President and CEO • Virtcom Consulting • New York City • Age: 37
From planning the next world diversity summit to service in his community, Douglas C. Freeman, chairman, president and CEO of Virtcom Consulting, is a man on the move. Working on a project with Visa International, he realized that companies could help to improve the communities they serve through diversity and impact the bottom-line. “Diversity offers the opportunity to leverage differences for both performance improvement and the betterment of society,” Freeman notes. He launched Virtcom in 2000 to help facilitate corporate diversity efforts. The firm has a staff of 12, and an office in London, England. “The inspiration [for Virtcom] was that I had the opportunity to work with multinational or international companies to achieve both my goals: to include those who have been excluded from opportunities in the workforce and the supply chain and to help companies derive greater value from diversity,” says Freeman, who serves on the advisory boards of government and private institutions.
Born in Dallas, Texas, and raised in Detroit and on the West Coast of Canada, Freeman is an only child. His father, Paul, is chief conductor for the Czech National Symphony in Prague, Czechoslovakia, and his mother, Cornelia, is a retired schoolteacher and the “rock” who sacrificed part of her career to raise him. He and his wife, Connie, are expcting their first child. His father influenced his decision to join the advisory board of the Chicago Sinfonetta Orchestra, where he “can encourage minorities to become classical musicians and to embark on [classical] music careers,” Freeman says.
Freeman earned a bachelor’s degree at the University of California, at Berkeley, and a master’s in public policy at Harvard University’s JFK School of Government. One of his favorite quotes, “A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives,” comes from African-American baseball hall-of-famer Jackie Robinson. The words remind him “to have a positive impact on everyone I come in contact with,” Freeman says.