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Black Business Leaders Inducted Into Hall of Fame at Black Entrepreneurs Event in Los Angeles

October 3, 2018

Black Business Leaders Inducted Into Hall of Fame at Black Entrepreneurs Event in Los Angeles

Event hosted by the Hart Leadership Center and City National Bank

LOS ANGELES – City National Bank, America’s Premier Private and Business Bank®, today announced the winners of the second annual “Black Business Leaders Hall of Fame” event held with the Hart Leadership Center. The Sept. 26 event celebrated and honored entrepreneurs and their businesses within the Black community of Los Angeles.

Inductees into the Hall of Fame were:

  • The Excellence in Community & Philanthropy category honors businesses that have demonstrated concern for the community above and beyond their own self-preservation.
    • Winner: Jenesse Center Inc., a domestic violence intervention program established in 1980. Karen Earl

  • The Perseverance & Sustainability category honors businesses that have demonstrated tenacity, strength and determination to continue moving forward in the face of life and business adversities.
    •  Winner: Los Angeles Sentinel, one of the oldest, largest and most influential African-American newspapers in the Western U.S. Danny Bakewell, Jr.

  • The Biddy Mason Business of the Year category honors businesses that have demonstrated excellence through exceptional financial returns, strong growth, innovative strategies and market leadership.
    • Winner: Ivie, McNeill & Wyatt, one of the largest black-owned law firms in the nation. Rickey Ivie

  • The Ruby Bridges Pioneer in Education category honors businesses that have promoted innovative strategies in education.
    • Winner: Black Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles, a nonprofit dedicated to charitable, educational and community services. Syna Dennis

  • The Entertainment, Innovation & Technology category honors businesses for their excellence in providing services or products in innovative ways.
    • Winner: Information Management Resources Incorporated (IMRI), which provides technology and engineering services. Martha Daniel

  • The Entrepreneurial Rising Stars category honors young entrepreneurs who have demonstrated hard work and determination as they pursue success.
    • Winner: Hidden Empire Film Group, an entertainment firm that creates innovative content. Deon Taylor

“These successful Black entrepreneurs are key to the economic growth of our community and Los Angeles,” said Karen A. Clark, multicultural strategy manager with City National Bank. “Many of them have overcome obstacles and persevered to create these thriving businesses. City National and its colleagues are deeply committed to supporting business leaders and entrepreneurs on the way up, and that is why we launched this unique event.”

“Recognizing the important role that the Black business community plays here is long overdue, and it is an honor to recognize these great Black business leaders,” said Ed Hart, president of the Hart Leadership Center and co-founder of the Hart Leadership Foundation, who added that proceeds from this event will be donated to a local school district.

The Black Business Leaders Hall of Fame event was launched in 2016; this second annual event featured Reginald Hudlin, a pioneer of the Black film movement who was an executive producer and writer of the television series “Black Panther” and executive producer of “The Boondocks.” It also featured Wren T. Brown, a fourth-generation Angeleno and actor, producer and director who has dozens of film, television and theater credits. The emcee was Pat Prescott, morning show host for Smooth Jazz the Wave, 94.7 FM radio.

About City National Bank

With $48.9 billion in assets, City National Bank provides banking, investment and trust services through 72 offices, including 19 full-service regional centers, in Southern California, the San Francisco Bay Area, Nevada, New York City, Nashville, Atlanta, Minneapolis and Washington, D.C. In addition, the company and its investment affiliates manage or administer $67.3 billion in client investment assets.

City National is a subsidiary of Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), one of North America’s leading diversified financial services companies. RBC serves more than 16 million personal, business, public sector and institutional clients through offices in Canada, the United States and 34 other countries.

For more information about City National, visit the company’s website at

About the Hart Leadership Center Foundation

The mission of the Hart Leadership Center Foundation is to honor and recognize current great leaders, and to invest in the development of the leaders of the future. They do this through a series of hall of fame events, leadership development programs, one-on-one coaching, and through educating the next generation of leaders. They partner with great companies, organizations, and individuals to create opportunity where it otherwise might not have existed.