Screen Shot 2015-06-13 at 1.50.19 PMIn early June, 2015, just under 50 black executives – myself included – were inducted into the Executive Leadership Council, the pre-eminent membership organization committed to increasing the number of global black executives in C-Suites, on corporate boards and in global enterprises. I had been anxiously awaiting this milestone, not quite sure what to expect, but generally anticipating great things.

The ELC’s first internationally-held member meeting took place in Toronto, Ontario, Canada at the beautiful Shangri-La Hotel in Toronto’s Financial District. With an open mind and heart, I looked forward to meeting like-minded professionals, identifying opportunities to contribute to this prestigious organization, and understanding its strategic imperatives more intimately.

The event itself exceeded my highest hopes, as did the depth of talent, experience, and insight other existing and new members bring to the ELC’s member value proposition.

Because leadership is my passion and purpose, I aim to share opportunities that can prepare emerging leaders to heighten their contributions and advance their careers. In this spirit, I strongly suggest exploring two events, each with the potential to accelerate your path toward your own professional high ground. Participation in the following activities ensures not only quality curriculum, but also meaningful interaction with the most successful black executives in the world.

The Executive Leadership Council’s Institute for Leadership Development & Research, the training and development arm of the ELC, helps strengthen the talent pipeline of black leaders, providing first class leadership development programs that enhance individual growth and catapult executives into key leadership roles. Their mission is to deliver leadership training by building a comprehensive curriculum of stair-step programs targeted for professionals at different levels in their career.

The first event to consider is the Institute’s Leadership Development Week, which highlights four programs running concurrently: Strengthening the Pipeline, Bright Futures, Strategic Pathways and Navigating the Corporate Landscape. This platform capitalizes on the continued development, networking opportunities, and mentoring of the many talented black leaders that are thriving, and succeeding in this increasingly competitive global business environment.

The Mid-Level Managers’ Symposium (MLMS) is a two-day professional development seminar for aspiring managers and executives to learn and network in professional safe settings. Nearly 800 participants interact with leading business and education experts who offer candid insights about their leadership journeys, with the goal of helping attendees achieve greater levels of success and recognition in their careers. The symposium will connect participants with tools and insights across and within function and tenure.

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The 21st anniversary session of MLMS breaks new ground and builds on the legacy of ELC, its members and programs to provide participants with the tools needed to break through and ignite their careers and global contributions. Working alongside fellow participants and ELC’s inspiring members you will develop insight and build competencies to increase your effectiveness as a manager of teams and an individual contributor.

Pass this information along to your corporate leadership, and ask if they’d be willing to support your involvement.

Having observed the MLMS in 2014, I can confidently say you will be hard-pressed to find a more enriching and inspiring group of leaders with which and from whom to learn.

Because I always wish you the very best, I hope you will take time to learn more about the ELC and the programs it provides black leaders in service of its mission. We can do more, but only if we invest in ourselves, and others invest in us, too!

Yours in Advancing Your Professional Purpose,

Tara Jaye

Tara Jaye Frank is VP of Multicultural Strategy for Hallmark Cards, Inc. and the author of Say Yes: A Woman’s Guide to Advancing Her Professional Purpose, written to help women from all cultural backgrounds chart a career course they can believe in and achieve. Follow her on Twitter @tarajfrank, or visit her website at

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