M. Alexis Scott
M. Alexis Scott is publisher of the Atlanta Daily World, a newspaper founded by her grandfather in 1928. She has responsibility for the overall editorial content and general management of the paper, which targets the African American community in metro Atlanta. In 1932, the Atlanta Daily World, founded by W.A. Scott, II, became the nation’s first black-owned daily newspaper in the 20th century. The paper publishes once a week now, can be accessed daily over the Internet at www.atlantadailyworld.com. The newspaper became a part of the Real Times Media family in March 2012, joining five other historic African American newspapers including the Chicago Defender, the Michigan Chronicle, The Michigan FrontPage, the New Pittsburgh Courier, and the Tri-State Defender in Memphis, Tenn. Ms.
Scott joined the Atlanta Daily World in 1997, following a 22-year career with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Cox Enterprises, Inc., where she worked her way up from reporter to vice president/community affairs at the Journal-Constitution and then director of diversity at Cox. In addition to her duties as publisher of the newspaper, Ms. Scott is a regularly featured commentator on “The Georgia Gang,” a week-in-review program on politics broadcast on FOX 5 in Atlanta. She is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Atlanta Life Financial Group Ms. Scott is active in nonprofit organizations. She is a member of the boards of the High Museum of Art, the Historic South View Cemetery Preservation Foundation; the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau and the board of the Atlanta Workforce Development Agency. She is also a member of the Rotary Club of Atlanta. She serves on the Global Advisory Board of the Center for Civil & Human Rights and the President’s Council of the Atlanta History Center.
Ms. Scott has received many awards and honors, including the inaugural Keystone Leadership Award from Build, Grow and Enjoy Radio in 2012; being inducted along with the rest of The Scott Family into the inaugural class of the Hall of Fame of the Atlanta Press Club in 2011; the 2011 Trailblazer Award from the Atlanta Hawks; 2010 Journalist of the Year Award from the Atlanta Regional Rainbow/PUSH Coalition; the 2010 Generational Torch Award from the Georgia Black Chamber of Commerce; 2009 Community Leader Award from the Alliance for Christian Media and the 2009 Pioneer Award from the Black Women Film Preservation Project. She was inducted into the 2007 Business Hall of Fame of the Mack Robinson College of Business at Georgia State University. She also received a 2007 Trailblazer Award In Honor of Coretta Scott King from the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.
A native of Atlanta, Ms. Scott is a graduate of Booker T. Washington High School, and attended Barnard College in New York City and Spelman College in Atlanta. She also attended the Columbia University School of Journalism as a summer participant in the 1974 Michelle Clark Fellowship Program. She is a 1992 graduate of the Regional Leadership Institute and a 1991 graduate of Leadership Atlanta. She has an honorary doctor of humane letters degree from Argosy University. She has two sons. She and her family are members of First Congregational Church, U.C.C., where Ms Scott served as presiding officer from 1982-1992, was a member of the Sunday School staff for nearly 30 years and serves on the Board of Missions.
Last week I had a chance to hear the stories of two top General Motors executives at a breakfast for media and other community leaders at the Hyatt Regency.
It was part of the Trumpet Awards weekend of activities. The program was called "Cadillac Conversations," and featured Edward T. Welburn, Jr., the chief designer for the General Motors and Don Butler, the chief marketing officer for Cadillac. Welburn is a 2013 Trumpet Award honoree.
Both had inspiring stories about their climb up the corporate ladder. Welburn is GM's vice president of global design and is only the sixth person and the first African American to hold the position in the company's history. Butler, who grew up on a small town in Mississippi, is vice president for marketing at Cadillac and has responsibility for leading product planning, marketing, advertising and promotion for GM's iconic luxury brand.
As a former executive with a 22-year-career at a major media company (Cox Enterprises) I have a real appreciation for their long-time careers with GM. I especially related to Welburn, who is close to my age.
His accomplishments are very impressive. Welburn has created a network of 10 Design Centers in seven countries. He and his team of over 2,000 men and women are responsible for the design development of every GM concept and production car and truck globally. The Design Centers are located in the United States, Germany, Korea, China, Australia, Brazil and India.
Welburn and his team have recently captured the following honors: "2013 North "North American Car of the Year" for the Cadillac ATS at the recent American International Auto Show in Detroit; the all-new Chevrolet Corvette was named "Best in Show" by both Auto Week magazine and The Detroit News; and the Cadillac ELR won the Eyes on Design Award for "Best Production Vehicle Design."
Welburn's personal story was inspiring. He said his kids call it corny. They're wrong. It is inspiring. He said it was love at first sight when he went to an auto show as a kid of 8 years old in Philadelphia. "When I grow up, I want to design cars for that company," he said during the breakfast conversation. "At 11, I wrote a letter (to GM) asking them what I need to do, what courses I needed to take in high school and college in order to design cars." GM responded, and after completing his studies at Howard University, he joined GM in 1972 and worked his way up.
In addition to his design expertise, Welburn is also a member of GM's executive operations committee, which oversees activities for the entire company. Translation: this means he's the highest ranking African American in the company. He also is currently GM's key executive to Howard University, where he was named 2004 Alumni of the Year. In 1978, the GM Foundation, of which Welburn is a board member, established a yearly grant award to Howard. Since then, the GM Foundation has donated more than $1.1 million to Howard.
Welburn's and Butler's stories were nicely induced by Jocelyn K. Allen, director of regional, grassroots, and diversity Communications for GM. She asked them both what it meant to them to have these high-ranking positions as African Americans.
"I do not take it lightly," Welburn said. "Every day I walk into the office and sit at the same desk as the first chief designer.... I know it's important to talk with designers eye-to-eye around the world....I feel fortunate to work for a company that values design."
Butler said he feels a "special responsibility as a black man leading marketing for Cadillac.... Not as a burden, but it's an amazing testament to the company and to my faith in what God has done."
Both agreed that they feel a responsibility to mentor young people and pass along what they have learned to the next generation.
Makes you want to go out and buy a nice GM car -- Cadillac, Chevy or a Buick.
What a week this has been.
The combination of the second inauguration of Barack Obama and the 2013 commemoration of Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday packed a big one-two punch.
I had tears in my eyes as I watched the annual service at Ebenezer Baptist Church as speaker after speaker showed the reach and range of King's dream. It was also very moving to see Bernice King's imprint as the new CEO of The King Center. For the first time in the 44years of the service, a Latino person gave the keynote address. The Rev. Samuel Rodriguez of Sacramento, CA, followed in the footprints of other nationally-known speakers like the late Sen. Ted Kennedy and the Rev. Otis Moss Jr., a King associate.
Rodriguez is president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference. Bernice rightly described him as "an electrifying orator," as he urged his listeners to follow King's lead to a more just and peaceful world.
On Saturday night, I was impressed by the Salute to Greatness dinner in which this year's recipients included honorees in a new category: The inaugural ANGEL – Advancing No-violence through Generations of Exceptional Leadership – Award was created by Bernice to honor her mother Coretta Scott King and to recognize the work of young leaders from ages 12-to-25 years old.
Alec Loorz, founder of Kids vs. Global Warming and the global Matter Campaign, received the ANGEL Award for an individual. Loorz, who is passionate about saving the environment, said he learned public speaking and activism by watching and listening to speeches by Dr. King. Birmingham, AL, City Councilman James "Jay" E. Roberson, Jr., received the ANGEL on behalf of the "100 Days of Nonviolence" campaign, which he organized and led. During the campaign, no one was murdered.
Of course, this year's Salute to Greatness honorees were stellar, as well. Muhammad Yunus, the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize winner known as the Father of Microcredit, received the award for an individual. The Bangladeshi banker and economist is best known for making it possible for poor women the receive "micro" loans to start their own businesses to get themselves and their families out of poverty. And Georgia's own AFLAC received the corporation award. AFLAC CEO Dan Amos accepted the award, saying that his company is dedicated to improving the quality of live for its employees and the communities in which they live and work. He also noted that his company is 70 percent women and 40 percent people of color, a true reflection of their customers.
And finally, the dinner showed off its use of technology and social media, with attendees being asked to tweet throughout the event, using the #KINGSDREAMS and #IAMFREEDOM. You can go read mine under @adwnewswoman. In addition, attendees were asked to post their dreams for the world on a light board outside the dinner ballroom. My dream was to eliminate racism, poverty and war from the planet.
Then Monday afternoon, President Barack Obama was inaugurated for his second term as president, giving a magnificent speech that painted an inspiring vision of what America has working to be since it began with all its self contradictions.
Going back to the Declaration of Independence, Obama proclaimed that "all men are created equal," and talked about our personal responsibility to work together for the common good. It was easily one of his three great speeches. It was so inspirational that it reminded me of his first speech in 2004 when he first came on the national scene at the Democratic Covention.
This was a great week. Makes you proud to be an American.
M. Alexis Scott is publisher of Atlanta Daily World.
Well, 2013 is already shaping up to be quite a memorable year. On Jan. 1, we celebrated the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, an executive order to free the enslaved Blacks in the 10 states in rebellion as part of Abraham Lincoln's strategy to defeat the Confederacy during the Civil War and re-unite the union.
Now, President Barack Obama is using a bible owned by President Lincoln as he is sworn in on Jan. 21 to his second term as the first Black President of the United States.
And as if that weren't fitting enough, this year also marks the 50th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington during which Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his famous "I have a Dream" speech. To mark this signal event, President Obama is also using a copy of one of King's bibles during his swearing-in ceremony which will also take place on the 2013 King Holiday.
It's hard to get any more symbolism than this. The combination of Lincoln, King and Obama is certainly one for the history books. It's especially moving to me, a child of the 1960s who grew up in the segregated South.
"President Obama is honored to use these bibles at the swearing-in ceremonies," said Steve Kerrigan, President and CEO of the Presidential Inaugural Committee. "On the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington and 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, this historic moment is a reflection of the extraordinary progress we've made as a nation."
The Lincoln Bible is part of the collections of the Library of Congress and was originally purchased by William Thomas Carroll, Clerk of the Supreme Court, for use during Lincoln's swearing-in ceremony on March 4, 1861.
The King Bible was Dr. King's "traveling bible." It was used for inspiration and preparation of sermons and speeches, including during Dr. King's time as pastor of Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama.
"We know our father would be deeply moved to see President Obama take the Oath of Office using his bible," Dr. King's children said in a statement. "His 'traveling bible' inspired him as he fought for freedom, justice and equality, and we hope it can be a source of strength for the President as he begins his second term."
While I wasn't old enough to have marched with Dr. King, Andy Young, John Lewis and others, I feel privileged to have grown up in Atlanta seeing these icons at work.
As my family chronicled the fight for equal rights and desegregation through the pages of the Atlanta Daily World, I came of age seeing and experiencing many dramatic changes -- from racial segregation to the election of Atlanta's first Black mayor in 1973, and the nation's first black president in 2008.
We have indeed come a long way from the "colored only" signs of my youth to the Obama signs of "hope and change."
And now look at what Bernice A. King is doing as CEO of The King Center. The MLK birthday observance Annual Commemorative Service, also on Jan. 21, will feature Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, the first time a Latino leader will serve as keynote speaker.
Elder King calls him "an electrifying orator" and "one of the most dynamic and inspiring proponents of the social gospel in the spirit of Martin Luther King, Jr." The program, which will be held in Ebenezer Baptist Church Horizon Sanctuary, precedes the swearing-in of President Obama.
So here we are, not a month into 2013, and it looks like it will be a remarkable year. I can't wait to see what happens next.