TMCF And Hennessy Unveil Fifth Cohort Of Black Students To Help Prepare Them For Executive Roles

Here is an eye-popping statistic: Though Blacks make up 14% of all U.S. employees; that workforce at the managerial level is at 7%.

TMCF And Hennessy Unveil Fifth Cohort Of Black Students To Help Prepare Them For Executive Roles

Ten HBCU students have been chosen for the fifth cohort of the Hennessy Fellows Program, an initiative between the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) and giant cognac producer Hennessey.

The program provides backing that includes financial aid, training, and professional development to help students become the next generation of Black leaders. It too is aimed to help build and diversify executive leadership roles in corporate America. The 10-year program is being financed by an approximate $14 million commitment from Hennessy to TMCF.

The effort comes as pressure is increasing on large U.S. companies to boost Black representation in  executive and boardroom roles. While Blacks make up 14% of all U.S. employees, that workforce at the managerial level is only 7%, according to McKinsey.

For vice president and senior vice president roles, the figures fall to 5% and 4%.

Further, some of the nation’s most powerful and prosperous companies have vowed to hire Black talent and boost minority representation in the C-suite as part of their racial equity efforts. Observers contend that Black institutions like HBCUs can offer a talent pool.

The Hennessy Fellows Program is geared to help address diversity gaps and build a more diverse workforce. Cohort participants this year come from several historically black colleges and universities, including Morgan State University, Howard University, Clark Atlanta University, and Florida A&M University.

So far, some 30 Black students have completed the program since it started in 2019. Many now work for large companies, including Warner, AbbVie, Accenture, and John Deere

Based on a new release, the fellows spent a weekend in Charlotte to launch the latest cohort, where they participated in leadership, communication, and media relations workshops over three days. They will  be in New York City later this year for an executive boot camp that will focus on competency areas like executive presence, finance, and operations among the offerings.

The fellows were chosen after a comprehensive application process. Each fellow will get executive coaching, a scholarship of up to $20,000 per academic year, and a $10,000 annual stipend for other educational costs. They can pitch for a community-related project grant up to $10,000, as well get access to online training and networking events.

Jasmin Allen, senior vice president of Hennessy U.S., said, “By providing them with the necessary resources, investment, and development opportunities that can help them reach their goals, we continue to ensure HBCU students are positioned for success during their undergraduate years and beyond.”

“We are proud to announce this next cohort of Black student leaders who will define and disrupt Corporate America,” said Harry L. Williams, president and CEO at TMCF. “Each presents a unique set of leadership and communication skills that positioned them as top candidates for the Hennessy Fellows program.”

The 2023 Hennessy Fellows are:

  • Tia Pope – North Carolina A&T State University; Ph. D, Information Technology
  • William Gaspard, Jr. – Southern University Law Center; JD Candidate
  • Morgan Newton – Morgan State University; MBA Candidate
  • Hannah Bruns – Howard University School of Law; JD Candidate
  • Erika Tribble – Howard University; MBA Candidate
  • Giordan Rose – Savannah State University; MBA Candidate
  • Latia Boney – Howard University; MBA Candidate
  • Brandon Moise – Clark Atlanta University; MBA Candidate
  • Karmyn Tatum – Florida A&M University; MBA Candidate
  • Cierra Robinson – Morgan State University; Ph. D, Higher Education Administration

Go here to learn more about the program.