The Crusader Newspaper Group

We have Selected a New Chairman

Beyond the Rhetoric

By Harry C. Alford &

Kay DeBow

Our organization, National Black Chamber of Commerce (NBCC), has selected a new Chair.  Courtney Reynolds, who has done a splendid job at the helm, is stepping down and will take on her new duties as Committee Chair of the Women Empowerment Initiative. Taking the helm is founding member Larry Ivory, who resides in Peoria, Illinois. Larry and his wife, Janice, co-founded the Peoria Black Chamber of Commerce which later evolved into the Illinois State Black Chamber of Commerce. There are 23 chapters of this statewide chamber located throughout Illinois.

Here is the official press release:

“We are proud to announce the appointment of Larry Ivory as the new Chairman of the National Black Chamber of Commerce (NBCC) for the term of 2019 – 2121. Courtney Reynolds is ending her term and will head NBCC’s new “Empower Women Initiative.”

Larry is a founding member of the NBCC, in 1993, and has been dedicated to our growth and effectiveness from the very beginning. “Larry shows his organizational and leadership skills on a daily basis via his management of the Illinois State Black Chamber of Commerce which he and Janice Ivory evolved from the Peoria Black Chamber of Commerce in the early 1990s,” says NBCC President/CEO Harry C. Alford.

“It’s no secret that there’s always been a special relationship between the Illinois State Black Chamber and the National Black Chamber of Commerce, with the highest of respect and reverence duly shared.

It was an honor to take the mantle when President Alford called upon me. I’m proud to serve, what I consider, the greatest national Black chamber in the land – always at the forefront of the national stage promoting Black business equity and empowerment.

I look forward to strengthening the brand and supporting the issues that impact our corporate partners,” said Chairman Larry Ivory.

Growth and investment (fundraising) will be Larry’s focus during his upcoming tenure. He will also lead the charge on our new program, Project Rebound. This initiative is to inform the small business community about prison employment programming to increase their willingness to hire and place former offenders into meaningful jobs thereby improving their circumstances and expanding their opportunity for success. We change their lives and make society a better place.

Outgoing Chairwoman Courtney Reynolds states, “It has been a pleasure to be Chairwoman of the NBCC. I have learned so much that I am a better businesswoman and leader of the “Empower Women Initiative” alongside Kay DeBow, NBCC Co-founder. Larry will continue doing an awesome job for the organization and take it to higher levels as Chairman.”

It is important that an organization picks the proper leader to control its future and determine the proper path consistent with its mission. Failure to do this could lead to failure and the “death” of an organization. The required leadership must be strong and courageous. A great Chairperson must be a visionary with courage to lead and be confident in his decision making. Larry Ivory is that person.

In our 27 years of existence we have had to remove two Chairs. One was trying to monetize his position by bilking innocent people. We had to discretely demand his resignation or else report his ill deeds to the appropriate state attorney general. Thank God it ended peacefully. Then there was the time when our Chair decided he was going to kick us out of the organization which we co-founded. That was contentious and in the end he and about20 members resigned from the NBCC. Good riddance!

We learned quite a bit from those experiences. People can be loyal and then, suddenly, they may turn on you and resolve to destroy everything you worked so hard to build up. It is not unusual that after all of that they may come back and apologize and ask to be let back into the organization. Don’t do it!! They turned against you once and they most likely will do it again.

That’s why it such a blessing to have people like Courtney and Larry. It is a business relationship with them, but it also feels like family. Onward we go.

Mr. Alford is the Co-Founder, President/CEO of the National Black Chamber of Commerce. Ms. DeBow is the Co-Founder, Executive Vice President of the Chamber. Website: Emails: [email protected] [email protected]

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