BREAKING NEWS The New Majority – Are you a part of the change – or will you be left behind?
Yesterday I had the opportunity to be included with a very select group of people who are trying to really effectuate change. I know how often people talk about change – but rarely am I privy to being surrounded by a majority of company in a group setting where people are really WORKING towards it. What am I talking about you may ask…?
As a Canadian who has been living in this country since 1996 I have struggled. Let me explain – coming from, for the most part – a successfully integrated multi-cultural norm as a living environment (which Canada is – after all – it had to be to survive) why the playing field is not quite so level here. What I mean by here is the US.
In what I believe to be the potentially greatest country in the world it seems that there are still huge barriers to minorities in terms of successfully growing their businesses. True some break from the pack and are incredible successes but for the most part – many fall through the cracks, which is unfortunate. I use the word potential because I think to say this is the greatest country in the world, when opportunity is still not 100% equal across the board…and often not as available to minorities as it is in my native Canada, we aren’t quite there yet.
Before you go telling me to go back to Canada if I think it’s so much better there, don’t be so quick to judge me. I am actually HERE because I believe in many ways there truly is – depending on WHO YOU ARE more opportunity here, than there may be in Canada depending on what you want to do.
In all fairness I also believe as a white Hispanic woman who has been told I look more Irish or Swedish (really) than Spanish (which I happen to be 1/2 by my father) I have been privy to perhaps more opportunity than my more “ethnic” looking sisters. And when I say sisters – I mean my fellow Latina businesswomen. But I (as usual) digress…. I believe and am buying into the dream, I just deeply feel – the dream should be available to all and I don’t always seeing that being the case. Whether it’s the woman business owner being told she needs to hire a CEO (and it would be good if he were male) to help her find funding for her truly visionary and brilliant idea (shocking in this day and age, but true) or the ethnic minority business owner facing barriers to entry for financing, or connections, or both – it bothers me.
Doesn’t it bother you? It should.
Even more so because guess what the statistics all show is that the Minority is quickly becoming the NEW Majority, and whether you like it or not – that train is running full speed ahead. The only constant in life is change and it seems the playing field here in the US is changing, whether people like it or not. Through my work with women in business (whether through NAWBO – National Association of Women Business Owners) or WEB, Inc (Women Entrepreneurs of Baltimore) or the Maryland Hispanic Chamber…I see the barriers to entry every day. I also see – thankfully some people willing to be part of the solution versus just content to gripe about it. One of these people is my friend and mentor – Sharon Pinder. Sharon is a formidable business woman, a force of nature and a terrific advocate for women and minority owned business. Receiving a Top100 MBE Award from her in 2010 is without a doubt one of the biggest honors of my professional career. That’s why when she asked for my support to be part of the solution, and the business and community people involved to shape the impact the increasingly NEW MAJORITY will have on all aspects of life as we know it here in the US (including BUSINESS) – I couldn’t help but answer the call.
I spent the morning yesterday in Adelphi, MD in the company of such visionary and accomplished business leaders as Shelonda Stokes (Greibo Media), Betty Hines (Women Presidents Organisation), L. Content Mc Laughlin (Whiteford Taylor LLP), Diane Bell Mc Koy (Associated Black Charities), Sandra Eberhard (Women’s President Education Org.) Dr. Mathew Lee (Allied Technology Group), Dr. Sharon Hadari (founder of the Center For Women in Business Research), Franklin Lee, Esq (Tydings & Rosenberg, PA), Walt Townsend (Baltimore Washington Chamber of Commerce) and too many more to mention – at the launch of the New Majority Summit – the purpose of the Summit is to build a framework to leverage America’s melting pot culture as a global economic advantage in the 21st century and beyond.
Read on to hear what transpired (this is verbatim a copy of the Center For Business Inclusion’s press release). I hope you’ll join me in being part of those embracing change and willing to work towards a playing field where greater opportunity exists for all. There’s a seat at the table for you – won’t you sit down?
Shifting Demographics Presents New Opportunities for Entrepreneurs
The New Majority Summit meets to address impact of minorities becoming the new majority
ADELPHI, Md. (Dec. 5, 2011) Business leaders gathered today at the University of Maryland University College (UMUC) for the inaugural meeting of The New Majority Summit. The purpose of the Summit is to build a framework to leverage America’s melting pot culture as a global economic advantage in the 21st century and beyond.
Some of the most influential business leaders in the Mid Atlantic region attended the Summit, which was hosted by the Center for Business Inclusion and Diversity.
The Washington, D.C. metro area is among eight big-city metropolitan regions where minorities became the majority during the past decade. Minorities are now the majority in 22 of the 100 largest U.S. metropolitan regions.
“The effects of this country’s economic troubles have been especially severe for women and minority owned businesses,” said Sharon Pinder, CEO & Founder of the Center for Business Inclusion and Diversity. “Yet the combination of these economic challenges and the changing demographics presents a unique opportunity.”
The Summit provides the context for leaders from almost every ethnic group to work together to identify these opportunities. “Through the Summit, we will collaborate to split the wealth ‘pie’ instead of fighting over it,” said renowned civil rights lawyer Franklin Lee, Partner, Tydings and Rosenberg.
“This group clearly has a real commitment to creating a collaboration across communities to build sustainable prosperity,” said Dr. Sharon Hadary, Founder of the Center for Women’s Business Research, and Principal, Sharon Hadary and Associates.
Participants will work together to formalize a think tank to identify and promote the common needs of women and minority businesses through research, policy development, congressional relations and education.
“Change is not going to happen overnight, but this is an excellent way to consolidate the power of all minorities and exercise these powers in the most effective way,” said Dr. Matthew Lee, Allied Technology Group.