This past Friday, Oct. 25, The Network Journal honored 40 young, Black changemakers in business; this marked the Network Journal’s 22nd 40 Under Forty Achievement Awards. The ceremony, taking place at the Crowne Plaza Time Square, was an evening full of glamour as young achievers were recognized for making a positive impact on the world. This year’s list included leaders in some of the most prestigious companies in the world.
In attendance were young leaders from Google, ESSENCE, L’Oreal, WarnerMedia, and the Mayor’s Office of Minority and Women Business Enterprises, just to name a few. The feeling of importance was palpable in the air as the senior editor, Sergie Willoughby, and publisher, Aziz Gueye, of TNJ welcomed the honorees into this evening as not only achievers but as examples for young Black people everywhere aspiring for success in business.
Tiffany J. Smith Esq., partner in the law firm WilmerHale, could also feel the gravity of being present in the room. “Friday was very special,” says Smith. “All of the achievers were very accomplished in many different ways across a breadth of industries, and equally involved as leaders in their communities. Everyone seemed to understand the importance of not only being a leader in the business and professional world, but also in their communities. I felt very humbled to be amongst the group and motivated to keep progressing and even do more.”
The people in attendance at the ceremony, honoree or not, were all likely given a boost of motivation when the evening was finished. The details from the event alone could have inspired inspiration in some, with some dressed in their most show-stopping clothes, live music, and time dedicated to networking, the event was truly something to remember.
Honoree Adrienne Nicole Freeman, of Adrienne Nicole Productions, felt that it was not only important to have such an elegant event celebrating Black and Brown people, but that it was important that it be shared with the world at large.
“It’s important to show positive imagery of Black people,” says Freeman “The airwaves are saturated with perp walks of Black and Brown people, and there are so many of us who are doing great things. We need to see and hear more of that.”
Feeling a sense of appreciation from her community made an impact on Freeman. There is a reason TNJ has presented these awards for 22 years. TNJ publisher Aziz Gueye Adetimirin shows by deed and words that Black people need not only be recognised for the great work they do, but they need to feel seen by their own communities. His TNJ’s 40 Under Forty ceremony affords the honorees
“It was a wonderful, proud and exhilarating moment to be honored for a national award,” says Freeman. “It’s great to be recognized, but it’s extra special when it comes from your own community; it just means
so much more.”