 

“If we reach back and truly be a resource then we can achieve more than we can even imagine,” says Moorehead. “The Catalyst Network Foundation is providing a powerful platform to develop this next generation of leaders through academic support for students and “Meeting of the Minds” forums that educate the aspiring business professionals in our communities to strive for excellence and pay it forward with lifting others as they climb.”

Collective leadership and commitment from the top is essential to the betterment of African American youth as we build them to be the next leaders. 

Founder and CEO of The Peebles Corp., R. Donahue Peebles says, “These events teach our young people that no dream is too big and that no obstacle is insurmountable. In delivering my remarks, I say what I needed to hear 30 years ago.”

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