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The Women's Leadership Forum of the Executive Leadership Council Hosts National Conference on "Potential.Purpose.Power." at

    The Women's Leadership Forum of the Executive Leadership Council Hosts
      National Conference on "Potential.Purpose.Power." at Target Field

PR Newswire

MINNEAPOLIS, July 10, 2012

African-American Female Executives Meet to Increase their Representation at
Fortune 500 Companies and on Corporate Boards

MINNEAPOLIS, July 10, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Executive Leadership
Council (ELC) will host more than 200 African-American women executives for
the annual Women's Leadership Forum and Black Women On...Power series at
Target Field today. The meeting will focus on leadership development and
increasing the representation of African-American women in senior leadership
positions in corporate America. 

This event speaks directly to ELC's mission and aspirational goals, a recently
launched effort to promote corporate diversity. Over the next five years, the
ELC will work with corporate America to add at least one African American at
the CEO level or one to two levels below at each Fortune 500 company for a
total of 500 and to increase the number of African Americans on the boards of
publicly traded companies by 200.

"The ELC is a national organization of current and former African‐American
CEOs and senior executives at Fortune 500 and equivalent companies, and we
develop the next generation of African-American business leaders from the
classroom to the boardroom," said Ronald C. Parker, interim president and CEO.
"Our goal is to make sure that African Americans have a seat at the
decision-making table in corporate America, and that includes African-American
women. This group will play an important role in bringing diversity of
thinking to the table which spurs innovation and leads to stronger, more
profitable corporations and better communities."

The ELC is taking the lead on elevating the issue of corporate diversity
because recent statistics have raised concerns about minority representation,
specifically for African Americans, at the senior levels in Fortune 500
companies. In fact, key statistics demonstrate that African-American women are
extremely underrepresented:

  o Of the more than 35,000 senior executive positions at the CEO level or
    those one and two levels below CEO within most Fortune 500 companies, it
    is estimated that only 3.2 percent – or fewer than 800 – are African
    American. Furthermore, even within that group, African-American women are
    disproportionately underrepresented. 
  o According to the Alliance Board for Diversity, of which the ELC is a
    founding member, the number of Fortune 500 board seats held by women and
    minorities has remained flat compared to 2004, and they were already
    severely underrepresented. Even worse, the number of Fortune 100 board
    seats held by African Americans has actually declined.
  o In 2012, there are only six African-American CEOs, accounting for barely
    one percent of the chief executive officers of the 500 largest companies
    in the United States. Of the six, only one is an African-American woman,
    which is Ursula Burns who heads Xerox.

"I am honored to welcome this distinguished group of women to Minneapolis,"
said Laysha Ward, president, community relations for Target, and board chair
of The Executive Leadership Foundation. "The Women's Leadership Forum is a
great way to help build our pipeline of corporate leaders. With a focus
on Potential. Purpose. Power., we will provide critical tools to help
African-American women executives tap into their promise and power as they
advance in corporate America."

The first ELC Women's Leadership Forum was held in October 2003 in Washington,
D.C., for ELC members active on public policy issues.  Since that time, the
forum has grown, and host cities have included New York, Chicago, and now
Minneapolis.  In addition, the forum's mandate and reach have expanded, with
the focus primarily on leadership development, and it is now open to all high
potential African-American women business leaders.

"During the forum we will host a range of leadership development workshops and
panels, and we have brought together some of the most powerful women in
business, politics and academia to share their professional playbooks for
succeeding in corporate America," stated Leilani Brown, vice president and
chief marketing officer for Starr Companies, and Women's Leadership Forum
co-chair. "Today's forum will help us prepare talented and creative
African-American women for leadership positions in corporate America and on
boards, ensuring that we have a voice at the decision-making table."

In addition to bringing together your top African-American female executives,
participants will also hear from leading thought leaders such as Judy Smith,
founder and president of Smith & Company and inspiration for the hit ABC – TV
show, Scandal; and The Black Women On...Power panel will feature journalist,
educator and blogger Yanick Rice Lamb; Chairman of Johnson Publishing Company
Linda Johnson Rice; and Johnson Publishing CEO Desiree Rodgers.

For more information on the Women's Leadership Forum or The Black Women
On...Power panel, please visit

About The Executive Leadership Council
The Executive Leadership Council is an independent, non-profit 501(c)(6)
corporation founded in 1986, comprised of current and former African-American
CEOs and senior executives at Fortune 500 and equivalent companies. For more
than 25 years, the ELC has worked to build an inclusive business leadership
pipeline and to empower African-American corporate leaders to make significant
and impactful contributions in the global marketplace and their communities.
Our programs develop future business leaders, filling the pipeline from the
classroom to the boardroom.

SOURCE Executive Leadership Council

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