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Michael W. Lewis

Corporate executive Michael Ward Lewis was born on September 15, 1949 in Metropolitan Detroit. He was one of Martha and Ward Lewis’ eight children. Lewis graduated from Ferndale High School before going on to receive his B.B.A. degree from Western Michigan University in 1971. Lewis then attended Indiana University in Bloomington where he earned his M.B.A. degree in 1976.

Immediately after graduate school, Lewis joined Harris Bank as a commercial banking trainee. He then moved up to a commercial banking officer before being named assistant vice president of Harris Bank in 1981. Two years later, Lewis was named vice president of Harris Bank and soon after, the bank was acquired by the BMO Financial Group. In 1986, Lewis was promoted to team leader in the Special Industries Group and took responsibility of the Healthcare, Education, and Tax-Exempt Institutions Team in the bank. Still rising, in 1994, Lewis became senior vice president and market executive. Since 1998 he has served as an executive vice president of Harris and currently is a district executive in the retail banking area.

Lewis is a member of the Harris Bank Diversity Council as well as the Illinois Government Finance Officers Association and the Zoning Board for the village of Olympia Fields. In 2007, Lewis served as Chairman of the Board of Chicago United and in 2009; he became Co-Chair of the BMO U.S. Sustainability Counsel at Harris. For the past three years Lewis has participated in Harris Bank’s “Volunteer Day” in partnership with non-profit organizations. Lewis also sits on the Board of Directors for the Western Michigan University Foundation, a position he has held since 2009. He is also a past reader in the Chicago Public Schools “Real Men Read” program and has participated in several “career day” events in local public schools. A member of Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity, he was recognized as a “Business Leader of Color” by Chicago United and ‘Who’s Who in Black Chicago.

Michael Lewis was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on May 26, 2010.

Accession Number

A2010.028

Sex

Male

Interview Date

5/26/2010

Last Name

Lewis

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

W.

Occupation
Schools

Ulysses S. Grant Elementary School

Ferndale High School

Western Michigan University

Indiana University

First Name

Michael

Birth City, State, Country

Ferndale

HM ID

LEW13

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Michigan

Favorite Vacation Destination

Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

Favorite Quote

It Is Not The Stimulus, It Is The Response.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Interview Description
Birth Date

9/15/1949

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Steak

Short Description

Corporate executive Michael W. Lewis (1949 - ) was the executive vice president of the Harris Trust and Savings Bank and a member of several executive business boards.

Employment

Detroit Bank & Trust

Indiana National Bank

Harris Bank

Favorite Color

Red

Timing Pairs
0,0:3697,34:20776,395:22777,435:24157,467:26710,569:27952,579:29608,618:34024,749:34300,754:49110,960:68228,1267:80625,1479:80925,1484:81525,1499:84675,1570:85350,1580:85875,1588:86475,1596:87675,1618:88050,1624:88875,1640:89850,1660:101451,1793:103189,1833:103663,1840:104137,1861:114530,1991:114850,1996:116690,2049:117010,2054:120770,2125:126690,2264:127730,2280:133330,2397:134210,2410:147096,2595:150292,2663:158588,2827:159132,2837:168112,2876:168482,2882:171960,3000:174254,3038:178768,3335:179434,3361:183060,3462:192190,3634:192565,3640:197140,3777:197740,3788:199540,3804:203940,3891$0,0:1568,44:3468,88:4076,99:4380,111:8408,194:9092,205:18265,344:19015,355:24040,433:24865,447:25540,457:35365,702:35740,708:36565,722:45710,795:46284,804:52188,918:53090,936:53664,944:57272,1052:58010,1062:59650,1087:60798,1102:65882,1203:66292,1209:66866,1222:67604,1234:68670,1250:74602,1258:77338,1312:80002,1368:80650,1378:81730,1399:83962,1447:86050,1490:86338,1495:87130,1507:87850,1519:89074,1547:102484,1725:102970,1735:103942,1801:104752,1818:105562,1829:108235,1881:108559,1886:112771,1962:114796,2001:115687,2026:117550,2055:118603,2087:119818,2115:130078,2182:132195,2244:134896,2302:137816,2358:138692,2385:140152,2397:140517,2402:141028,2417:142561,2482:156900,2642
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Michael W. Lewis's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Michael W. Lewis lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Michael W. Lewis describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Michael W. Lewis describes his father's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Michael W. Lewis talks about his father's career

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Michael W. Lewis describes his father's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Michael W. Lewis describes his earliest childhood memories

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Michael W. Lewis lists his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Michael W. Lewis describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Michael W. Lewis talks about his family's move to Ferndale, Michigan

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Michael W. Lewis remembers the marching band at Grant Elementary School in Ferndale, Michigan

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Michael W. Lewis remembers his neighborhood in Ferndale, Michigan

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Michael W. Lewis describes his family's home in Ferndale, Michigan

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Michael W. Lewis recalls his activities at Ferndale High School in Ferndale, Michigan

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Michael W. Lewis talks about his early influences

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Michael W. Lewis talks about his early educational experiences

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Michael W. Lewis recalls his family's emphasis on education

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Michael W. Lewis describes his early aspirations

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Michael W. Lewis remembers the riots of 1967 in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Michael W. Lewis describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Michael W. Lewis recalls his transition to Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Michael W. Lewis remembers playing on the football team at Western Michigan University

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Michael W. Lewis remembers his peers at Western Michigan University

Tape: 2 Story: 13 - Michael W. Lewis recalls his start in the banking industry

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Michael W. Lewis describes the management training program at the Detroit Bank and Trust Company

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Michael W. Lewis remembers earning an M.B.A. degree

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Michael W. Lewis recalls how he came to work for the Harris Trust and Savings Bank

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Michael W. Lewis remembers the support of his wife

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Michael W. Lewis describes his early career at the Harris Trust and Savings Bank

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Michael W. Lewis talks about his experiences of discrimination in the banking industry

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Michael W. Lewis describes his portfolio at the Harris Trust and Savings Bank

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Michael W. Lewis recalls his promotions at the Harris Trust and Savings Bank

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Michael W. Lewis describes the financial marketplace in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Michael W. Lewis talks about his mentors at the Harris Trust and Savings Bank

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Michael W. Lewis recalls his role as a division administrator at the Harris Trust and Savings Bank

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Michael W. Lewis talks about his corporate lending specialty

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Michael W. Lewis describes the BMO Harris Diversity Council

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Michael W. Lewis describes his executive roles at the Harris Trust and Savings Bank

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Michael W. Lewis remembers the LaSalle Street Project

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Michael W. Lewis talks about his transition to a regional presidency at the Harris Trust and Savings Bank

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Michael W. Lewis talks about the branches of the Harris Trust and Savings Bank

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Michael W. Lewis talks about the Harris Trust and Savings Bank's ATMs

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Michael W. Lewis describes the purpose of consumer banking fees

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Michael W. Lewis talks about his corporate lending specialty

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Michael W. Lewis remembers the financial crisis of 2008

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Michael W. Lewis talks about the future of BMO Harris Bank

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Michael W. Lewis describes his civic involvement

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Michael W. Lewis talks about his family

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Michael W. Lewis reflects upon his life

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Michael W. Lewis describes his hopes for the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Michael W. Lewis shares his advice to aspiring banking executives

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Michael W. Lewis reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Michael W. Lewis describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Michael W. Lewis talks about the importance of black business history

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Michael W. Lewis narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$5

DAStory

13$4

DATitle
Michael W. Lewis recalls his start in the banking industry
Michael W. Lewis describes his civic involvement
Transcript
When did you decide to go to grad school?$$After I got out of undergraduate school [Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, Michigan], when I graduated and I got a job, I was working for a bank in Detroit [Michigan] called Detroit Bank and Trust [Detroit Bank and Trust Company; Comerica, Inc.]. And I--the job was, again I just kind of backed into it. It was not, it was--I kind of landed it really in a very serendipitous way. So once I got into the bank, I saw that the action was actually as a corporate banker and I thought well I'd like to do that, that looks like that could be a lot of fun. And I tried to figure out how I could get in the corporate banking given my background, and I thought well it's gonna be a tough row to hoe and a long road if I go through conventional channels.$$Um-hm.$$But everybody who came in as an M.B.A. was immediately put in that chair.$$Um-hm.$$So I thought, okay. I need to get an M.B.A. And that was how I went back to graduate school.$$Now you said you kind of backed into the position there at the bank. How did you back into it?$$Well, the way I got the job was--when I came out of undergraduate school it was--I graduated in December of '71 [1971]. I mentioned earlier that I was gonna get drafted one way or the other, not by the NFL [National Football League] but by Uncle Sam and I was gonna go into the [U.S.] military, 'cause the war in Vietnam [Vietnam War] was at its height. So, as they began to deescalate the war, many people, unless people grew up in that timeframe they won't remember, but if you had a Selective Service number, employers could look, could legally ask you what your Selective Service number was. If your Selective Service number was beneath the ceiling, the ceiling was I think like 250 if I recall or 270. Then if it was beneath that number they didn't have to, they didn't have to interview you and they wouldn't hire you. So my number was 113. Clearly I was gonna be a goner, and so as I finished my last year of undergraduate study I couldn't interview for jobs because no employer, prospective employer would take a look at me. In December of '71 [1971] because Nixon [President Richard Milhous Nixon] was beginning to deescalate the war, every month they announced the ceiling for the draft, eligible men, and you would check that to find out, you know, what the ceiling was. Well in the month that I graduated in December of '71 [1971], the month before it was above, it was 125. I just kind of remember that because I was at 113. And they had been dropping the ceiling by, you know, it depended, sometimes it would be five numbers, sometimes it was stable, be the same, depends on how big the need was for troops in Vietnam. But the month I graduated in December they dropped the ceiling to ninety-five. So if your number was above the ceiling you didn't have to worry about being drafted. And I came out with no prospects of being drafted by the NFL or by Uncle Sam, but also no job. So I backed into the job by going door to door in Detroit [Michigan], you know, with a degree, but no job. And so I went to GM [General Motors Corporation; General Motors Company, Detroit, Michigan] and Ford [Ford Motor Company, Dearborn, Michigan], and Chrysler [Chrysler Corporation; FCA US LLC, Auburn Hills, Michigan] and they weren't hiring because it was one of the little mini recessions that they were having in the auto industry. And I went to all the automotive suppliers trying to see if they might have jobs (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Um-hm.$$--like Budd [Budd Company] or some other, Masco [Masco Corporation], or some other major providers, and of course they weren't hiring either. So I sat down and, and scratched my head to see where do I think I could get a job that might have a training program and I thought well banks. Banks probably have training programs (simultaneous).$Now, you've been involved in some--a lot of civic activities. Can you give us kind of a flavor for some of the things that you've been involved in?$$Sure. As I was saying earlier, as it, as it related to some of the diversity council work, I've been very fortunate to be involved in an organization called Chicago United. Chicago United is a membership organization where you have corporate members that are committed to issues of inclusion and diversity from a corporate perspective. And this organization, our president is named Gloria Castillo, and she's been there for the past five years and has done a terrific job. I've, I have had an opportunity to serve not only as a board member, but as board chair for two years and that's been an area where I continue to devote a great deal of time and effort in working with the Chicago United. I've also been involved with an organization called LISC which is the Local Initiatives Support Corporation headquartered here in Chicago [Illinois]. A gentleman named Andy Mooney [Andrew Mooney] is the executive director and it involves infrastructure financing for development ac- activity in communities that are LOMA [Letter of Map Amendment] census track areas, those hard to get dollars for the initial funding for infrastructure or development is where we focus and we bring together other--we kind of aggregate resources from various funding sources to direct them to areas that would need capital and seed capital, but can't get it from traditional sources for that very difficult to find startup phase. I've also been involved in my undergraduate alma mater, Western Michigan University [Kalamazoo, Michigan], where I serve on the business advisory council for the school of business [Haworth College of Business, Kalamazoo, Michigan] and I just went on the foundation board, the foundation board for the university just last year in September. So I've been active in those two organizations. And so those are the main focal points. I've also worked a little bit with the Real Men Mead--Read program [Real Men Read] for the city, or the Chicago Public Schools, which was a very rewarding experience. And there's other things, but those are the main things that I work on.$$You're also a soccer coach?$$I was (laughter), I was. It wasn't because I played, it's 'cause my son [Neamen Lewis] has been involved in it and so there was a club soccer program that he was involved in and I was very much involved in. It was very important to him and his career development, the Rich Township [Illinois] soccer club. So yes, I coached and, and, and had a board position there as well.

Ralph G. Moore

Minority business consultant Ralph G. Moore was born in Evanston, Illinois on July 4, 1949. His mother, Alberta, worked in the post office, while his father, William, was a railroad worker. After graduating from Evanston Township High School in 1967, Moore attended Southern Illinois University, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in accounting in 1971. The following year, he was awarded his CPA license.

After earning his bachelor’s degree, Moore took a position with accounting firm Arthur Andersen, where he remained until 1973. From there, he served as vice president for the Minority Enterprise Small Business Investment Company and was controller for the Parker House Sausage Company. In 1979, Moore founded Ralph G. Moore & Associates (RGMA). Today, RGMA is one of the premier consulting firms for helping employers to diversify their suppliers. In addition, they consult government agencies with the development and implementation of Affirmative Action programs and help entrepreneurs raise capital.

In addition to his consulting work, Moore serves on the board of directors of several firms. He has also been a contributor to the Harvard Business Review and MBE Magazine. He is also a co-founder and the president of the Alliance of Business Leaders and Entrepreneurs. Since 1994, Moore has served as a trustee of the City Colleges of Chicago, and he is also a trustee of the University of Chicago Hospitals & Health System.

Moore’s numerous awards over the years include “Entrepreneur of the Year” from Inc. Magazine and Enrst & Young and the Governor’s Minority Small Business Advocate of the Year Award from former Illinois Governor George Ryan.

Accession Number

A2004.121

Sex

Male

Interview Date

8/9/2004

Last Name

Moore

Maker Category
Marital Status

Divorced

Middle Name

G.

Schools

Evanston Township High School

Southern Illinois University

First Name

Ralph

Birth City, State, Country

Evanston

HM ID

MOO03

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

Bahamas

Favorite Quote

We're All In This Together.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Interview Description
Birth Date

7/4/1949

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Salmon

Short Description

Business consultant and business consulting chief executive Ralph G. Moore (1949 - ) founded Ralph G. Moore & Associates (RGMA) in 1979. Over the years, RGMA became one of the premier consulting firms for helping corporations diversify their supply chain.

Employment

Arthur Andersen

Minority Enterprise Small Business Investment Company

Parker House Sausage Company

Ralph G. Moore & Associates

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:14456,204:15584,230:35903,466:36704,476:40264,533:55122,832:55466,837:57272,865:58218,879:58648,885:59250,894:63894,977:65442,1027:67162,1062:74884,1209:77819,1341:102190,1657:102595,1679:103729,1691:104944,1711:106968,1726:107727,1749:124635,2049:134966,2194:140784,2275:142390,2323:142974,2333:143266,2338:145748,2393:146405,2407:146989,2416:147938,2431:149544,2487:152610,2564:155019,2607:157282,2654:158085,2674:158669,2684:164610,2708$0,0:5645,154:5937,159:11412,292:11923,365:19223,493:25510,537:31810,627:32126,632:32679,640:33390,651:37261,754:38288,777:38604,782:38920,787:39236,792:39552,797:55717,1072:56253,1089:58933,1139:59469,1158:62484,1250:68440,1343:74080,1421:74990,1445:81290,1597:82340,1615:82760,1623:94476,1860:98556,1962:99168,1972:99440,1977:100732,2010:101276,2019:102092,2034:102636,2043:104132,2068:106648,2176:107736,2197:119378,2276:121765,2310:123998,2379:132391,2539:140128,2602:144662,2688:145017,2714:154816,2852:156108,2878:158920,2930:159832,3003:166368,3154:177920,3324:178494,3338:195040,3596:195742,3607:196054,3612:196600,3620:199486,3680:218480,3942
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Ralph G. Moore's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Ralph G. Moore lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Ralph G. Moore talks about his maternal family history

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Ralph G. Moore talks about his mother's move north to Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Ralph G. Moore describes his mother's life in Mississippi

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Ralph G. Moore recalls the lack of family conversation about racism during his childhood visits to Mississippi

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Ralph G. Moore lists his mother's jobs in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Ralph G. Moore explains his father's reasons for leaving the South

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Ralph G. Moore talks about his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Ralph G. Moore recalls stories about his paternal aunt and father

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Ralph G. Moore recalls his earliest childhood memories

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Ralph G. Moore recalls the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Ralph G. Moore describes the racial dynamics of his childhood neighborhood and elementary schools in Evanston, Illinois

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Ralph G. Moore recalls his frustrations with his Evanston Township High School's academic expectations

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Ralph G. Moore describes his personality during the time he attended Evanston Township High School in Evanston, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Ralph G. Moore recalls the impact of his teachers at Evanston Township High School in Evanston, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Ralph G. Moore comments on the racial and ethnic demographics of Evanston, Illinois in the 1960s

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Ralph G. Moore compares the histories of the African American community and Jewish community

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Ralph G. Moore explains his decision to attend Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Ralph G. Moore talks about black student body at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Ralph G. Moore talks about his social activities and interests during his teenage years

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Ralph G. Moore talks about his older brother's influence on his decision to attend Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Ralph G. Moore recalls his initial experience at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Ralph G. Moore recalls challenging an accounting professor at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Ralph G. Moore recalls his activities as a member of the Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Ralph G. Moore recalls organizing a black arts festival in Marion prison in Marion, Illinois with his fraternity, Kappa Alpha Psi

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Ralph G. Moore talks about how he managed to finance his college education at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Ralph G. Moore recalls his initial experiences working at Arthur Andersen

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Ralph G. Moore explains how he was able to advance despite initial discrimination at Arthur Andersen

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Ralph G. Moore recalls leaving the Chicago Board of Trade to work for the Minority Enterprise Small Business Investment Company in 1947

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Ralph G. Moore talks about his experience working at Minority Enterprise Small Business Investment Company

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Ralph G. Moore talks about his involvement with various community and business organizations in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Ralph G. Moore talks about Habilitative Systems, Incorporated

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Ralph G. Moore talks about his trusteeship at the University of Chicago Medical Center

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Ralph G. Moore talks about black accountants in Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Ralph G. Moore talks about his business, Ralph G. Moore & Associates

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Ralph G. Moore talks about the personal significance of his company's work with baseball

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Ralph G. Moore talks about his daughter's affinity for history

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Ralph G. Moore talks about his relationship with his daughter's mother and becoming a father

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Ralph G. Moore talks about his daughter, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Ralph G. Moore talks about his daughter's influences and aspirations

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Ralph G. Moore talks about Ralph G. Moore & Associates' role in promoting supplier diversity and minority business development

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Ralph G. Moore talks about the National Minority Supplier Development Council

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Ralph G. Moore gives examples of what suppliers do within the business world

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Ralph G. Moore explains the importance of supplier diversity and its implications for minority businesses

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Ralph G. Moore talks about the importance of buying from companies that work with minority vendors

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Ralph G. Moore describes his hopes and concerns for the black community

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Ralph G. Moore talks about racial disparities he encountered at Arthur Andersen and witnesses in corporate America

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Ralph G. Moore reflects on the importance of teaching black youth their history

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Ralph G. Moore talks about the importance of remembering the history of African American struggle

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Ralph G. Moore reflects on opportunities he has been given and his hope for the future

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Ralph G. Moore reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Ralph G. Moore talks about his family's reactions to his accomplishments and his mother's struggle with Alzheimer's disease

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Ralph G. Moore describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Ralph G. Moore narrates his photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Ralph G. Moore narrates his photographs, pt. 2

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$5

DAStory

3$4

DATitle
Ralph G. Moore talks about black accountants in Illinois
Ralph G. Moore talks about the importance of buying from companies that work with minority vendors
Transcript
So, I'm involved; also, the Cosmopolitan Chamber of Commerce [Chicago, Illinois], and this is where the clock kind of swings around. In 1972, I passed the CPA [certified public accountant] exam. That's another, I'm one of those stories. It's hard to imagine and it just speaks to how we've been denied opportunity, but in 1972, I passed the CPA exam, November. I was the 68th black CPA in the state, in the history of the State of Illinois. Now, I mean you can celebrate that, but it means, to me it's a tragedy. Now there are hundreds of black CPAs, but at the time we were less than 100, and you know Lester, and [HistoryMaker] Jim [James] Hill [Jr.], they came before--[HistoryMaker] Lester McKeever, they all came before me, but in the history of the state, to be number sixty-eight tells me that there's a problem. But, what happened, and even there it speaks to the whole issue of race, again about Arthur Andersen [Chicago, Illinois], and there's another brother there, Reggie Burton [ph.], who was another black person who started the same as me, University of Chicago [Chicago, Illinois], M.B.A., Roosevelt [University, Chicago, Illinois] undergraduate, very--I wouldn't call it arrogant, but very full of himself. Well, [HistoryMaker] Ralph [G. Moore], he went to SIU [Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, Illinois]. That exam should be pretty tough for a year but, you know, you should do, you know, study hard, you might do okay. You might make it through. So, we took the same exam, right. Long story short, the results came out. I passed it the first time and, a matter of fact, it was one of those tests November '72 [1972] test, I look back and look at the statistics, only 12 percent of the people who took it the first time passed it. Reggie Burton, who was, needless to say he didn't pass it, not only did he not pass it that time, he took it another seven times before he passed it, so I was very, that was one of those moments. I said, we partied, but we got a couple things done.$$You said accounting is an exact science, so you know it or you don't.$$You either know it or you don't. But I think the other issue, I mean the reason I go back and tell that story is that just to be an accountant, you know, not to, to be able to use these tools for the betterment of the community really is what makes it so good for me. So, I volunteered, I've done work with the National Association of Black Accountants [NABA]. We formed a group called the National CPA Society [ph.], which were the first CPAs, and is trying to help other accounting students come through the program, accounting programs. So, it's been a number, I've done a number of things in the community.$One of the stories I tell in our training, we talk about the value proposition. We [Moore and his daughter, Avery Moore] were in a grocery store. She's nine years old. Now, your daughter is fourteen. When she was nine, when you turned into the cereal aisle of the grocery store, you lose control. Whatever is going to go in that cart, she's, she already knows what she wants. She, some Co-Co this or something she saw on TV. So, when we got to the, she reached for her favorite cereal, which was from a company that was not doing that much with supplier diversity at the time. I said, "Well Avery, let's look at this. This company doesn't do much with minority vendors. So, if we give them our money, that money's gonna go straight outside the community. None of it will ever come back into the community." Now here's the--Cap'n Crunch. I always thought it was Captain but it's Cap'n, Quaker Oats. "Cap'n Crunch--now here's a product that you love. I've seen you eat it, Quaker Oats does a lot of work in the community and when we give them our money, that money, they give money back to our community and that money floats around and some of that money ends up in my checking account, and that's the money I take you to [Walt] Disney World [Orlando, Florida] with." And she looked like wait a minute! No Disney World, Disney World??? Why didn't you tell me?? She was mad that I hadn't told her before that if we buy products from, in our house there's only good companies or bad companies. The good companies work with minority vendors, the bad companies don't. So, the good companies are the ones we support. Same thing when she goes shopping. Now, you've heard about the Tommy Hilfiger problem, true or false, Tommy Hilfiger doesn't seem to do a lot in my community. So, we don't buy Tommy Hilfiger. That was a tough lesson for her because she was, you know, it was a big thing for her. My only point to her was we have to shop with companies that have, that are members, that are national members of the national supplier, the NMSDC, the National Minority Supplier Development Council [New York, New York]. Nordstrom's is a member, Express is a member, Limited is a member, which owns Express, Bloomingdale's is a member (unclear) stores, so it turned out that all of the stores that she would like to shop at are members. So, now, what's the one that had a Ghettopoly game, Urban Outfitters, they're not a member, and they, and plus after that Ghettopoly mess, we don't give 'em any of our money. But the reality is there's enough good companies out there that we can support, and the things I tell her, if you can't buy from a black company, buy from a black salesman in a white company. And if you can't buy from a black salesman in a white company, buy from a company that at least works with black businesses and minority businesses. So, she's armed and ready. Again, if we could get more people thinking like her, we could turn this around. You have companies like SONY records [Sony Music Entertainment, Inc., New York, New York], and my lawyer told me to stop calling names, probably because it's amazing how people hear what I say, 'cause I speak a lot around the country. But, you have companies like SONY records, who don't do anything with supplier diversity. How dare you take all that money out of our community with rap music and not do anything with minority and black vendors! It's crazy. So, there's another point in my career, after I get to this plateau where everything's working fine. I get the book written, I'm going on a one-man crusade to help educate black consumers, minority consumers, so we can start buying from companies that do business with us. And that's really been, that would be the final chapter of my career; that I've done very well in creating the strategies for companies who get it to do well, but now we have to go after those companies who don't get it.