28 Businesses for 28 Days
Black business owners have been disproportionately affected economically by this pandemic. To date, almost half of Black-owned businesses have shuttered. In an effort to support these businesses, and to show our support for the Black community, The Business Council has launched 28 Businesses for 28 Days, a Black History Month initiative that will highlight a different Black-owned business each day of the month of February.
After learning about today's highlighted business, please check out our previous featured businesses.
Today's Highlighted Business
Evolution Enterprises is a vertically integrated and partner-owned real estate acquisition, development and management company who mainly serves the Greater Capital Region of New York with plans to expand to include real estate in Vermont, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania. Evolution Enterprises are experts in flipping property, renovating and repositioning long and short-term rentals and property management. Their team is committed to lifting others and creating change in the local communities through education, partnership and mentorship.
"Black History Month is important because it provides me 28 days to reinforce the message that black history is American history. It is a time to pay homage to the legacy of the past, to respect the resilience of the present, and revel in the promise of the future. Finally, it's a reminder that we have work to do to ensure equity infiltrates the fabric of our country."
- Melanie Littlejohn
Vice President | New York Customer & Community Management, National Grid
Melanie Littlejohn is the Vice President for New York Customer & Community Management at National Grid. As vice president, Melanie is responsible for leading customer and stakeholder management statewide and to ensure processes, planning, and best practices are delivered consistently to ‘bring energy to life’ for National Grid’s New York customers.
In this capacity, Melanie builds and maintains strong relationships that drive superior customer satisfaction to promote safety and reliability of the network, emergency management, economic development initiatives, gas and electric energy efficiency programs, renewable energy solutions, and distributed resource projects in line with customer priorities across the state.
A thought-leader and visionary, Melanie is an active participant of chambers of commerce, company board, and community outreach venues where she presents emerging industry trends and energy policy on behalf of National Grid.
National Grid is an electricity and natural gas delivery company that connects nearly 7 million customers to vital energy sources through its networks in New York, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. It is the largest distributor of natural gas in the Northeast. National Grid also operates the systems that deliver gas and electricity across Great Britain.
Through its U.S. Connect21 strategy, National Grid is transforming its electricity and natural gas network to support the 21st century digital economy with smarter, cleaner, and more resilient energy solutions. Connect21 is vital to its communities' long-term economic and environmental health and aligns with regulatory initiatives in New York (REV: Reforming the Energy Vision) and Massachusetts (Grid Modernization).
Prior to 2017 when Ms. Littlejohn was named to her current position, she served as Director of Customer & Community Management in Upstate New York. Melanie joined the company (then Niagara Mohawk) in April of 1994 as the Director of Inclusion & Diversity-US Operations. In this role, Melanie was responsible for the company’s overall strategy for Inclusion & Diversity and Compliance.
Before joining Niagara Mohawk, Ms. Littlejohn was the President& CEO of the Urban League Onondaga County. Before joining the Urban League, she was the Manager of International Client Services for Banker’s Trust Company in the Wall Street District.
Ms. Littlejohn currently serves as a Trustee/Officer of Onondaga County Community College, Business Advisory Council for the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Board of Directors and Executive Committee of CenterState CEO, Board of Directors of the Business Council, SUNY Morrisville Business School Council of Advisor’s, National Energy & Utility Affordability Coalition and board member, Pathfinder’s Bank. Previously, Ms. Littlejohn served on numerous boards such as the Central New York Community Foundation (Chair), Boys & Girls Clubs of Central New York (Chair), Say Yes to Education, Hospice, Interfaith Works, Community Folk Art Center, the Paul Robeson Performing Arts Center and the United Way (Campaign Chair) to name a few.
Ms. Littlejohn has also received numerous awards such as the Interfaith Works Leadership Award, Partners for Education and Business-Business Leaders Award, the House of Providence Humanitarian Award, the Network Journal’s 25 Influential Black Women in Business award, the Leadership Greater Syracuse Distinguished Community Leader Award, Community Wide Dialogue Racial Justice Award, NAACP Freedom Award, and the CNY 40 Below.
Ms. Littlejohn obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in Liberal Arts from the State University of New York at Stony Brook and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Syracuse University’s Whitman School of Management. In addition, she was selected to participate in National Grid’s Developing Future Business Leader’s program administered by the London Center for High Performance.
Minding My BLACK Business® is a movement and podcast dedicated to the mental health of Black Entrepreneurs, led by Dr. JaNaè Taylor. The goal is to engage, inform, and support other Black Entrepreneurs as they manage the business of work!
Black Entrepreneur Experience uncovers the brilliance, boldness and business acumen behind successful Black Entrepreneurs all over the globe.
The first and only podcast to spotlight bold, Black women entrepreneurs who have scaled from side hustle to profitable business.
An interview-style podcast where I delve deep into bold conversations with brilliant Black creators, best-selling authors, self-driven entrepreneurs, and passionate leaders.
Diversity and Leadership Work Session
Featuring - Gwen Webber-Mcleod | President/CEO, Gwen Inc.
Date: February 18, 2021
Organizations, businesses, and government agencies are motivated by several factors to implement diversity initiatives. During this session we explore the business case for diversity from a leadership development standpoint. Areas covered include:
- Recruitment & retention strategies with a focus on hiring & retaining the Unexpected Leader®.
- Examine the impact of implicit bias & micro-aggression in creating company cultures that support Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) initiatives.
- Discuss methods of integrating new learning into ongoing D&I efforts in your company.
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Black Pineapple Hair Company
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