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5 Black Corporate Business Leaders to Watch in 2021 Thumbnail

5 Black Corporate Business Leaders to Watch in 2021


While you won’t see them regularly on the news or shared on social media, that doesn’t mean these individuals aren’t influencing the world in their own way. Below, we’ve identified five Black businessmen and businesswomen who are making big moves in the financial space and corporate world. From a dedicated LGBTQ+ activist to the founder of an app you’ve likely used, here are our top five Black business leaders to keep an eye on in 2021 and beyond.

Leader #1: Morgan DeBaun

Morgan DeBaun is the current CEO and co-founder of Blavity. Blavity is a website designed for people of color, producing content covering advice, political discussions, protests and more.

DeBaun has been recognized by Forbes 30 Under 30 as a young person transforming the future of media. She’s also been featured as one of the 100 Most Influential African Americans by the Root 100 and one of MVMT50’s Top 10 Innovators of the Year. Her impact on culture is only becoming more evident as she’s recently launched EmpowerHer, a conference by Blavity for women of color.

Leader #2: Rosalind “Roz” Brewer

As the new CEO of Walgreens and Boots Alliance, Roz Brewer recently became the only Black woman currently serving as CEO to a Fortune 500 company - and the third in history to do so. This isn’t her first time playing a vital role in a big company, as she has previously served as the COO of Starbucks and CEO of Sam’s Club.

Leader #3: Tope Awotona

Tope Awotona is the founder and CEO of one of the world’s most popular scheduling apps, Calendly. Founding the company in 2013, Awotona built Calendly into the well-known platform it is today. Currently, Calendly is valued at over $3 billion with about 10 million users each month.1  

Awotona’s success didn’t happen overnight. In fact, he tried and failed to launch three other start-ups before putting his full attention into Calendly. His hard work and dedication have clearly paid off, and he is an inspirational entrepreneur to keep an eye on in the coming years.

Leader #4: Dr. Yvette Burton

Dr. Yvette Burton is a learning solutions architect and innovative strategist currently working at NYU. In her previous position as the Academic Director for the Master of Science in Human Capital Management Program at Columbia University’s School of Professional Studies, Dr. Burton received the Hamdan bin Mohammed Award for Innovation in Project Management (HBMAIPM). In addition, Dr. Burton is an activist for the LGBTQ+ community and has previously served as interim CEO of the Arcus Foundation, an organization focused on social justice.

Throughout her career, Dr. Burton has focused on helping to transform institutions and minimizing the skills gap that is growing within our country. Dr. Burton has expressed her beliefs that human capital management will become a competency for global business functions and leadership teams.

Leader #5: Tristan Walker

After garnering attention as the Head of Business Development at Foursquare, Tristan Walker has gone on to establish his own business, Walker & Company. The BIPOC-focused hair and beauty company has a mission to not only make health and beauty simple for everyone, but also inspire consumers.

Walker has been recognized by both Fortune Magazine and Advertising Age as one of the 40 Under 40 Influential People, and as one of Black Enterprises’ 40 Next. Among his success, Walker is working to bring more diverse individuals into the business world through non-profits and conferences.

While this may be your first time hearing about these individuals, it’s possible you’ve already been impacted by their presence in some way. Keep an eye on where these leaders go as they pave the way for others in the corporate space and beyond.

  1. https://www.theatlantavoice.com/articles/atlanta-based-calendly-valued-at-3-billion-following-350-million-round-of-investment/#:~:text=Calendly%2C%20an%20Atlanta%2Dbased%20provider,at%20more%20than%20%243%20billion.

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