I was thrilled to serve as Red Carpet Host for the Executive Leadership Council’s 36th Annual Recognition Gala hosted by Kevin Frazier of Entertainment Tonight with performances by DJ Jazzy Jeff and Babyface and many special guests, including Marc H. Morial, CEO of the National Urban League. It was the first in-person gala hosted by the ELC since the onset of the pandemic, which made for a very special evening.

The ELC is the preeminent global membership organization for Black current and former CEOs, senior executives, and board members of Fortune 1000 and equivalent companies, top-tier entrepreneurs, and global thought leaders.

Created to recognize organizations that have made significant contributions to the advancement of Black executives in corporate America, the ELC’s annual gala recognizes companies that have made a significant commitment to providing economic opportunities and promoting a culture of inclusivity within the organization and in Black communities throughout the country. 

This year, Target was honored as the recipient of the ELC’s Corporate Award for outstanding commitment to achieving Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI). 

“While the conversation around DEI has become front and center just over the past three years, Target has been walking the walk and leading by example for well over a decade,” said ELC CEO Michael Hyter. “Their holistic approach to creating lasting, systemic change for their Black team members, communities, and partners has paid off in dividends and has made them the blueprint for DEI done right in corporate America. We are honored to recognize their team with this year’s 2022 ELC Corporate Award.”

With a vision led by the idea that the work is never done, year-over-year Target continues to meet or exceed its goals for delivering on its DEI strategy through meaningful action, which includes a focus on expanding representation, promoting advancement and retention of its employees, providing an equitable experience and doing business that increases relevance and supports economic inclusivity. 

“As a company committed to serving all families, DE&I are core to all we do. And our strength as a business demands that we continually turn good intentions into actions that serve our team, guests and communities,” says Brian Cornell, CEO of Target. “ELC provides collaborative connections as we move from intention to action, whether in our broad and longstanding DE&I commitments or through our REACH, Racial Equity Action and Change, efforts focused specifically on Black stakeholders. We know that continued engagement with Black executives in our company and beyond will drive lasting positive impact for all families.”  

The ELC 36th Annual Recognition Gala is the organization’s most important fundraising event, supporting its scholarships, educational outreach and philanthropic initiatives and recognizing its mission, purpose and impact in action. This year’s gala highlights business achievement, honors corporate and individual trailblazers, and will deliver $1.5 million in scholarships to ELC Scholarship Program awardees. Johnson & Johnson returns as the Lead Sponsor of the 2022 Gala.


Promotional consideration provided by:

The Executive Leadership Council

Markette Sheppard

Markette Sheppard

Markette Sheppard is an Emmy award-winning TV host, children's book author, marketing executive and founder of Glow Stream TV. Follow her online @markettesheppard and @glowstreamtv.

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