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George Cylie Fraser

Entrepreneur, author, and motivational speaker George Fraser was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1945. One of eight children born to Ida Mae Baldwin and Walter Frederick Fraser, he graduated from the Thomas Edison Vocational High School, attended New York University and received his executive training at Dartmouth College’s Amos and Tuck School of Business.

Fraser spent seventeen years in management with Proctor & Gamble, the United Way and the Ford Motor Company. He wrote his first book, bestseller Success Runs in Our Race: The Complete Guide to Effective Networking in the African Community, in 1994. His second book, Race for Success: The Ten Best Business Opportunities for Blacks in America, was selected as one of the ten best business books of 1999 by Booklist magazine. He is also the creator and publisher of the award winning SuccessGuide: The Networking Guide to Black Resources. Twenty versions of SuccessGuide have been published and a worldwide edition was released in August 2000.

Fraser has received many awards and citations for his community service, including the United Negro College Fund National Volunteer of the Year Award and an Architects of the Village Award from Allstate Insurance. He is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records. In 1986, as director of marketing and communications for the United Way of Cleveland, he conceived, planned and led the release of 1.4 million balloons, the largest single balloon release in history.

The publication Vital Speeches of the Day has selected three of Mr. Fraser’s speeches to be reprinted and distributed worldwide, a first for any professional speaker in America.

He has been featured in articles in Black Enterprise and Upscale magazines.

Fraser and his wife, Nora Jean (née Spencer), are the parents of two sons.

Accession Number

A2005.009

Sex

Male

Interview Date

1/11/2005 |and| 3/18/2005

Last Name

Fraser

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Cylie

Organizations
Schools

Thomas Edison Vocational High School

Thomas A. Edison Career and Technical Education High School

Speakers Bureau

Yes

Speakers Bureau Availability

Any

First Name

George

Birth City, State, Country

New York

HM ID

FRA05

Speakers Bureau Honorarium

Yes

Favorite Season

Spring

Sponsor

Roberta and Earl Graves, Jr

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

Hilton Head, South Carolina

Favorite Quote

If You Don't Live It, It Won't Come Out Of Your Horn

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Ohio

Birth Date

5/1/1945

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Cleveland

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Soul Food

Short Description

Business networking chief executive George Cylie Fraser (1945 - ) spent seventeen years in management with Proctor & Gamble, The United Way and the Ford Motor Company. He was also the author of three guides to networking and business in the African American community.

Main Sponsor
Favorite Color

Earth Tones, Browns, and Beiges

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of George Cylie Fraser's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - George Cylie Fraser remembers his paternal grandmother

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - George Cylie Fraser talks about his relationship with his parents, his siblings, and growing up in foster care

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - George Cylie Fraser explains why his father migrated to the United States

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - George Cylie Fraser lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - George Cylie Fraser describes the sights, smells, and sounds of his childhood in Brooklyn, New York

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - George Cylie Fraser talks about his foster family

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - George Cylie Fraser remembers reuniting with his father and older brothers at eighteen years old

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - George Cylie Fraser remembers his elementary school teachers

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - George Cylie Fraser describes his middle and high school experiences in New York City

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - George Cylie Fraser remembers his determination to graduate from high school

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - George Cylie Fraser describes his father's personality and influence

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - George Cylie Fraser describes the impact of his mother's institutionalization

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - George Cylie Fraser explains the origin of his interest in entrepreneurship, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - George Cylie Fraser explains the origin of his interest in entrepreneurship, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - George Cylie Fraser remembers influential figures in the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - George Cylie Fraser talks about racial identity and W.E.B. Du Bois' theory of double consciousness

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - George Cylie Fraser talks about his entrepreneurial nature as a young child

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - George Cylie Fraser explains how he and his brothers avoided the Vietnam War draft

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - George Cylie Fraser talks about the physical and psychological impact of the Vietnam War on his friends in the military

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - George Cylie Fraser talks about relocating to Cleveland, Ohio in the mid-1960s

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - George Cylie Fraser talks about working for Encyclopedia Britannica and opening the Black Educational Development storefront in Cleveland, Ohio

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - George Cylie Fraser describes being hired at Procter & Gamble and becoming chairman of the United Negro College Fund

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - George Cylie Fraser talks about his social life in the 1970s and being named Ebony magazine's Most Eligible Bachelors

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - George Cylie Fraser talks about the development of SuccessNet after he was recruited by the Ford Motor Company

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - George Cylie Fraser talks about SuccessNet's bankruptcy in the mid-1990s

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - George Cylie Fraser considers what he learned from his company's bankruptcy

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - George Cylie Fraser describes SuccessNet's recovery from bankruptcy

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - George Cylie Fraser talks about the inspiration behind 'Race For Success,' his second bestselling self-help book

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - George Cylie Fraser talks about working in the lecture circuit in the 1990s

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - George Cylie Fraser talks about his audience demographic

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - George Cylie Fraser describes why his message is appealing

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - George Cylie Fraser talks about connecting with his audiences on a spiritual level

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - George Cylie Fraser critiques the challenges and changes within the American economy in between 2000 and 2004

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - George Cylie Fraser talks about his appearance on HistoryMaker Tavis Smiley's 2005 State of the Black Union symposium

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - George Cylie Fraser relays his message from the 'State of the Black Union' symposium with HistoryMaker Tavis Smiley in 2005

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - George Cylie Fraser talks about facilitating upward mobility within the African American demographic, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - George Cylie Fraser talks about facilitating upward mobility within the African American demographic, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - George Cylie Fraser talks about economic accountability, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - George Cylie Fraser talks about economic accountability, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - George Cylie Fraser critiques the economic state of the African American demographic

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - George Cylie Fraser talks about his marriage and work-life balance

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - George Cylie Fraser talks about his marriage to Nora Jean Fraser

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - George Cylie Fraser reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - George Cylie Fraser describes his family's involvement in the FraserNet business, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - George Cylie Fraser describes his family's involvement in the FraserNet business, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - George Cylie Fraser considers his optimism for the future of the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - George Cylie Fraser considers the value in networking within the black community

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - George Cylie Fraser narrates his photographs

DASession

1$2

DATape

3$4

DAStory

6$9

DATitle
George Cylie Fraser talks about the development of SuccessNet after he was recruited by the Ford Motor Company
George Cylie Fraser talks about his appearance on HistoryMaker Tavis Smiley's 2005 State of the Black Union symposium
Transcript
Now, when do you formally launch all of the businesses that would somehow have success as part of their name?$$There was a couple of transitions, a couple of linkages. Left P and G [Procter & Gamble]. A friend of mine Cheryl Wills was the volunteer chair of United Way--knew of my work with United Negro College Fund [UNCF]--United Way was looking for a director of communications and marketing, someone out of the real world of marketing. She tapped me and I went to United Way from P& G and spent three years with United Way as director of communications and marketing and created the balloon fest that was the Guinness Book of World Records release, the largest single release of balloons in the history of humankind, 1.4 million balloons released on Public Square [Cleveland, Ohio]. I don't know if you remember that event but it was off the charts, global coverage. In each balloon we put a message and the kids sold the balloons in schools for a dollar and so we raised money and brought massive attention to United Way. I then left United Way to go back and to take advantage of an entrepreneurial opportunity. Ford Motor Company tapped me to go into their dealer development program. I was to be the first black Ford Lincoln Mercury dealer in Cleveland [Ohio]. That was a two year program that was back in 1987. I went into that program, it was interesting but halfway through the program I had personally decided that I don't think I want to sell cars. It was not the best time certainly to sell Ford cars at that time, or to sell cars in general. But I do want to pursue this idea of networking and bringing black people together and creating a forum for them to link up and to connect and to work with and through each other that was the central seed and core of the idea. So I really started that process halfway through the paid training program with Ford Motor Company and basically said let me put on some small events--networking events called SuccessNet. We did those for five years every month and the attraction would be a top black speaker that would not be from the community and hors d'oeuvres and drinks after work in a first class venue that was the concept called SuccessNet--success through networking. The seed of that idea really came from Black Enterprise Magazine, [HM] Earl Graves had tapped me to chair the Black Enterprise networking events that were being done around the country and when it came to Cleveland, he wanted me to chair that for him as a volunteer and I did that. That's how I met Earl and his wife and it was a very successful--with about five hundred people came out. He was very happy with the results and that was really the seed of SuccessNet and I just carried it forward. I said we need to be doing this not once a year when Black Enterprise shows up but we really need to be doing this kind of thing every month in our community to strengthen our bond and to find out who is doing what and that's where SuccessNet came from. But I remember I was in the dealer development program at that time. So we started doing the events, collected literally hundreds of business cards. So the next entrepreneurial idea came out of that. This collection had a thousand/two thousand business cards from people who would come to these events each month. So what do we do with these cards, I said why don't we create a directory, put the information on all these cards in this directory and then market and merchandise this directory back to the people who come to the conference we'll call them directory success guides--the networking guide to black resources in Cleveland. So it won't be just a directory, we'll also feature some of the movers and shakers and decision makers. It was way before all the (unclear). Well it was a huge success, generated tons of money and it really was the foundation for the money that it generated--the revenues that it generated was the foundation for, if it can work here, it can work in other cities.$So if the spoken message changes a little in keeping with the changing times, how about your written words? Are there new publications on the horizon? Have you had another publication since the 1998 release of that book?$$I'm writing a book now, it's called, "Connecting with People: Ten Lessons for Building Extraordinary Relationships in Business and in Life, Getting Reconnected in a Disconnected World." So that's the next book that I will finish probably sometime this year and then there is another book that I'm working on--stewing on--soaking in right now collecting research and information and it's called Connecting the Dots, a new agenda--a black agenda for the 21st century and that's some sort of a working title, let the essence of what the book will be about and this is what I talked about in the state of black America with Tavis Smiley in Atlanta [Georgia] that was on C-Span a couple of weeks ago. The need for black people in particular to connect the dots, to leverage the tremendous resources that we currently have. I wrote a diagram that I use all the time when I speak and it was--not only that but it was very, very heady panel discussion. I say heady because there were ten people on the stage, 8,000 people in the audience and C-Span is in 100 million homes and so to the left of me was [HM] Minister Louis Farrakhan, [HM Reverend] Al Sharpton, [HM Reverend] Jesse Jackson, [Dr.] Cornel West, Jocelyn Elders, the former mayor of Detroit, Dennis Archer and [HM] Tavis Smiley was the moderator and there were a couple of other people, I don't remember their names but it was very, very, very stressful for a person like me to be sitting in that company and to say something that would make an impact on the audience and that would make some sense. 'Cause it's very easy to be swallowed up and to be overshadowed certainly by someone as powerful whether you agree with him or not, his philosophy, his thinking as Minister Louis Farrakhan who is just one of the great orators certainly in America and certainly in black America. So having to come up with an idea, a thought that would in a sense hijack the conversation 'cause that was my plan. What could I say, what thought could I put out there, what mirror could I put up that would change the conversation 'cause the conversation was supposed to be about a political agenda for black America for the next four years. I don't agree with there should be a political agenda and I think there needs to be a black agenda. I think that the work has to be done within ourselves with our own community. So the question is how you say that with 8,000 people looking on and what can you say that would make an impact and change the conversation to something that I was more comfortable with and so that was the ultimate challenge but it came out very good.