Oct 18, 2008

Blogging @ The ELC Recognition Dinner

I arrived at the ELC Dinner event - not sure what to expect. I attended this event last year - but that was in DC and the nation wasn't yet on the verge of electing it's first Black President. The atmosphere at the event was great - of course, it helped that Barack was in New-York at the time attending the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner.

Council Chair - CT Tomlin has been my mentor for just over a year & I remain grateful for all that I've learnt from him, thus far. The event was a memorable one for several reasons. I was fortunate to meet one man I've long admired - Ken Chenault of American Express.

This year, the ELC honored one of the original members of the "Little Rock 9" - a man by the name of Ernest Green. I sat at C.T's table, next to Ernest Green and managed to speak with him for a few minutes, after he received the Alvaro Martin's Heritage Award, (I even got his autograph). I'll always remember is the man's humility, his smile - and his easy going demeanor.

I'm generally not big on award ceremonies - I believe our greatest reward comes in the form of blessings from God. That said, I'm always very keen to hear what important/accomplished people say - when they receive awards. During his acceptance speech, Ernest Green spoke about the experience - back in '57, about attending Little Rock Central High School and going on to graduate. He mentioned some of the people who had influenced his life - like Dr. Bernard Harris, Jesse Tyson and Andrew Young and then proceeded to accept the award on behalf of the other members of the "Little Rock 9". His delivery was contemplative, relaxed and filled with humility - it was truly a great speech.

As the event ended, I was struck by how far the ELC has come - with over 400 members, most of whom are officers in the largest corporations in America.

The comment which most resonated with me - was made by one notable corporate executive, in speaking about Barack Obama's candidacy and the fact that we may soon elect our first black President.

"This is the era of No More Excuses" - I couldn't agree more...


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