Gerry Fernandez’s “aha” moment happened many years ago. He was an apprentice cook at the Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York City, and an unusual number of African-Americans came in for a dinner event. The chef was accustomed to cooking the filet mignon medium rare, but he was warned to prepare it medium well this time. It’s what his customers would expect, but the chef did not listen. He cooked some 400 steaks at medium rare. “Just like clockwork,” Fernandez said, “those steaks started to come back. That was my earliest lesson on being culturally intelligent. In early black...Read More
Author: Toni Lepeska
Ashlee Ammons scanned the room for colored dots. A 27-year-old former college cheerleader, radio disc jockey and sorority sister who’d been groomed for New York on a diet of Sex and the City episodes, she loved the city’s fast pace and fashion sense. She had organized events with Oprah Winfrey and Leonard DiCaprio in attendance. She was known as “Ashlee at TAO,” a reference to a big-deal luxury hospitality company. In five years, she’d gone from being an executive assistant for one of its owners, Noah Tepperberg, to director of events. Ammons was well-connected, but she felt she needed...Read More
Written by: Toni Lepeska | photography by: Barbara Potter School is in session at a former Best Buy in a nondescript strip mall in Antioch, Tenn., and not only is the whole community invited, but a history-making publication is in the works. Knowledge Academies relies on the premise that children learn better when family members, business leaders and community partners involve themselves hands-on in student education. KA is using all sorts of methods to encourage participation, such as health and career fairs and even enlisting a Jazz band to play at one of its monthly family meetings. “That opens the...Read More
Written by: Toni Lepeska | photography by: Eddie Arrossi Photography Terry Deas walked away from the National Hispanic Corporate Council’s annual summit this spring with the wonderful feeling that he’s been getting it right. A diversity strategist for 16 years, Deas was surrounded by like-minded representatives of Fortune 1000 companies at the Atlanta event, which centered on the sharing of best corporate practices in the capturing of the U.S. Hispanic consumer market. At about 57 million people, Hispanics represent almost 18 percent of the population, and in 2015, possessed $1.3 trillion of the buying power, larger than the GDP...Read More
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