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CEO Sees New Sources of Black Leadership

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CEO Sees New Sources of Black Leadership

CEO Sees New Sources of Black Leadership

CEO Sees New Sources of Black Leadership

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/5631920/5631942" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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Ann Fudge is chairman and CEO of Young & Rubicam Brands, and sits on General Electric's board of directors. Joyce Tenneson hide caption

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Joyce Tenneson

Ann Fudge is chairman and CEO of Young & Rubicam Brands, and sits on General Electric's board of directors.

Joyce Tenneson

For decades, black religious figures and politicians have been seen as the primary leaders in the African-American community. But business figures and other role models are assuming as much of a leadership role, Ann Fudge says. She's the CEO of Young and Rubicam Brands, a worldwide marketing communications company.

"We need leaders in every segment of the whole American system to begin to make change and make a difference," says Fudge, who has been called one of the 50 most powerful women in American business. "And if I think where the civil rights movement is going, it is about that evolution. It is about redefining civil rights for our time," she tells Renee Montagne.

Fudge says that when she was growing up, "there were no African-American astronauts or African-American CEO women in business."

Now those figures can be important role models, she says.

"Young people need to see people in those roles so that they can think about how they can move into those positions and make a difference," Fudge says.