One of the perennial treats during Harlem Week–that seems to grow exponentially each year–is Economic Development Day, which is held at Columbia University and is basically sponsored by the Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce.?
A highlight of the festivities that include the presence of major businesses and their tables is the luncheon, and on Tuesday the event was further distinguished by three honorees?Wendy Lewis, Senior Vice President of Diversity & Strategic Alliances, Major League Baseball; Paula Madison, Chairman and CEO of Madison Media Management, LLC; and Michele Roberts, Executive Director of the National Basketball Players Association.
Under Lewis?s leadership, a greater number of diverse businesses have prospered, Lloyd Williams, President and CEO of the GHCC, noted as he cited bits of her impressive resume.? ?Since its formation,? Williams said of the diversity unit, ?more than $1 billion has been spent with thousands of minority and women-owned businesses.?
Madison, whose media company is based in Los Angeles, regaled the crowd with memories of coming of age in New York City, overcoming poverty and racism.? ?She has been breaking all kinds of ceilings,? said New York Assemblyman Keith Wright, who represents Harlem.? Moderator Cheryl Wills, a broadcaster at NY1 television said that Madison was her role model, and ?I wouldn?t be where I am today without her.?
Among the glass shattering experiences was her 22 years with NBCU.? Currently, she is busy promoting ?Finding Samuel Lowe: From Harlem to China,? a documentary that chronicles her journey to her maternal grandfather?s homeland in China.? HarperCollins has also published Madison?s memoir about that experience.
Before she took charge of the NBA?s Players Association, Roberts was a renowned trial lawyer with countless successful cases in state and federal courtrooms.? Washingtonian Magazine deemed her one of ?the finest pure trial lawyers in Washington, D.C.? For her outstanding counseling of clients she was the recipient of the Business Trial Lawyer of the Year at the 2011 Chambers USA Awards of Excellence.
On Sunday, August 16, during Harlem Day, more awards and honors will be extended under the name of the late Basil Paterson, whose sons David and Daniel were in attendance at the luncheon.? The second annual award this year will be presented to the family of Malcolm X.? ?I will be there with Malcolm?s daughters,? said attorney Londell McMillan, who represents them.