BET Networks Chair and CEO Debra L. Lee is joining President Barack Obama's management advisory board designed to improve the relationships and interactions between private business and federal government.
In bringing Lee to the board that will have its first meeting at the White House on Friday, the president has tapped a savvy and well-respected business leader who has been able to expand her reach beyond the world of black business to represent some of the world's largest corporations.
Earlier this week, Eastman Kodak announced that Lee, a South Carolina native, wouldn't stand for re-election to her seat on the company's board of directors where she served for 12 years. Lee will continue to serve as an Eastman Kodak director until May.
Lee, 55, also serves as a director for Marriott International, Inc., Revlon, Inc., and WGL Holdings, Inc.
Word that Lee was being selected for the president's advisory board took me a little by surprise. My first thought was why isn't she on the board already.
Few people in American business, black or white, have the access to the people who make our economy run like Debra Lee.
In a recent interview I conducted with Lee on the paucity of blacks serving on corporate boards of directors, she advocated programs like the Urban League's Director Inclusion Initiative, which trains and provides certification for black entrepreneurs interested in serving on corporate boards.
Forward-thinking approaches like those suggested by Lee are exactly what President Obama needs to hear if he is going to pull this nation from its economic slumber.
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