It takes a while to get to the top, but the current crop of blacks who head government affairs offices in Washington have paid their dues and wield considerable influence. In honor of the upcoming 2011 Congressional Black Caucus week, also known as the Annual Legislative Conference, The Root's D.C. insider, Nicole Venable, highlights the power players running some of the largest corporate and association offices on K Street.
Captions by Nicole Venable
Barry Granger, vice president of government marketing and government affairs at DuPont: Granger manages a wide range of business interests for this Fortune 50 company — everything from Kevlar to feedstock.
Gina Adams, senior vice president of government affairs at FedEx: When the package has to get there and the deal has to be done, Adams is FedEx's link to open all doors in Washington, D.C.
Stephanie Childs, vice president of government affairs at Avaya: Childs is well-regarded as a leader in the field of telecommunications.
Howlie Davis, senior vice president of government affairs at CH2M Hill: With more than 20 years' experience as counselor to U.S. Cabinet secretaries, business and political leaders, and nonprofit and community organizations, Davis leads the firm's U.S. government-affairs agenda and operations and directs the team for federal, state and local government affairs. He is also a mentor to a number of young government-affairs professionals on K Street.
Fred Humphries, vice president of U.S. government affairs at Microsoft: Since 1998 Humphries has held the top lobbyist spot at Microsoft, bringing considerable experience with him. In addition to serving as a political director at the Democratic National Committee, Humphries also worked with former Rep. Dick Gephardt and fellow Morehouse brother Rep. Sanford Bishop.
DeDe Lea, executive vice president of government relations at Viacom: Lea oversees the public-policy and government-liaison portfolio for the vast entertainment empire owned by Viacom, including MTV and BET Networks.
R. Lucia Riddle, vice president of federal government relations at Principal Financial Group: Principal Financial Group has been named to the 2011 National Association for Female Executives Top 50 Companies and 10 Nonprofits for Executive Women. The list recognizes organizations whose policies and practices encourage advancement of women. Riddle is a great example of how the company puts women in leading roles.
Jake Jones, executive director of external affairs and public policy at Daimler: As Daimler's head of office, Jones arrives not only in style but with everything the company needs to succeed in Washington, D.C. After a stint with both the AFL-CIO and former Sen. Carol Moseley Braun, Jones brings broad knowledge and experience to guide Daimler through the "rough roads" in D.C.
Keith Walton, vice president of government affairs at Alcoa: As the head of government affairs for the world's largest producer of aluminum, Walton has a portfolio is as broad as the list of products that incorporate aluminum. He's an expert on everything from autos to aerospace.
Vonya McCann, senior vice president of government affairs at Sprint Nextel: One of the most powerful women in telecommunications, McCann is a behind-the-scenes player fighting against one of the most controversial proposed mergers D.C. has seen in a while: the AT&T and T-Mobile merger.
Dean Garfield, president and CEO of Information Technology Industry Council: Garfield graduated from positions with RIAA and MPAA to now lead the information-technology industry's association, which makes sure Washington does not get in the way of your enjoyment of all that the Internet and "smart" technology has to offer.
James Ballentine, senior vice president of government affairs at American Bankers Association: Given the recent turmoil in global financial markets, Ballentine is a very busy man. With a background in banking and small-business affairs and his Capitol Hill experience, he is the right man to explain complicated financial issues to members of Congress and the administration.
Rey Ramsey, president and CEO of TechNet: After founding and launching the nonprofit One Economy, Ramsey was tapped to work with the industry's leading CEOs to ensure that Washington continues to enable an economy that promotes innovation in all sectors.
Joe McClain, president of the Beer Institute: You might not think there are any beer issues in D.C. other than supply and demand, but McClain has found that Washington legislators have a keen interest in the beverage. They keep him busy on a range of issues, from taxes to responsible advertising practices.
For more info on Washington's power players, check out last year's gallery: The Power Players at the Congressional Black Caucus Conference.