Crain's New York Notable Black Leaders & Executives


For a year destined to go down in infamy, 2020 was not without glimmers of goodness.


As matters of race took center stage during the summer, we witnessed a remarkable outpouring of support for the Black community, even as the nation looked inward and found itself wanting. In a movement that not even a pandemic could overshadow, Americans flooded streets from coast to coast and, in the tradition of the civil rights greats before them, demanded justice.


But America’s Black community is about so much more than the centuries-long accretion of systemic inequities. It is a community characterized by mettle and dignity, by fraternity and daring and resilience. It is a community of individuals and organizations whose achievements are all the more meaningful for the impediments that many, if not most, still must face.


It is with this in mind that we selected these 94 honorees for our 2021 list of Notable Black Leaders and Executives. Our aim was to spotlight Black men and women who have affected our city with their professional, communal and philanthropic achievements, particularly in matters of diversity and inclusion. Hailing from an assortment of industries, the talented individuals that made the cut do our city proud.


We are delighted to present them to you.


To find these honorees, we consulted with trusted sources in the Black community and in the New York City business world generally. We vetted nominations submitted by individuals and companies in the area. Ultimately, all of our honorees were chosen for their career accomplishments as well as their broader community involvement.


Read on to discover how the individuals that grace this list help make our city stand up and stand out each day.


Minorities and women make up more than half the ranks of the financial services firm Siebert Williams Shank & Co., making it one of the most diverse firms on Wall Street. William Thompson, a former New York City comptroller, is its senior managing director and a partner. The firm has been involved in bond transactions that helped the Metropolitan Transportation Authority improve mass transit.


Those transactions also helped the city enhance public facilities. Thompson, chair of the City University of New York board of trustees, also chaired Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s task force on Minority- and Women-Owned Business Enterprises participation in state contracts.


He is a board member of the Doe Fund, which helps New York’s homeless and previously incarcerated people access career services and housing. Thompson also is on the board of the Afro Latin Jazz Alliance, which provides musical education to the city’s public school students.


February 15, 2021

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