“Power Breakfast” with North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper – Part 1 of 2

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper speaking at the April 6th Triangle Business Journal “Power Breakfast.” (PHOTO: Triangle Business Journal)

The Triangle Business Journal, the very well-read and respected business weekly newspaper for the Raleigh / Durham / Chapel Hill area of North Carolina, holds a quarterly “Power Breakfast” featuring an area senior leader with a few hundred local business leaders. The Spring 2017 breakfast held April 6, 2017 featured the newly elected NC Governor Roy Cooper. Governor Cooper is quite unique as he was the first challenger to defeat a sitting governor in our state since 1850!

One of the major issues in our state which helped lead to Governor Cooper’s election was the unpopular HB2 law passed last Spring (see my latest blog on HB2) which dictated the bathroom transgender people needed to use in public venues, curtailed the ability of cities and counties to pass their own non-discrimination ordinances, and more. Accordingly, this ongoing issue was a major part of the April 6th breakfast discussion.

Since I am a diversity and career development consultant with a deep expertise in the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) workplace and marketplace, Part 1 will overview all of Governor Cooper’s remarks, and Part 2, coming next week, will be a much deeper dive into the overall diversity and LGBT components of the breakfast.

It is important to note that this meeting was not for the LGBT community, but for general business leaders. Therefore it was quite remarkable that within 30 seconds of taking the stage, Governor Cooper stated that he loves his state of North Carolina with its diverse mix of people of different genders, races and sexual orientations; that diversity is all over our state, and “that we need to encourage diversity at every step.” Look for an expansion of this theme in part 2.

Popular NC State Attorney General Roy Cooper was the first candidate to defeat a sitting Governor in NC since 1850! (PHOTO: Citizen Times)

Key points from our Governor:

• My goal is to see North Carolina better educated, healthier, with more money in people’s pockets with them living a more abundant and purposeful life.

• In terms of economic development, we need to attract better paying jobs to North Carolina, pay attention to the businesses that are already here, and remember that small businesses are a major economic engine.

• Education has to be a key initiative in North Carolina – my goal is for NC to be one of the “Top 10 best educated states.” Building our education system is certainly a common ground issue that all legislators can agree on. Education goals:
1. Participation in pre-kindergarten education increased from 22% to 55%
2. High school graduation rate increased from the low 80% to 90s
3. More people with advanced degrees from 38% to 55%

• We can make people healthier by taking advantage of the federal funding provided for health care.

• We have cut taxes enough; it is now time to invest in our state as well as run things more effectively and efficiently. (Side note from Stan – I am sure our new state Secretary of Administration Machelle Sanders (link) will see to that!)

• We have to keep in mind that we are competing in a global economy (not just with bordering South Carolina.)

• Art and music are important elements for the quality of life in North Carolina, including attracting leading businesses to our state.

This is certainly an enlightened agenda to positively impact the lives of all North Carolinians.

More next week on diversity, the LGBT community and HB2!

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.