25 Influential Black Women in Business

by Liz O’Donnell (Boston)

The Network Journal, a business magazine which provides news and commentaries on the workplace and focuses predominantly on Africa-American professionals, recently announced its 2009 list of “25 Influential Black Women in Business.”

The twenty-five women will be honored during Women’s History Month at the Eleventh Annual 25 Influential Black Women in Business Awards luncheon March 12. The event will be held at the New York Marriott Marquis Hotel.

Events like this one help to foster much-needed strategic networks for African-American business women. As we recently reported, the lack of these networks is often cited as one of the reasons there is still far too little diversity in executive suites and on corporate boards. As we reported last week, a recent poll conducted by The Executive Leadership Council showed that 31 percent of the 150 executives surveyed attribute advancement challenges for African-American women to weaker or less strategic networks available.

This year’s list of influential women includes two corporate attorneys: Sandra Scott, Vice President, Legal Affairs, Home Box Office, Inc., and Teresa Wynn Roseborough, Senior Chief Counsel – Litigation, MetLife. It also includes VernĂ£ Myers, Esq., Principal, VernĂ£ Myers Consulting Group, LLC. Ms. Myers’ Boston-based consulting company helps law firms and related organizations face the challenges of diversity and inclusion. Prior to starting her own business, Myers practiced corporate and real estate law for six years at Testa, Hurwitz & Thibeault LLP and at Fitch, Wiley, Richlin & Tourse LLP.

Also among the recipients is Ci Ci Holloway, Managing Director, Diversity & Inclusion, for UBS Investment Bank. UBS offers programs in mentoring, work-life balance and managing a career comeback.

There are several women from the technology sector among this year’s honorees including Gayle Lanier, Vice President & General Manager, Knowledge Services, Nortel Networks; Elizabeth Williams, President & CEO, Roxbury Technology Corp.; and Kelly Chapman, Director, Diversity Recruiting, Microsoft Corp. Microsoft has an extensive program to reach out to potential employees from diverse backgrounds. The software giant partners with organizations like Catalyst, The Black Enterprise Women of Power Summit, the Society of Women Engineers and the National Society of Hispanic MBAs in its recruiting efforts.

“The women we are honoring on the eleventh year of these awards are, as usual, in the forefront of American leadership and symbolize the diversity and advancement that has occurred across industry lines,” The Network Journal Publisher and CEO Aziz Gueye Adetimirin said. “We salute them for achieving significant levels of success in their businesses and professional careers and for their myriad contributions to their community.”