Photo Credit: American Airlines (Newsroom)
Meet The 7 Leaders Bringing Black Excellence To American Airlines' New Community Council
In June, after demonstrations called for justice and systematic reform following the death of George Floyd, American Airlines announced a new initiative to gain insight on challenges facing the airline’s Black customers. It will be led by seven Black leaders who are members of American Airlines’ Community Council. On November 6, the airline announced the founding members of the newly-formed council ahead of their first meeting on November 10.
“We have gathered an insightful and dedicated group of community leaders who have committed their time and talents to help American [Airlines] on our journey to becoming a better place for everyone,” said Robert Isom, President of American Airlines and the Community Council’s executive sponsor. “We look forward to getting this started and to working together to more fully understand and mitigate challenges for our Black customers.”
Each member has committed to serving on the council for a minimum of two years. Morgan DeBaun, CEO and co-founder of Blavity, Inc. (the parent company of Travel Noire, Blavity News, AfroTech, Shadow & Act, and 21Ninety), has been announced as one of the founding council members.
Learn more about the seven community leaders below.
Karen Boykin-Towns, President and CEO, Encore Strategies, LLC
Karen Boykin-Towns has built a reputation as a visionary in complex business and government environments in the areas of policy, advocacy, communications and proactive change management. She was recently re-elected Vice Chairman of the NAACP Board of Directors and has leveraged her talent as a coalition-builder and social change agent through active roles on the boards of the Visiting Nurse Services of New York and Brewster Academy.
Ken Charles, Founder, Intentional Talent Advancement, LLC
In his most recent role as Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer at American, Ken Charles established the company’s Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion to ensure implementation of best practices across all aspects of American’s people and business processes. He currently leads a boutique diversity strategy consultancy. His former executive roles at U.S. Bank and General Mills included talent acquisition and management, learning and development and DEI.
Morgan DeBaun, CEO & Founder, Blavity Inc.
Since launching Blavity Inc. in 2014, Morgan has led the company to successfully acquire Travel Noire, a travel platform for Black millennials and Shadow And Act, a Black entertainment news site. Under her leadership, Blavity has launched several leading consumer summits including Summit 21 for Black women creators and the Bay Area’s AfroTech, the largest tech conference for Black innovators and founders.
Earl Graves Jr., President and CEO, Black Enterprise
Earl G. Graves Jr. (Butch) is President and CEO of Black Enterprise and has grown the magazine from a single-title publication into a robust multimedia company. He co-founded the Black Enterprise/Greenwich Street Corporate Growth Fund, a unique private equity firm that finances minority-owned or minority–managed businesses across various industries.
Jeff Johnson, CEO, JIJ Impact
Jeff Johnson is a community impact architect whose career has fused corporate America, entertainment and politics to leverage cultural change with integrity. He works to build competency and credibility, expand market-driven inclusion and equity, and maximize the voice of the client through thought leadership, strategy development and communications support.
Tyronne Stoudemire, Global Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Hyatt Hotels Corporation
Tyronne Stoudemire is nationally recognized for his executive experience in advancing diversity and inclusion by creating strategic networking opportunities for both individuals and organizations. He focuses on strong inside tracks and grassroots movements to troubleshoot and reengineer organizations underperforming in the diversity and inclusion space. He also serves as the Co-Chair of the Global Diversity Equity and Inclusion Counsel at Hyatt.
Caroline A. Wanga, Interim CEO, Essence Communications Inc.
Caroline A. Wanga serves as Interim CEO of ESSENCE, the No. 1 media, technology and commerce company dedicated to Black women and communities. For 50 years, ESSENCE has been relentlessly committed to serving its community deeply to inform, empower and inspire its global and multigenerational audience of 30+ million Black women. From ESSENCE magazine, ESSENCE Festival of Culture and the ESSENCE “Black Women In…” franchise to the ESSENCE Global Black Economic Forum, ESSENCE Wellness House and Fashion House, and ESSENCE Entrepreneurship Summit, the brand continues to innovate to provide its communities with the platforms, content and resources they need. She most recently served as the Chief Diversity, Inclusion and Culture Officer for the Target Corporation.