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Ronald Brown

Atlanta Life Financial Group President and CEO Ronald DeWayne Brown was born on August 1, 1953 in Cleveland, Ohio to Bettye Williams and Clifford Brown. He was raised in New York City by his mother and stepfather, Gifford Williams. Brown was a graduate of Morehouse College with a B.A. degree in political science and economics. He was also a graduate of the Financial Management Program at Columbia University School of Business.

Brown began his career in 1977 working with Equifax in Atlanta, Georgia where he held various managerial positions. In 1988, he began his tenure with the Dun and Bradstreet Corporation and its successor companies, becoming the President and CEO of Sales Technology. There, he developed sales force automation software for the consumer packaged goods and pharmaceutical industries and was instrumental in taking the company public. In 1998, Brown became the CEO of Strategic Technologies, a premier market research firm with operations in 90 countries. By 2000, Brown was the President of Synavant, a global leader in customer relationship management software and solutions for the pharmaceutical industry.

In 2001, Brown joined the board of directors of Atlanta Life and became the CEO and managing partner of Variant Group. Charles E. Cornelius, President of Atlanta Life Financial Group retired, and in 2004, Brown was appointed the sixth President and CEO in the 100 year history of Atlanta Life Financial. He was also the Chairman of Jackson Securities, a full service investment bank, now affiliated with Atlanta Life, founded by the late mayor of Atlanta, Maynard Jackson.

Brown served as a business mentor at Morehouse College and the Georgia 100 Mentor program. He was the 2005 recipient of the Rainbow PUSH Wall Street Project Entrepreneur of the Year Award and the Business Advisor of the Year Award. He was also a member of the 100 Black Men of Atlanta Executive Committee and the Rotary Club of Atlanta.

Brown passed away on April 28, 2008 at age 54.

Brown was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 28, 2007.

Accession Number

A2007.115

Sex

Male

Archival Photo 1
Interview Date

3/28/2007

Last Name

Brown

Maker Category
Middle Name

DeWayne

Schools

George Washington Carver Elementary School

P.S. 129 John H. Finley School

P.S. 139 Frederick Douglass School

J.H.S. 104 Simon Baruch

Seward Park High School

Morehouse College

Archival Photo 2
First Name

Ronald

Birth City, State, Country

Cleveland

HM ID

BRO43

Favorite Season

Fall

Sponsor

AON

State

Ohio

Favorite Vacation Destination

Cabo San Lucas, New York City

Favorite Quote

The More You Sweat During Times Of Peace, The Less You Bleed During Times Of War.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Interview Description
Birth Date

8/1/1953

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Thanksgiving Dinner

Death Date

4/28/2008

Short Description

Investment chief executive Ronald Brown (1953 - 2008 ) was the President and CEO of Sales Technology for Dun and Bradstreet Corporation, served on the board of directors of Atlanta Life Financial Group, and was appointed President and CEO of Atlanta Life Financial Group.

Employment

Equifax, Inc.

First Atlanta Bank, N.A.

Sales Technologies, Inc.

Atlanta Life Financial Group, Inc.

Main Sponsor
Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Ronald Brown's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Ronald Brown lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Ronald Brown describes his maternal grandfather

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Ronald Brown describes his maternal grandmother

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Ronald Brown talks about his mother's college education

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Ronald Brown describes his paternal grandmother

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Ronald Brown describes his father's upbringing

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Ronald Brown describes his father's golf career

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Ronald Brown describes his relationship with his parents

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Ronald Brown describes how his parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Ronald Brown remembers moving to his mother's home in New York City

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Ronald Brown talks about his parents' move to Cleveland, Ohio

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Ronald Brown lists his siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Ronald Brown describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Ronald Brown remembers the community of Bessemer, Alabama

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Ronald Brown remembers George Washington Carver Elementary School in Bessemer, Alabama

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Ronald Brown remembers living for the summer in Brooklyn, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Ronald Brown recalls his relocation to New York City

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Ronald Brown talks about his stepfather

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Ronald Brown describes his early education in New York City

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Ronald Brown remembers his teacher, H.W. Brendle

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Ronald Brown describes his extracurricular activities

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Ronald Brown describes the sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Ronald Brown describes the sights of New York City

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Ronald Brown remembers his mother's involvement in the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Ronald Brown remembers Seward Park High School in New York City

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Ronald Brown remembers his experiences in the Baptist church

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Ronald Brown talks about his early understanding of racial identity

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Ronald Brown talks about the political climate of the 1960s

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Ronald Brown remembers his decision to attend Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Ronald Brown describes his experiences at Morehouse College

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Ronald Brown remembers his influences at Morehouse College

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Ronald Brown describes his part time work experiences

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Ronald Brown describes his social life at Morehouse College

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Ronald Brown describes his early career

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Ronald Brown remembers his roles at Sales Technologies, Inc.

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Ronald Brown recalls the expansion of Sales Technologies, Inc.

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Ronald Brown remembers his tenure as the CEO of Sales Technologies, Inc.

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Ronald Brown remembers the initial public offering of Sales Technologies, Inc.

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Ronald Brown remembers his introduction to international business, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Ronald Brown remembers his introduction to international business, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Ronald Brown talks about his family

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Ronald Brown recalls his career at Synavant, Inc.

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Ronald Brown recalls joining the board of the Atlanta Life Financial Group

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Ronald Brown describes the history of the Atlanta Life Insurance Company

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Ronald Brown recalls his appointment as the CEO of the Atlanta Life Financial Group

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Ronald Brown describes the Atlanta Life Financial Group's role in the community

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Ronald Brown talks about the future of the Atlanta Life Financial Group

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Ronald Brown talks about Jesse Hill's role in the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Ronald Brown describes his commitment to minority financial education

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Ronald Brown talks about his board memberships

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Ronald Brown describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Ronald Brown reflects upon his life

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Ronald Brown reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Ronald Brown shares a message to future generations

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Ronald Brown narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

1$6

DAStory

8$6

DATitle
Ronald Brown describes his father's golf career
Ronald Brown talks about Jesse Hill's role in the Civil Rights Movement
Transcript
And what did he--what was his occupation?$$My father [Clifford Brown] was one of the first blacks to ever play on the PGA Tour [Professional Golfers' Association].$$Okay. Tell me about that.$$Well, it was during a time period where you weren't making Tiger Woods money, that's for sure. A lot of the purses were significantly smaller then. He started late. He got his love for golf as a caddy there in Alabama. And naturally, after he'd finished caddying he'd stay out on the course and hit the ball a little while. And it got to a point where people saw that he could really hit a golf ball, and actually got to play with some of the, the white men that were members of the club there in Alabama, and did very well. And the rest, as they say, is, is history. But it was a tough history because of a series of things that happened, based on how difficult it was to, to fit in. Golf at the time was your quintessential white man's game. And for my father, to be able to do it and do it well, there were a lot of hardships, not the least of which was when he would go to play in a tournament, he wasn't allowed to stay in any of the hotels. So, there were times when my father would go to a tournament and have to sleep in his car and have to shave at, in the restroom of a gas station and then go out and play against Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer and Lee Trevino.$$So those were some of the golfers that he played against?$$And beat, yes.$$Okay. What year are we talking about? What years?$$Early '60s [1960s].$$Early '60s [1960s], okay.$$There's a, a tremendous story that my father told me about a tournament that he was playing in, in Tennessee. And whether you're aware of this, but they, they feed all of the, the PGA. The card carrying PGA pros get to go into the clubhouse and eat, and you know, they always put on these big spreads, these extravagant meals for them. And they wouldn't allow my father in the clubhouse. And only one golfer stood up for him and said, "If you don't let him in, I won't come in either, and I'll protest this." And ironically, it was Gary Player from South Africa.$$Very interesting.$Is there anything that we have not talked about, about Atlanta Life [Atlanta Life Financial Group, Atlanta, Georgia] that you would like to, to tell us?$$Well, I think it's important to recognize that a major part of Atlanta Life's history took place during the civil rights era. And it took place during Jesse Hill's tenure when actually allowed Atlanta Life employees to leave work and go and work as deputized individuals to register people to vote in the City of Atlanta [Georgia]. And all of the progress that we've seen here in the City of Atlanta now, particularly the diversification process, a lot of that stemmed from the work that was done by Atlanta Life employees and that they were given the opportunity to do that because of the vision that, that Jesse Hill had for what this city could be and what the southeast could be. So everything from having the phones answered here from the SCLC [Southern Christian Leadership Conference] when they were trying to tap all of Dr. King's [Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.] phones, to in this very room where we are right now, the funeral arrangements for Coretta Scott King were made with all of the King children sitting in some of the same chairs that we're sitting in right now.