A Blog for Black History Month – Featuring the National Black MBA Association Raleigh-Durham Chapter “Leaders of Tomorrow” (NBMBAA RDU LOT) Program

Blog writer Stan C. Kimer meets LOT participant Isaiah Forte-Rose, an 11th grader at Middle Creek High School, a budding talented entrepreneur who is already building a Custom Tee-Shirts and Graphic Design / Videography business

Blog writer Stan C. Kimer meets LOT participant Isaiah Forte-Rose, an 11th grader at Middle Creek High School, a budding talented entrepreneur who is already building a Custom Tee-Shirts and Graphic Design / Videography business

As both diversity and a career / talent development consultant, I seek innovative programs in those areas and am always willing to assist and present at community activities to support diversity and talent development efforts. In this blog for Black History Month (link) (February in the USA and Canada), I would like to introduce an excellent program focusing on development of emerging talent – the “Leaders of Tomorrow” Program.

The NBMBAA RDU LOT program (link) is part of a national network of middle and high school students and distinguished professionals who focus on empowering African American students by challenging, stimulating and teaching them to grow in leadership and professional development. The effort is administered, coordinated and financially supported by the local chapters of the National Black MBA Association, whose overall goal is leading in the creation of educational opportunities and economic growth for African Americans.

I first connected with our local NBMBAA RDU chapter (link) when I met their volunteer VP of Operations and LOT Program Director, Mr. Marion Johnson, at a local event for business leaders sponsored by the Triangle Business Journal (link to blog about that event – African American local business leader and General Manager at Biogen Idec, Machelle Sanders, presented a fantastic overview of key leadership attributes.)

Blog writer Stan C. Kimer presenting "Leading in a Diverse World" at the December 2013 LOT monthly session

Blog writer Stan C. Kimer presenting “Leading in a Diverse World” at the December 2013 LOT monthly session

After meeting Marion, he invited me to the annual NBMBAA RDU-LOT Fundraiser and Gala where they introduced the participants of that year’s LOT program, celebrated the successes of the Program and held an awards
ceremony for the students. I was so impressed by this work. Truly, all of us need to support activities that help build a diverse pipeline of excellent leaders – it is only by providing strong encouragement and excellent resources across all segments of our society can we truly reach our full potential for economic development.

This past December, I was invited to be a workshop presenter at the NBMBAA RDU LOT December meeting. I presented “Leading in a Diverse World” highlighting how the best leaders will understand the full spectrum of diversity and realize that leveraging the diversity within groups and teams will lead to the best results and maximum productivity from each participant. These students were sharp and attentive and I look forward to seeing them in the future as our community and business leaders.

I along with over 40 LOT participants and parents listen intently to the first speaker on

I along with over 40 LOT participants and parents listen intently to the first speaker on “Effective Communication Skills” at the Saturday, December 14th LOT session

In addition to having these workshop sessions one Saturday per month, the NBMBAA RDU LOT program also selects and prepares five students to represent the RDU Chapter at the National Business Case Competition where LOT programs from around the country develop and showcase their proposed solutions to a real business issue. In preparation for the competition the students are taught advanced math, critical thinking, analytical skills, writing, research, and public speaking skills, financial projection development and plan implementation. In 2013, they placed 3rd in the nation, winning a $5,000 scholarship. As part of my diversity presentation, I emphasized how building their team with a diverse group with various experiences, talents and backgrounds could lead a stronger overall competitive solution- much as in the real business world!

To close, I encourage every reader of this blog to look for ways they can participate and have an impact somewhere in their community to help foster diverse leaders for tomorrow.

The Business-Based Case Against a North Carolina Anti-Gay Constitutional Marriage Amendment

Note: These are NC State House Bill 777 and Senate Bill 106.

This week the North Carolina State Legislature is covening to consider proposals to amend our state constitution. One of the amendments under considerations is referred to by many as the “anti-gay marriage amendment” which would add to the North Carolina Constitution that only marriage between one man and one woman would be recognized by the state of North Carolina. It would go even further and state “No other relationship shall be recognized as a valid marriage by the State.” There are already effective state laws on this, so I wonder why a restrictive statement like this would need to be added to a constitution which by definition is supposed to define and protect rights.

Since I am a business consultant with one of my areas being diversity management, I want to address solely from a business perspective why this amendment is harmful to the North Carolina economy. I will fully agree that when something good for business is harmful to the society as a whole, it should not be done, but when something that is good for business also coincides with human rights and moral civility, it is a no-brainer. In this case opposing this amendment is both good for business and the right thing morally.

Here are the three reasons why the anti-gay marriage amendment is bad for North Carolina Business:

1. Corporations will hesitate to relocate or build facilities in North Carolina compared to other states. Most large corporations understand the value of diversity and even have programs to welcome and include LGBT People. One proof point is the major corporation Northrup Grumman almost reversed their decision to move their headquarters to Virginia when a state government leader came out with a very anti-gay stance. Other Virginia leaders had to do some major backpedaling and damage control to not lose Northrop Grumman. Link to newspaper article about this.

Is this the message we want to send from North Carolina?

2. GLBT (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender) talented people would opt to move to a more progressive state that does not blatantly discriminate against them. As every state competes to have the best and brightest talent work for them, we should not erect big signs on our border that scream “Gay people not welcome here.”
3. This divisive measure is a highly-charged mean-spirited political maneuver which will divide our state and waste energy and time that should be focused instead on addressing much more pressing issues like unemployment, economic development, technology deployment and education.

To learn more about this issue and to get involved please check out the Equality NC Website.

UPDATE SEPT 6: The Raleigh News and Observer published an article that supports the content of this blog. Link to article.

UPDATE SEPT 7: An excellent 4 minute video from Replacement Ltd’s Lead Council Andrew Spanhour. Link to Video.