AS PREPARED FOR DELIVERY
Minority Enterprise Development Week Conference
Thursday, December 6, 2012
Introduction of Mr. John Rogers, Jr. MBDA National Director Special Recognition
One of the fringe benefits I have as National Director of the Minority Business Development Agency is meeting and working with a lot of talented people. Our 2012 MED Week award winners is one such group of people . . . and they represent a much larger circle of Americans who are dedicated to their business, profession, family and community.
Please, let’s give them all another round of applause. Before we conclude our awards program, I want to pay special recognition to John Rogers, Chairman, CEO and Chief Investment Officer of Ariel Investments. John’s passion for investing started when he was 12 years old when his father bought him stocks, instead of toys, for every birthday and Christmas. His interest grew while majoring in economics at Princeton University and after graduating, he worked as a stockbroker for 2½ years at William Blair & Company, LLC.
In 1983, at the age of 24, John founded Ariel Investments to focus on undervalued small and medium-sized companies. Patience served as the cornerstone of a disciplined approach that still drives the firm today. Early in his career, John’s investment expertise brought him to the forefront of media attention. Today, he remains a highly sought financial expert that is regularly featured and quoted in a wide variety of broadcast and prints publications and is a contributing columnist to Forbes.
John’s success as a business leader is well known and documented as evidenced by the sustained growth of his company and his innumerable honors and awards. But that is not what this recognition is about.
Today we honor a man who quietly, yet forcefully acts behind the scenes to champion minority-owned businesses in the professional services industry. John has made his mark challenging the status quo and advocating for increased diversity in the procurement of professional services in both the private and public sectors. He saw first-hand that minority asset managers, financial advisors and equity firms were not being hired to manage funds by companies, state agencies and family firms. A talented pool of wealth creators with credentials to match the best of best were essentially being shut out—through no fault of their own.
That is why John has leveraged his success to raise awareness about the enormous capabilities of minority financial advisors and serve as a trusted advisor to new and growing firms. He is co-chairman of Jesse Jackson's annual Wall Street Project minority conference, chairman of the Chicago Urban League, and a board member of three Fortune 500 companies. He has been an advocate for greater diversity in upper-level corporate positions.
John’s activism has not only touched the business community but extends to civic and educational endeavors that have changed people’s lives for the better. Most notably, he adopted a class of 40 sixth graders at a cost of $200,000 per year through the "I Have A Dream Foundation." He’s expected to pay for college for about 30 of the students.
Please join me in paying tribute to Mr. John Rogers.
Luncheon Closing Remarks
WOW! What a morning! So jammed pack with ideas, recommendations, best practices, and business growth strategies. I hope you learned something new and found a new tool, resource or person to support you.
As I said in my opening remarks, the 30th anniversary of MED Week is special and we want to thank our past MBDA directors and loyal corporate sponsors for being here with us today.
One of the exciting things about MED Week is that over the course of 30 years, it has been adopted and replicated at the local level around the country.
Where at one time the federal government was the only proponent of recognizing minority entrepreneurs and fostering their growth; today, there are hundreds of public and private sector organizations collaborating to honor minority-owned firms and to guide them to success.
As we close this successful 30th Anniversary event, we can all take pride in the role MED Week has played in the progress of the minority-owned business sector.
Now, ladies and gentlemen, please join me and the MED Week sponsors at the Business Expo for the ribbon cutting ceremony.