During crises, leaders often tend to hyper focus on managing the current threat and neglect long-range thinking.  That can be a mistake because vision is essential for evaluating short term decisions and for charting and creating a preferred future.

Our President and CEO, Mark Yates inspired me to utter words to describe him that I had never read or heard. Someone asked why I thought Mark was prepared to take the chief leadership role at BBA and I explained that Mark is a, “Curatorial Visionary.” I’d never heard or read of such. That’s a, “Yates Inspired,” aphorism. When Mark first came on Board @ BBA he began to really study the History of Black Business in Memphis. He engaged a very bright young intern from Rhodes College, Brian Burgess, to assist on the project. They developed an accurate Timeline for African American Business activity in Memphis. Also, they developed a parallel Timeline for Civil Rights progress. It is an interesting undertaking to study the Timelines side by side.

A Curatorial Visionary is one who thoroughly, thoughtfully and accurately studies and inspects the History of matters and considers nuance and the fact that much of what he reads is, “His Story.” He does this much like the curator of a museum. They know everything. Then this person sets a Vision for the preferred future of the Organization, Church, Family, which embraces the past, honors the past and extracts the traditions and practices from the past, which must endure as we move forward. Okay, that sounded academic. Specifically, what I mean is, Mark has come to realize that, “Access to Capital,” is the primary obstacle, which has historically inhibited the growth of Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises. He is currently developing local and national programs, which will support businesses with Capital Formation. He’s acknowledged that businesses must do a more accurate job of bookkeeping to take advantage of programs coming down the pike. And he understands that, “Capitalism without Capital is just ism.”

Dude has constructed a Team to fully use Technological Innovation for the benefit of our members, The BBA and the U S Black Chambers, Inc. We are a member Chapter of the U S Black Chambers, Inc. Mr. Jason Kyles, Mr. Rex Oatis, Ms. Sainna Christian and Mr. Everett Burton are Superstars in the making. I’m excited to learn from them as they drag me kicking but not screaming into the Twenty First and One Half Century.

They say that if a Batter in Baseball gets a Hit once every three times at Bat, he’ll be a Hall of Famer. In Business, if one out of three hires is a Superstar, you will go to the Hall of Fame. I hired Mark Yates. I’m preparing my acceptance Speech for the HOF.  And, he is a Shoe In because of the folks I just named on his Innovation Team.

Have a productive day!

Here to help Memphis WIN! 

Roby S. Williams
Chief Relationship Officer
Black Business Association of Memphis (BBA)
Member Chapter of the U S Black Chambers, Inc.
480 Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue
Memphis, TN 38126