Susan Taylor, the Editor-in-Chief Emeritus of Essence magazine, received the Dr. Dorothy Height Lifetime Achievement Award for her work as part of the 4th annual Congressional Minority Business Awards ceremony held this week in the District.
Taylor comes from a long line of entrepreneurs. Her father Lawrence opened a women’s clothing store in east Harlem, which she worked at when she was a young woman. In 2006, she founded the National CARES Mentoring Movement to encourage the guidance of African-American youth.
“I want our young people to discover the genius within themselves,” she said. “My generation dropped the baton, and that’s why the National CARES Mentoring Movement is my passion that I don’t take a salary and that I work at seven days a week with joy. I made a lot of money speaking and writing books and working at Essence for over 37 years. Today, I have no income and I’m happier than I’ve ever been, because I am really fulfilling a need.”
She was among 11 minority entrepreneurs and leaders were honored by the Mountaintop Marketing Group on Wednesday at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel. This year’s theme was “Game Changers.”
Others honored included Gloria Parker, the CEO and senior partner of Parker Consulting Group and Jacqueline S. Beauchamp, the CEO of Nerjyzed Entertainment, Inc. a privately held interactive digital media development and publishing company in Baton Rouge, La.
Parker’s consulting firm provides IT solutions and management consulting services to federal agencies and corporations. In 1998, she became the first CIO of the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The Mountaintop Marketing Group honored Parker with the Trailblazer award.
“It’s very exciting in a way to know that I have blazed a trail for others to follow, but in another way it inspires me to ensure that other women, black women in particular come behind me,” she said. “When you blaze that trail for others you expect others to be on the trail.”
Of all of her achievements Parker says she is most proud of building the CIO position at the Department of Housing and Urban Development from scratch in addition to watching people she has mentored do well in their perspective fields. Parker said she hopes young people will see her as an example that they can achieve whatever they want to achieve.
Bridget-Anne Hampden attended the event in support of her friend, Parker. Hampden said Parker is a true trailblazer, who has found the energy to mentor so many people and motivate others in the business community.
“We have—first of all—an opportunity to control our future,” said Hampden, Deputy chief information officer for the United States Department of Education. “We have always been entrepreneurs. It’s a part of our DNA and I don’t think enough of us take that plunge. The rewards are so great if you do this, but you have to ready for the sacrifices.”