Category: Business - Original Written by Donald James
Roland S. Martin, a nationally award-winning and multifaceted journalist, will be the keynote speaker when Ford-Employees African-Ancestry Network (FANN) hosts its 32nd Annual Black History Month celebration on Friday, Feb. 22, 2013. The event, “An Evening with Roland S. Martin,” will be held at the Adoba Hotel Dearborn (formerly the Hyatt Regency), 600 Town Center Drive in Dearborn. A VIP reception will be held from 4:45 p.m. to 5:45 p.m. The program begins at 6:00 p.m.
For more than seven years, Martin has been considered as one of the nation’s most influential journalists, known for his fresh perspective for the 21st Century. He is a commentator for TV One Cable Network and host and managing editor of “Washington Watch with Roland Martin.” He is also a CNN analyst and senior analyst for the Tom Joyner Morning Show. Over the years, Martin has received such honors as the NAACP Image Award and CNN’s Peabody Award. Ebony magazine has listed him numerous times as “One of the 150 Most Influential African-Americans in the United States.” Martin is the former executive editor and general manager of the historic Chicago Defender, one of America’s most storied African-American newspapers. He is also a former radio host for WVON-AM in Chicago.
“We are extremely honored to have Roland S. Martin as our keynote speaker for our Black History Month event, says Gwen Moore, chairperson for FAAN’s Black History Month Program, whose corporate title at Ford is IT governess and special projects manager. “It means a lot because it’s very important that as we look to celebrate Black History Month with our employees, dealers, suppliers, and the community, that we bring in relevant people that have had a significant impact on shaping the African-American experience. Certainly, Roland S. Martin is a person who has done that.”
In addition to FAAN welcoming Martin, the organization will present FAAN’s Heritage Award to Dr. Violet T. Lewis, founder of the historic Lewis College of Business. FAAN will also present its Community Service Award to Dr. Iris Taylor, president and CEO of Detroit Receiving Hospital, as well as to Armond R. Harris, Terrence J.L. Thompson, and Shawn T. Blanchard, all of whom operate Run This Town, a Detroit-based fitness organization.
Established in 1983, FAAN is Ford Motor Company’s first employee resource group. The group’s mission is to promote an environment within Ford Motor Company which recognizes the value of diversity and attracts, develops and retains African-Ancestry employees to the fulfillment of company objectives. In addition, FAAN continuously reaches out to sponsor and facilitate community initiatives.
Previous FAAN sponsored Black History Month celebrations have honored such individuals as Smokey Robinson (songwriter and Motown great), Spike Lee (award-winning filmmaker), Donna Brazile (political strategist, adjunct professor and syndicated columnist), Martin Luther King III (former president and CEO of the King Center), Soledad O’Brian (CNN journalist), Hill Harper (actor), and many other prominent African-Americans.
Traditionally, FAAN’s Black History Month events are attended by hundreds of Ford colleagues, as well as business, community, civic, and educational partners.
“I encourage everyone to come out and celebrate this Black History Month event with Ford-Employees African-Ancestry Network, says Moore. “It is going to be a fabulous affair for all.”
Last Updated on Friday, 22 February 2013 13:07
Category: Business - Original Written by Ellis Liddell
There is a theory on Wall Street that goes something like this: If you follow the crowd and buy the hot investment of the day, chances are you’ll be scooping up shares when most others are about to sell. This natural tendency to buy when everyone is euphoric can have you buying at the wrong time and not buying when you should.
Investors often jump into an investment at the wrong time because they are worried about what others are doing, instead of focusing on good old-fashioned fundamentals such as the company’s earning potential or its management.
History has continually shown us that when individuals make investments without the prudent basis for doing so, they often wind up losing money that can take many years to recover. We saw this in 1998-2000, when investors drove the Nasdaq composite over 5000 — only to see it fall to less than 2000 the following year.
History has also shown that when individuals avoid investments because the popular thinking is to steer clear of them, opportunities are often overlooked. We saw this in 1982, when interest rates were high and companies had a difficult time impressing analysts with their earning potential. That period proved to be the beginning of a bull market that lasted more than 15 yrs.
On October 19, 1987 the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 22% in one trading session, the worst trading day since October 1929. However, that day brought tremendous buying opportunity. Despite that decline to 1738 points, the Dow closed at 10,159 on March 31, 2001 — for an annualized growth rate of 13.97%.
At the end of 1994, a year in which stock and bond markets both struggled because of the higher interest rates, the common thinking was that 1995 was a bad year for the financial markets. If you took that advice, you would have missed out on one of the stock market’s best years.
In response to market downturns, some investors shift a greater percentage of their assets to money market funds. Time and time again, this strategy has proven to be a mistake.
Keep in mind that the stock market has experienced nearly twice as many bullish periods as bearish periods over time.
When times get tough for stocks, maintain your confidence in their long-term growth potential and use these simple strategies:
■ Reduce your cost by averaging down. If one of your stocks declines in value, but the underlying business is still sound, consider buying more shares. You will reduce your overall cost basis.
■ Stay diversified. Keep your assets spread among investments likely to perform differently under the same market conditions. Profits from appreciated investments will help offset losses from any losing investments.
■ Stay focused on your long-term goal. Don’t try to avoid the downturn by jumping out of the market. No one can accurately predict when it will rebound.
When considering investing, seek professional advice.
Ellis Liddell is president of ELE Wealth Management, LLC in Southfield, Michigan. He is also the author of “Wealth Management: Merging Faith with Finance.” He can be reached at (248) 356-6555 or through his website: www.elewealth.com.
Last Updated on Friday, 22 February 2013 13:14
Category: Business - Original Written by Damon Autry
Nailah Ellis (pronounced ni-E-luh) recalls as a youngster the reaction people had after tasting the homemade tea her father prepared during holidays or at family gatherings. Their animated glee was a dead giveaway that, indeed, the beverage was truly something special.
It began with Ellis’ great-grandfather, who was a master chef on Marcus Garvey’s Black Star Line shipping fleet. He developed the recipe for the tea and eventually passed it down to her father with the mandate that the recipe was to be sold and not told. In other words, take the recipe to market. Ellis’s father never got around to doing so, although he did share the formula with her. A series of unfortunate decisions landed him in prison, so Nailah, who always longed to be an entrepreneur, decided the family tea would be her entrée into establishing her own business.
The 25-year-old Detroit native started her endeavor, Ellis Island Tea, four years ago by brewing the tea in her kitchen — a process that took her hundreds of tries to perfect. Ellis’s venture hasn’t always been easy, but she points to the discussions with her mother as helping her discover the infinite possibilities of life in general, and her business in particular.
“My mother always told me to do whatever it takes to be successful,” Ellis said. “She told me to create lemonade out of lemons, to never take no for an answer and to create my own reality.”
It was recounting those pearls of wisdom from her mother that aided Ellis in molding her entrepreneurial mindset, particularly in light of what others initially thought about Ellis Island Tea. “People laughed at me,” she said. “They said, ‘you think you’re going to come out here and start a beverage company and compete with Pepsi and Coke?’ But I persevered, in spite of being told no at almost every turn when I was trying to get into stores. I used what my mother taught me and figured it out and found ways to get that ‘yes.’”
Part of Ellis figuring it out did, in fact, involve doing whatever it took to be successful, much like her mother insisted. Not having a particular roadmap to follow to attain entrepreneurial success, she simply used her gut instincts. When Whole Foods broke ground on its first store in Detroit, Nailah Ellis was there.
She met with and presented to several Whole Foods executives and convinced them to further demonstrate their desire to invest in the rebirth of Detroit by ensuring locally-made products are on their shelves. They agreed, and now Ellis Island Tea will soon be available in two local Whole Foods locations.
Ellis is even trying to penetrate into Whole Foods’ regional account, which could place Ellis Island Tea in 147 Whole Foods stores throughout the Midwest.
To accommodate her growing venture, Ellis will soon move her production operation into a 3,000 square foot warehouse in the city. “There are no beverage production facilities in Detroit, so that’s why it’s important that I bring it into the city,” she said.
You can find Ellis Island Tea in all Westborn Market locations, Soupdive in Southfield, Honeybee Market in Mexican Village, the Hudson Café downtown and the Mobil service station on Woodward and Forest.
Last Updated on Friday, 22 February 2013 09:15
Category: Business - Original Written by Donald James
Some people just dream of success, while others wake up and make it happen. Count Eric Hardy as the latter.
As president and CEO of w3r, Hardy oversees a progressive information technology consulting and staffing firm that provides infrastructure, integration and analytical services and support to a wide-spectrum of national businesses and industries. Since its inception in 1995, the Southfiel-based company has experienced a 400 percent growth rate over the last five years. With offices now in Chicago, Illinois; Columbus, Ohio; Dallas, Texas and Washington, D.C., w3r employs approximately 300 employees nationwide — and growing.
W3r’s “growth spurt” has not gone unnoticed. For the last six years, the company has been included in Inc. 5,000 “Fastest Growing Private Companies” in America. In 2012, Crain’s magazine listed w3r as one of the “Largest Minority Companies” in the country, ranking it No.21 with $25 million in sales. In addition, Ernst & Young, a “Big Four” accounting firm, also bestowed its coveted “Entrepreneur of the Year” award on the company in 2008 and 2009.
While it appears that w3r has always been successful in the eyes of the nation, Hardy, 39, remembers the early days of the company. “When my business partner, Patrick Tomina and I started the company in 1995, we were still in college at the University of Michigan-Dearborn (UM-D),” recalls Hardy. “We were basically running the company part-time, kind of like a hobby, and out the trunks of our cars. We later had office space that was given to us, while sharing an old building with another company on West Grand Blvd. in Detroit.”
On Tuesday, Feb. 19, amid a festive atmosphere that included Congressional, state, and local elected officials, business leaders, company staff, and other well-wishers, a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held to officially unveil the company’s new Southfield world headquarters. Located at 1000 Town Center, Suite 1150, the beautiful and spacious corporate office is the culmination for a company that’s been on the upward move for 18 years. “Our new world headquarters represent a sense of reality that dreams do come true,” says Hardy. “This company has been blessed to have such a hard working and incredible staff of individuals to help make this happen. The ribbon-cutting ceremony just validates that w3r is doing the right thing. It’s just a proud moment for the company.”
A Detroit native, Hardy says he knew as a youngster that he would one day become an engineer. After his family moved to Birmingham, Michigan, Hardy graduated from Birmingham Grove High School, where he excelled in math. With an ever-developing love for information, research and technology, Hardy attended UM-D, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. Barely 21 years old, he and 21-year-old Tomina partnered in 1995, before their UM-D graduation, to establish their technology consulting firm.
While w3r’s transition from car trunks to a Southfield skyscraper is a great story, the company continues to move forward to its next chapter. Under the visionary leadership of Hardy, Tomina (co-founder and CFO), Keith Echols (executive vice president), and several other company executives, w3r has amassed a bold, but attainable five-year plan that projects company revenues of $100 million.
While company growth is important to w3r, according to Hardy, it is also important that the company makes and keeps its commitments to this region. “For all of our awards, honors, and company achievements, what means a lot to us is being committed to help the community,” says Hardy, who also chairs the Michigan Black Chamber of Commerce. “Through various community and civic sponsorship programs and projects, w3r certainly believe that there is a role for us to play in giving back to help and empower others.”
Last Updated on Friday, 22 February 2013 13:29
Category: Business - Original Written by Cathy Nedd
The Michigan Chronicle and its parent company, Real Times Media, are expanding operations and moving into a 18,000 sq. ft. building located at 1452 Randolph in Harmonie Park. The building will house the new world headquarters for Real Times Media, which currently has offices in six states. Vacated by Dell Pryor Gallery five years ago, the property was recently purchased by Paradise Valley Real Estate Holdings, a group of African American investors who are committed to the revitalization of Detroit.
A historically designated site, the building will be returned to its original splendor. Once renovations are complete, the new address will be home to an in-house studio which will allow the company to continue its expansion into the production of original video content for its Web properties as well as for its sister publications under the Real Times Media umbrella.
“The Michigan Chronicle has been an integral part of the Detroit community for more than 75 years so it is only natural that we center our operations in the heart of the resurgence of Detroit,” said Hiram E. Jackson, CEO of Real Times Media and publisher of the Michigan Chronicle.
Real Times Media is aggressively expanding into the digital space and creating a greater online presence. With new brands like PraiseConnect.com and The Digital Daily, it will need the extra space to build an in-house studio with which to produce video content and to house a growing staff.
“The move to Paradise Valley marks a new chapter for the Michigan Chronicle,” said Jackson. “As we continue to evolve to fit the needs of new generations, we are expanding our focus to address the digital realities of today. Our move to Paradise Valley embodies this renewed spirit. Even today, the area harkens back to its roots as a bustling African American business and entertainment mecca and it’s exactly where our company needs to be.”
The building’s new owner, Paradise Valley Real Estate Holdings, draws its name from the area in which it is located, a historic district known as Paradise Valley which was Detroit’s bustling African American business and entertainment area from the 1930s to the 1950s.
Paradise Valley was a predominantly African American area in downtown Detroit known as a hotbed for entertainment and artistic activity with movie houses, and some of the first jazz clubs to come up in the north during late ’30s and ’40s. While it is not clear how the area came to be known as Paradise Valley, some have speculated that it drew its name form the newly introduced Asian “paradise” trees that grew throughout the area. A vibrant area, the neighborhood has been celebrated in musicals like Bea Buck’s “Paradise Valley Revisited” and “Masquerade Flashback,” and recalled in Elaine Wood’s book, “Untold tales, Unsung Heroes.”
Today’s Paradise Valley is surrounded by nearly a dozen performing arts venues and is within waking distance of the Fox Theatre, the State Theatre, the Detroit Opera House, Music Hall, the Gem & Century Club, Hockeytown, Ford Field, Comerica Park, and a number of restaurants, bars and pubs.
Real Times Media is a multimedia company that consists of Internet properties, newspapers, niche publishing, marketing services, archive licensing and premier events. With offices in Atlanta, Chicago, Columbus, Detroit, Memphis and Pittsburgh, Real Times is the leading provider of original print content for African American related news, entertainment and lifestyle information.
Dedicated to distributing top quality news, lifestyle information and entertainment relevant to the African American and urban markets, Real Times’ goal is to continually develop non-traditional media that complements its core business, build greater brand loyalty and cultivate new customers for its clients.
The Real Times Media family of companies includes the nation’s largest African-American owned and operated newspaper organizations: the Atlanta Daily World, Chicago Defender, Michigan Chronicle, Michigan FrontPage, Memphis Tri-State Defender and New Pittsburgh Courier.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 19 February 2013 13:40
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