Brian Lamb Named One of the Top 100 Most Influential Blacks in Corporate America

Brian Lamb, executive vice president, head of wealth and asset management, Fifth Third Bank (NASDAQ: FITB), has been named to Savoy Magazine’s 2018 list of the Top 100 Most Influential Blacks in Corporate America.

“I am excited to see Brian recognized with this well-deserved honor. Brian is an inspirational leader with both strong character and outstanding business results,” said Greg Carmichael, chairman, president and CEO, Fifth Third. “His career exemplifies the Fifth Third Bank values and he is a role model for so many people in our organization.”

Lamb is responsible for line-of-business oversight of wealth and asset management, including private banking, Fifth Third securities, fiduciary services, investments, institutional services, and insurance.

“I am proud to be part of such a distinguished group of respected and accomplished business and community leaders from across the country,” Lamb said. “This list represents 100 great examples of individuals who are both successful in corporate America and who are making a positive difference in their respective communities,” he said.

Lamb previously served as chief corporate responsibility and reputation officer, where he led the comprehensive strategic framework of the Bank’s civic commitments and reputation management, including the execution of the Bank’s five-year, $30 billion community commitment. Prior to that role, he served as regional president of Fifth Third Bank (North Florida), where he was responsible for the growth and strategic alignment of the commercial, wealth and asset management and consumer businesses.

In addition to his duties as the head of wealth and asset management, Lamb also serves as chairman for the University of South Florida board of trustees. Previously, he was a member of the Florida Council of 100 Board of Directors and the United Way Suncoast Campaign Cabinet. He also served as chairman of the audit committee for the Enterprise Florida Board of Directors and chairman of the Tampa Bay Partnership. He also serves as a board member of the Urban League of Southwestern Ohio.

To view the 2018 Savoy Magazine’s Top 100 Influential Blacks in Corporate America list, visit:

Restauranteur Leah Abraham Shares her Recipe of Success of Hiring Locally and Giving Back

The second Quick Chat video in the three-part series Hidden Talent, sponsored by Walmart, highlights Restaurant Owner Leah Abraham as she shares how hiring locally in Harlem has helped her business grow from humble roots to an in-demand hotspot.

Through her dedication to her community and the desire to contribute to Harlem’s transformation into the bustling city it is today, Leah shares the methodology behind operating a successful restaurant, bakery and catering business, Settepani; which she regards as a true extension of her family. By hiring locally and empowering her staff to be leaders, Leah has raised the bar on how African-American women are shaping the future in business while giving back to their communities.

In the Business Sanctuary, Leah takes you through the journey of building a successful brand in the heart of Harlem, what that means to the community and how it’s helped her bottom line.

Register & Watch: 

Entrepreneur and Tax Expert Meisa Bonelli Shares Four Important Questions Women and Minority Business Owners Should Ask Financial Professionals

Millennial Tax Founder Meisa Bonelli sees incredible opportunity for women and black-owned businesses to become an even greater force in today’s economy — provided these business owners have the best, most qualified professionals in their corner.

“Women and black-owned businesses face a pair of major deficits: lack of capital access and an absence of experienced, savvy financial professionals,” explains Bonelli. “No matter how great the concept, any business needs both factors in place to succeed.”

Economic uncertainty affects women at a higher rate than men, and women who own their own businesses are not exempt. Women have a tougher time saving for retirement, and women and minorities are frequently a blind spot for high-powered financial professionals.

On the other hand, women-owned businesses generate over $1.6 trillion annually, a number that’s continuing to grow. Bonelli believes that growth curve could be even sharper if owners know the right questions to ask their current (or prospective) financial professionals. In a feature report on, she suggests the following questions to get a healthy and productive conversation started:

How many women or black-owned businesses does the financial professional work with regularly?

Unique obstacles require a unique, hands-on understanding that can only be achieved through experience. The right financial professional will have demonstrated experience working with women and black-owned enterprises, as well as being proactive and protective of clients’ livelihoods.

What’s the income range of the financial professional’s clients?

The income range of a financial professional’s client base is a proxy for their skill and experience. Business owners with elite ambitions should select a professional who routinely consults with high net worth clients and profitable, growing enterprises.

Among the financial professional’s women-owned business clients, how many are caregivers, single mothers or divorcees?

Women are more likely to be raising children alone or serving as primary caregiver for a disabled or ill loved one. They’re also more adversely affected financially following a divorce. Women-owned businesses therefore benefit from a financial professional who understands the demands on their time and energy reserves.

How often does the financial professional help prepare documents related to loans and other capital-raising efforts?

For black-owned enterprises, the value of the business, its long-term potential and its need for capital to reach that potential can be difficult to communicate to investors and loan officers. Expertly prepared documents can help bridge the gap. Therefore, it’s important that a financial professional have ample experience in the nuances of document preparation for black-owned businesses.

National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering (NACME) announces Michele Lezama as President & CEO

Michele served as the CEO and executive director of The National GEM Consortium (GEM). GEM is dedicated to increasing the number of underrepresented individuals who pursue and receive a masters or PhD in engineering, computer science and other applied science fields. During her tenure at GEM, she strategically positioned the consortium for advancement by moving its headquarters from its 30-year home in Indiana to the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.

Prior to GEM, Michele served as executive director of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE). NSBE’s mission is to increase the number of culturally responsible black engineers who excel academically, succeed professionally and positively impact the community. She is credited for turning around the organization’s financial position, tripling the organization’s capital position and creating a long-term investment structure. Under her leadership, NSBE received a Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring awarded by the White House Office of Science and Technology.

“NACME is delighted to have Michele join the organization as president and CEO,” said Ray Dempsey, NACME board chairman. “Her transformational leadership style, and history of dedication and support of access to education for underrepresented minorities, is a great fit for NACME.”

Michele earned her B.S. in Industrial Engineering at Northeastern University, and both her M.S. in Industrial Engineering and MBA in Finance and Accounting from Columbia University.

“I am honored and humbled to have been selected as NACME’s President and CEO,” Lezama said. “As a proud NACME Scholar Alum, I am excited to work with the NACME team to dramatically increase the number of high performing students who gain access to our nation’s most rigorous engineering and computer science undergraduate programs, to deliver exceptional outcomes for our university and corporate partners and to actively showcase the opportunities and successes of our nation’s diverse STEM community.”

The National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering supports high-performing African American, American Indian, and Latino engineering and computer science students, from college-to-career. NACME is nurturing the next generation of diverse leaders.

Interview: Wess Walters Helps Entrepreneurs With their Digital Presence

Wess Walters is what some would call a 21st Century Digital Guru. From videography, digital production, social media and webinars, he has embraced the digital space with open arms. Wess started his company because he saw that there was a need to not just create remarkable videos for his clients’ product or services, but also a need to promote the product or service using Social Media. He has 3 fulltime employees and 10 permalancers and has worked extensively in corporate and academia environments in addition to B2B and B2C. Wess holds a MBA from American Intercontinental University. We caught up with him during his busy schedule to get some insight on his business and endeavors. Here is what he had to say?


What’s your name? My name is Wess Walters

Tell us a little about yourself. I started my first business in my sophomore year in undergrad selling used computers to my coworker.  These were in no way up to date systems; they were old and outdated in everyway shape and form. This experience taught me 2 lessons. The first was in sales. It taught me that if you curate the correct message to the correct target audience you can sell them anything. Second was the importance of the know/trust/like factor.  Like I said these computers were not new and for the most part at the time one could easily go to one of the big retailers and purchase a new computer for around the same price. But I was selling the computers and my co-workers who knew me, trusted me, liked me and ultimately they bought the product. I’m a product of the Atlanta University Center where I obtained a BA in Mass Media Arts and later I received my MBA with a concentration in Project Management from American Intercontinental University.wess walters

What’s the name of your business? The name of my business is Marketing


Where did the name come from? I came up with the name because of what I wanted the company to represent for my clients. The word Massive means, enormous, mighty, colossal, so I wanted to incorporate those adjectives in the name, letting someone know simply by looking at the name that it was a marketing company that would expand their brand and make it larger than it currently is.


What is your business background? I’ve been an entrepreneur for over 10 years.  I started out doing wedding videos, then music videos, and then graduated to corporate video and now I do animated explainer videos.


What led you to get into the business world? Well entrepreneurship was is in my blood. It was inevitable.   My dad has always been an entrepreneur and some of my aunts have always been entrepreneurs. Even my grand parents owned a bodega where I would work for summer as a young lad.


Why did you start this business? My current business evolved. Like I said I do a lot of corporate video pieces so as a forward thinker, 4 years ago I saw that the landscape of video marketing was changing.  Animation was the next big thing.  So I jumped on the wave on a quest to provide high quality explainer videos to all businesses.  What makes animation so popular and compelling is because it speaks to the inner child in all of us.


What would you say is the most difficult part of running your own business? I think the most difficult part of running a business is managing the paper work!


What sets you apart from everyone else? What sets Marketing Massive aside from other businesses that do similar work is that we create the video and also offer our clients ways to cross-pollinate it across all their existing social media platforms.  Most video marketing companies produce the videos and that’s it.  Most social media management companies don’t do videos.  Marketing Massive does both.


Who could benefit most from your business?  All businesses that are in the process of rebranding, launching a new product, revamping an existing product or interested in using the power of video in a drip marketing campaign can benefit from our services.


What are your overall goals? My overall goal for the business is to serve.  There are a lot of entrepreneurs and businesses that have great products or services that people simply don’t know about.  Our goal is to get their brand in front of as many prospects as possible. My personal goal is to leave a legacy of financial independence to my children and to instill the importance of being self-sufficient.


What are the company’s plans over the next year? Marketing Massive’s goal over the next year is to continue to collaborate with other marketing firms that don’t provide video and be the video marketing arm for them and their end clients


How can people find you on social media? By design I am @wesswalters on all social media platforms and my business is @Mktg_Massive on twitter.


Anything you want to mention that we didn’t cover? Yes, I’ve been doing a lot of research on Customer Service and ways to enhance the Customer Experience (CX) and will be releasing a book on the subject next year. 

Interview conducted by Black and in Business Staff Writer

Interview: Hair Products Manufacturer Starts Black Chamber of Commerce in Georgia

Sabrina Newby is no stranger to business. She is the owner of BouGie Natural®Salons and the maker of BouGie Natural® Hair Products. So it’s no surprise that she was led to form the Liberty County Minority Chamber of Commerce located in Hinesville, GA. She took some time out of her busy schedule to discuss this new endeavor and some of her ongoing aspirations.

What is your business background?
I first started TotalB.E.E LLC (Total Beauty Exuding Empowerment) in 2007 while working for the D.O.D. Then in 2009, I started BouGie Natural Salons and Hair Product Line. Our salons and product line is quite popular and successful. I attribute much of my business savvy to studying and researching business structuring.

hinesville chamber

What lead you to get into the business world?
I’ve always been fascinated by the likes of Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Mary Kate Ash, John Paul Jones DeJoria and a few others. I’ve studied their stories for years (and still do) Then, in 2007, I decided it was time for me to step out on my own. I launched TotalB.E.E (Total Beauty Exuding Empowerment) I wanted to empower women. From there I started networking and hosting events for Black business owners in and around Liberty County. We would meet twice monthly at my store. Our networking mixers were quite popular, but as it grew so did my business, which caused me to relocate. I was focused on growing BouGie Natural, but my intent was to revisit our mixers and build on them. Which I did.

Why did you start the Chamber?
From hosting business events where we would network with one another and build business relationships, I was inspired to start a Minority Chamber of Commerce. I identified a need for it. It took some time, but we got it underway. After seeing other cities start their chamber I was compelled to bring a chamber here to Liberty County Georgia.hinesville chamber2

What are the goals of the chamber?
The goals of the Liberty County Minority Chamber, is to assure that our members benefit through services that not only sustain their revenue but increase their revenue. We are committed to the idea of each one teach one.

What are the chamber’s plans over the next year?
Implementing new programs for minority owned business.
Helping new minority owned business develop and increase their knowledge by offering free classes.
Growing our membership and to add to the economic development within Liberty County

Are there any upcoming events for the chamber?
We will offer classes and our monthly networking events. We have upcoming programs such as:
Biz Kidz – A program that teaches business structuring to our youth in a very fun way.
Mind, Body & Spirit – A program that promotes health and wellness to our Members.
Culture Clash – This is an opportunity to showcase your artistry while supporting other artists. Just to name a few.

How can people find you?sabrina newby
People can find us on our website:

Interview conducted by Black and in Business Staff Writer.