Clearly a 21st century business leader and community advocate, Carmen Muñoz is the 15th child in a family of 16 children born and raised in Detroit’s Hispanic community. Ms. Muñoz’s father, a Mexican immigrant, published La Chispa, the first Spanish language newspaper in Detroit. Early in life, Ms. Muñoz and her siblings helped their father print and distribute the newspaper and were involved in community affairs, introducing the children to the world of work and community leadership.
Ms. Muñoz’s first business was founded on 25 years experience in the precision machine manufacturing industry and the courage to venture out on her own. After buying out her partners, Ms. Muñoz’s company continued to excel by earning numerous prestigious supplier quality awards from Ford Motor Company and General Motors. Through her own business, her many board positions and her current responsibilities at Focus Hope Enterprise, she has opened doors for many minority business owners, particularly women.
Since 1996, she has taken her wealth of business and community leadership experiences and focused her energies on making a difference and opening up more opportunities for the disadvantaged and minority youth. When other women are ready for retirement, Ms. Muñoz’s passion and concern for minority equity has kept her working. Employed for a time with the Michigan Minority Business Development Council, she has helped countless other business owners and co-workers hone their entrepreneurial skills while building solid business practices. She is a lifelong-community advocate and mentor to emerging business leaders; she continues to help others to see the value of their work ethic, education, and training. She is still a proponent of the very values her father taught her as a child.
Ms. Muñoz received Crain’s Detroit Business One, named one of the top 10 businesswomen in Michigan; named Business Woman of the Year, U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce - Region IV; awarded The Michigan Minority Business Development Council Minority Advocate of the Year; received the Detroit Hispanic Development Corporation’s Dream Makers Award; and is a four-time winner of General Motors’ Supplier of the Year Award.
Charles Timothy Haffey (d. 2012) demonstrated steadfast commitment to social equality and equalizing the economic playing field throughout his life. Haffey spent the entirety of his professional career at the well-established international research and pharmaceutical company Pfizer Inc. His years of dedicated service led to the distinguished position of Vice President of Corporate Purchasing for the corporation. Haffeyâ€™s sense of dutiful obligations to others was apparent with the impact he made in Pfizer's private-sector supplier practice while in this position, advocating for diversity in the company's supply base.
In 1979, the leadership of the National Minority Business Council (NMBC) noticed Haffey's fortitude. The NMBC, still in its adolescence, had been chartered in 1972 to expand business and educational opportunities for minority entrepreneurs, and its council leaders were seeking a means to transform the corporation into a "full-time" entity. The NMBC approached Haffey for his guidance. Haffey promoted the value of the NMBC to the executives of Pfizer, securing the organization a donated office space within Pfizer to serve as the institution's first real home.
Following Haffey's retirement from Pfizer in 1984 he became an instrumental figure for the NMBC, enlisting his time as the NMBC's Corporate Executive Volunteer to relentlessly promote the growth of the organization and build corporate partnerships. Haffey "represents the type of courage and dedication, and the leadership and foresight for the causeâ€¦ way before his time," reflects NMBC President and CEO John F. Robinson.
Chief Philip Martin has a more than 45-year record of service and leadership in the Choctaw Nation tribal government, including serving from 1979 to 2007 as Tribal Chief of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, a federally-recognized American Indian tribe of 9,100 enrolled members living on or near 35,000 acres of reservation land in east central Mississippi. Miko Beasley Denson was sworn in July 10 as the third Chief of the Tribe since adoption of its modern Constitution to succeed Martin.
During his 28-year tenure as Chief, Martin made economic development a Choctaw Nation priority, leading a once impoverished constituency with an unemployment rate as high as 75 percent unemployment into a base for prosperous business activity that included auto-parts manufacturing, a casino and printing plant. Before Martin, the majority of Choctaw housing was designated as substandard, children largely stopped going to school at the 6th grade and life expectancy barely topped 50 years old.
The reservation became a key source of employment for Choctaws. More than 9,000 full-time jobs were created on the reservation under Martin - placing the Tribe in the unique position as the largest employer in east central Mississippi and among the three largest employers in the State. Martin advocated the reservation as an enterprise zone, drawing in financial resources and business incentives.
Under his watch, Martin created enterprises that produced goods for industry titans as diverse as General Motors, Ford, Chrysler and McDonnell-Douglas and AT&T, Xerox, Westinghouse and Navistar. One of the reservation's major auto plants opened in 1979 and assembled automotive wire harnesses for General Motors.
Martin also saw to it that the reservation would focus on self-sufficiency. It manages its own reservation government and operates elementary, middle and high school, as well as a hospital and community clinics and water, sewer and waste-disposal systems.
After graduating from Northwestern University, where he received a bachelor's degree in radio, TV and film in 1965, Mr. Jackson worked in the media and broadcast industries in sales at WBEE and WVON radio. He became the youngest and the first African American sales manager at WVON, the top radio station in the Chicago market at the time.
In 1970, Mr. Jackson founded Central City Marketing, Inc., a national television production, sales, and syndication company based in Chicago, IL. For over four decades the company has specialized in marketing, promotion, sales, and the production of media and television programs for African Americans.
Today, Central City Productions, Inc., is the full-service company that produces, syndicates, and manages advertising sales for all of the company's local and national television programs. Central City Productions' mission is to develop, produce, and market television programming which is designed to communicate positive, uplifting images of Black people all over the world.
Under his guidance and vision, CCP has launched many new and unique television programs to Black Americans nationwide. Many of these programs have more than 30 years of consecutive airing over local and national television.
Mr. Jackson is a former chairman of the board of the DuSable Museum of African American History. He has also previously served on the boards of Northwestern University, Junior Achievement of Chicago, Columbia College, Gateway Foundation and Chicago Transit Authority Board.
In addition, Mr. Jackson is the founder and a member of A.B.L.E. (Alliance of Business Leaders and Entrepreneurs), which is the first business organization bringing Black Leaders together in the business community to network, address business issues and provide a legacy for future African American entrepreneurs. He is the recipient of numerous awards for his business accomplishments and community involvement.
Mr. Jackson is married to Rosemary Jackson. The couple has two adult children and two grandsons, Donovan and Dain. Their daughter Rhonda is a graduate of Syracuse University, and their son Baba Dainja graduated from the University of Minnesota.
Don McKneely was engaged in the community newspaper business when he recognized a glaring need for a one-stop media source covering the entrepreneurial development occurring within all ethnic and underserved communities in America. Determined to be the editorial voice for these minority communities, McKneely launched the magazine Minority Business News USA (MBN USA) in 1988. At its founding, MBN USA was a solo venture with McKneely attending all of the minority business-related events, researching and composing stories, shooting photos, selling advertising, and distributing the magazine to vendors.
From the start, McKneely has stressed the mission of MBN USA to "always focus on relationships" and "articulate the value of minority business and diverse markets." This strategy opened up partnerships with business communities and corporations alike. A quarter of a century later, MBN USA is now "America's #1 magazine about minority business and supplier diversity," and has spawned the sister publications Women's Enterprise, Asian Business News and American Indian Business News.
McKneely's passionate belief in the power of leveraging astute partnerships to infuse diversity in suppliers for small, medium and large-scale businesses alike led him to co-found the non-profit Billion Dollar Roundtable (BDR). BDR unites large corporations who spend a minimum of a billion dollars per year with minority suppliers, and aspires to inform on the best strategies to create sustainable partnerships between minority-owned businesses and the rest of corporate America.