CEO, Public Board Director, and Executive Leadership Development Expert. First African American woman to lead a life insurance company in the United States, for over 11 years. Track record of helping individuals and mission driven institutions change and achieve results using strategic vision and operating leadership. A sought after Advisor and presenter using consulting, coaching, seminars, panels, workshops, presentations and keynotes. More than thirty years of cross-functional, cross-industry experience with early stage, high-growth, and restructuring in mid size and large organizations. Specific industry experience in life and health insurance, financial services, banking, utilities and energy, platforms, social media marketing and technology, higher education, and non-profit management. MBA and JD Degrees. CPA (Illinois). CLU. ChFC.
Expertise: Visioning and Strategy, General Management (P&L), Operations, Marketing & Business Development, Product and Process Design, Technology, Regulatory and Compliance, Board and Executive Development and Succession Planning, and Financial Expert under SEC Rules.
Specialties: Life Insurance, Financial Services, Health Insurance, Law, Higher Education, Marketing & Sales, Diversity, Non-profit Management.
Courageous leadership and commitment to action for a better world.
More than 100 miles
I generally get paid for speaking but make exceptions
When I was a senior in high school I saw a posting to apply for a study abroad program. The deadline was the next day. I went home that evening and filled out the application and submitted it the next day. I had no idea what studying abroad would be like. After several interviews and a home visit I was selected as an American Field Service (AFS) student to study abroad in Denmark, a country I had never heard of. A few weeks later, I found myself landing in a country with almost no people of African descent and speaking a language I did not understand. After a truly amazing and life changing year of studies and experiences, I found myself back on a plane returning to the United States, fluent in Danish and a completely changed person. This singular experience changed the course of my life, and there was no going back. To this day, 53 years later, I am still deeply affected by my experience, the country of Denmark, and its progressive people. They helped me free myself, to see myself, and to have the courage to speak truth to power.
I was born at Great Lakes Naval base while my mom was living in public housing on the West side of Chicago. My family goes back at least 12 generations in rural South Carolina. My grandmother, who had a third grade education was the single most important influence in my life. In 1958, When I was five years old, she told me that one day I was going to be President of the United States. My life was driven by her goals and dreams for me and the many things she taught me over the years. Although she has been gone for over 30 years, her voice has helped me overcome many obstacles, take on more challenges, and reach for my dreams. Many of my accomplishments were things I never thought possible. I am amazed that I am still learning, growing, and working 70 years later and now a grandmother myself. With every milestone, graduating from law school, being selected as a CEO, becoming a mother, and dedicating myself to making a difference in everything I do, I remember her admonitions to remain humble, never give up, and always help your family and community.