NEWS

Jobs are Offered, and Thousands Turn Up

The 4,000 job seekers who showed up at a Cleveland State University job fair didn't need to watch the bloodletting on Wall Street Monday to know what they wanted: jobs. Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio) hosted the fair, and afterward, she and other members of the Congressional Black Caucus, which is hosting similar events in other cities, held a town hall meeting. The black unemployment rate in the Cleveland area is 16.2 percent.

Black Homeownership and How That Dream Got Derailed

Algernon Austin, director of the Program on Race, Ethnicity and the Economy at the Economic Policy Institute, muses on the Huffington Post that black and Latino homeownership declined during the subprime debacle and as unemployment soared in the wake of the Great Recession. The problem is that solutions require national political leaders to exit their gridlocked adversarial environment, and that isn't going to happen. Recently, New America Media reported on the same topic in "The Dream That Got Away: Tracking Homeownership Trends."

Alcoa Division to Pay $540,000 to Settle Race- and Gender-Discrimination Claim

The U.S. Labor Department found that an Alcoa Mill Products plant based in Lancaster, Pa., denied positions to 37 black and Latino applicants. The company will pay them $485,000 in back wages. Two women will also split about $35,000, and the company must spend $20,000 on sensitivity training.

Walton Isaacson Is Named "Supplier of the Year" Again

In July the Southern California Minority Business Development Council named Walton Isaacson — an independent minority-owned, full-service ad-and-marketing agency — its Supplier of the Year for the second straight year. WI was founded in 2005 by Aaron Walton, NBA Hall of Famer Earvin "Magic" Johnson and Cory Isaacson. Clients include Caesars Entertainment Co. and Unilever's Axe, Dove and Degree brands. Since 2007 WI has been the agency of record for Lexus' multicultural, Hispanic and LGBT marketing, and it developed the general-market creative for the Lexus CT200 U.S. launch.

New GlobalHue Ad Campaign for Jeep Grand Cherokee Debuts

GlobalHue, a multicultural ad agency based in Southfield, Mich., is the Jeep brand's lead advertising agency. It developed the new Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland Summit model campaign, which was launched in mid-July. The agency was founded by former NFL player Don Coleman.

INNOVATORS

Howard University Grad's Heady Idea for Beauticians

Tiffani Ashley Bell, a 2008 Howard University graduate with a degree in computer science, is the co-founder of Pencil You In. The company enables beauticians to accept reservations online and via text messages. She is also the co-founder of TwellWishes, a Twitter app for users to send greetings to their followers for birthdays, anniversaries, promotions and other things. (We're just not sure this new app will reduce the wait at the beauty parlor.) Follow Bell on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. Watch her video.

Hate Touching Unclean Digital Displays? There's a Digit for That

Robert Helm, of Lansing, Mich., has developed the Accu-Text, which is an anti-microbial fingertip that limits your exposure to bacteria and germs when you're using retail and other touch screens. He came up with the idea in 2008 and has a patent pending. Follow Helm on LinkedIn, and Accu-Text on Facebook. Watch the Accu-Text video on YouTube.

SMOOTH MOVES

New Vice President and Assistant General Counsel at Mass Mutual

Dominic L. Blue is the new head of the corporate law section at Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co. Blue received his J.D. and an MBA from Boston College and earned his B.A. from the College of the Holy Cross. He is a member of the Appeals Board of the Supplier Diversity Office of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, which determines the minority- and women-owned-business status of the state's vendors. He had been with the Boston office of Edwards Angell Palmer & Dodge LLP.

Atlanta Life Financial Group Appoints New President and CEO

William J. Taggart is the new CEO of Atlanta Life Financial Group. Prior to this post, he was CEO of the Office of Federal Student Aid in the Obama administration. Taggart, a Howard University grad with a Harvard MBA, has also been a senior executive at Wachovia. ALFG is the country's only black-owned firm with financial-services subsidiaries that include asset management (Herndon Capital Management), investment banking and brokerage (Jackson Securities) and insurance (Atlanta Life Insurance Co.).

Newark Museum Exec in Line to Lead National Organization

Meme Omogbai, the chief operating officer of New Jersey's Newark Museum, has been elected vice chair of the board of the American Association of Museums. Omogbai, who was born in Nigeria, is a former deputy assistant chancellor of New Jersey's Department of Higher Education. She earned her a B.S. in accounting and an MBA at Rutgers University. Becoming vice chair places Omogbai in line to become the first black leader of the AAM, which includes nearly 3,000 museums, aquariums, zoos, botanical gardens, arboretums, historic sites, and science and technology centers employing more than 18,000 museum professionals and volunteers. There are also 250 corporate members.

State Street Corp. Hires Top Officer

Boston's State Street Corp. has hired Sena Kwawu as senior vice president and chief procurement officer to manage a purchase base of more than $1.9 billion. He has a mandate to reduce the firm's expense ratio and to improve the value of services received. Kwawu, who is from Kenya, had been the senior vice president of finance shared services at Genworth Financial. Watch Kwawu on YouTube and follow him on Twitter.

Michelle Gadsden-Williams Heads Marsh & McLennan Division

In June the former senior vice president of Chartis International, Michelle Gadsden-Williams, was appointed to lead the international small and medium enterprises business at Marsh Inc., a Marsh & McLennan company. She oversees the firm's SME insurance solutions and service strategy across more than 70 countries. Gadsden-Williams has a B.A. in communications and a B.S. in marketing from Kean College, as well as an M.S. in organizational dynamics from the University of Pennsylvania.

Cox Communications Exec Has a Rewarding Summer 

In June Mae Douglas, executive vice president and chief people officer for Cox Communications, received the 2011 Vanguard Award for Distinguished Leadership from the National Cable & Telecommunications Association at the organization's 60th annual convention in Chicago. The same month, Douglas received the National Association for Multi-Ethnicity in Communications Friend of NAMIC (pdf) award.

READING LIST

Bennett College President Julianne Malveaux Pens New Book

Noted economist Julianne Malveaux, president of the historically black women's school Bennett College in Greensboro, N.C., has written Surviving and Thriving: 365 Facts in Black Economic History. Malveaux earned her Ph.D. in economics at MIT. She is the co-author, with Deborah Perry, of Unfinished Business: A Democrat and a Republican Take on the 10 Most Important Issues Women Face and many essays. 

CALENDAR ITEM

The Sixth Annual Conference for African American Financial Professionals

In partnership with MetLife, Northwestern Mutual, Prudential and New York Life, the American College is hosting the Conference for African American Financial Professionals in Atlanta Aug. 16-17. Mayor of Newark Cory A. Booker is the keynote speaker. Check the agenda, and find out about other speakers. The American College is involved in financial education for securities, banking and insurance professionals.

DIASPORA WATCH

What Does One of South Africa's Top Entrepreneurs Say About Job Growth?

Herman Mashaba, CEO of Lephatsi Investment, took his government to task, accusing it of destroying jobs. You can read the entire interview on the South African financial site Moneyweb. 

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Frank McCoy writes about business and technology for The Root. You can contact him here.