I had an opportunity to attend part of George Fraser’s 9th Annual Power Networking Conference in Atlanta recently (last year I was a Panelist for the National Town Hall Meeting), and once again it was an extraordinary event. That is because George Fraser is an “amazing” Brother. Having been a successful executive with at least two Fortune 500 Corporations, he could still be occupying a cushy position as a well-paid Black face in corporate America. However, George has a calling -- rescuing Africans in America and the world from economic impotence and subservience. The author of three award winning “must read” books, Success Runs in Our Race, Race for Success and Click, George Fraser has set for himself the mission of “creating wealth that can be passed on inter-generationally” and making “Black people the number one employers of Black people in the 21st century.”
The process for achieving this mission is very basic; George is a passionate proponent of the idea that unselfish sharing of knowledge, skills and experience combined with capacity-building training are the primary keys to Black success in terms of wealth creation and economic empowerment. The principal vehicle for facilitating this process is networking. George has emerged as a veritable Guru, tirelessly teaching and preaching the positive power of networking across America and the Black World. He is intent on fostering a “culture of success” among people of African descent that will be the driving force for fulfilling his monumental mission. He is well on the way to building a solid foundation for a culture of success. Over the past two decades, the amazing George Fraser has enlisted some 60,000 members into FraserNet, the largest network of Black business and professional people in the world!
This year’s Power Networking Conference was convened against the backdrop of the most disastrous economic crisis since the Great Depression – and, a recent study by Brandeis University verifies what most Black analysts have long believed, Black America is bearing the brunt of the “Great Recession.” This is due to the fact that Blacks were disproportionately targeted and adversely affected by sub-prime mortgage loans. In this regard, a recent article in the New York Times specifically focused on the huge amount of wealth that has vanished among Black people in Memphis. As George Fraser mounted the podium to deliver his Keynote Address, his task was to challenge the participants to achieve success in a dire economic environment.
He was more than equal to the task. First and foremost, the amazing George Fraser admonished his adherents that “being good in today’s climate is not good enough. It will get you fired. Today Black people have to be amazing!” He was of course referring to the time tested reality that in competition with our White counter-parts, Black people have always had to “overachieve,” and this is particularly true in times of economic distress. George hammered home the goals, methods and ethical imperatives of FraserNet – a creed of African centered commitment.
Unlike other impressive orators in Black America, however, George matched his rhetoric with concrete and amazing initiatives to enable those who embrace the creed to succeed. As part of a strategy to encourage Black people to emancipate ourselves from the burden of severe indebtedness, at last year’s conference he announced plans for a FraserNet pre-paid debit card. This year George announced that the Card is a reality. With this mission accomplished, he then unveiled an ambitious campaign to enable one million Black people to become debt free in the near future by utilizing the Fraser Net Debit Card and saving a minimum of $50 per month or $600 a year. The Initiative will also include financial literacy training and counseling on investment – amazing!
It is one thing to “talk the talk” (a lot of Black leaders are expert at that); it is quite another to “walk the walk.” George Fraser’s Keynote Address was not just a recitation of the litany of our problems followed by inspirational rhetoric. He presented concrete plans/solutions to equip the participants for the “race for success.” Equally important, George once again modeled his selfless leadership style by carving out a space during the conference for presentations on the devastating earthquake in Haiti and plans for reconstruction [George traveled with me to Haiti for our annual Pilgrimage to Haiti in October of 2009]. The agenda/program for the conference had been set for weeks when I called to ask whether he might create a space on the program for participants to hear from the Honorable Patrick Delatour, Haiti’s Minister for Tourism and the person selected as Interim Director of National Reconstruction. George’s response was immediate, “of course, let’s make it happen.” In addition to giving Minister Delatour a prime spot just prior to the start of the National Town Hall Meeting, he also allotted time after the Town Hall Meeting for the Haiti Support Project and the Joe Beasely Foundation to make a presentation on business and investment opportunities available in building the new Haiti. That is how George Fraser rolls!
Even though I had to leave for another commitment after the sessions on Haiti, just being around so many positive Black people with incredible skills, resources and commitment to advance the race was a warm and inspirational experience. I believe in creating oases of hope in the midst of despair. Black America is enduring an economic state of emergency, but with the remarkable network that George Fraser has assembled, there is hope for a brighter future. We owe George a debt of gratitude for walking away from the suites and boardrooms of corporate America and relentlessly pursuing his vision/mission/calling to empower Black people, no matter how long it takes. George Fraser is amazing!
Dr. Ron Daniels is President of the Institute of the Black World 21st Century and Founder of the Haiti Support Project. He is a Distinguished Lecturer at York College City University of New York. His articles and essays also appear on the IBW website and www.northstarnews.com. To send a message, arrange media interviews or speaking engagements, Dr. Daniels can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org .