Gwen Fisher replaces James Pomeroy to lead the marketing and communications operations at Tyco Plastic & Adhesives. Pomeroy will now oversee strategic marketing and communications at Tyco Engineered Products & Services. Fisher, who joined the company in 2003, was director of corporate media relations at Tyco Inter-national. Prior to joining Tyco, she was manager of global product communications at Merck & Co.
Norm Jenkins was named senior vice president for North American lodging development at Marriott International. He will lead all development efforts related to minority ownership while overseeing Marriott’s diversity ownership initiative. Jenkins joined Marriott in 1992 as senior manager for the internal audit group. He serves on the board of Marriott’s Employee Federal Credit Union, the Metropolitan Community Development Corp., Howard University School of Business Accounting Advisory Board and the National Association of Black Accountants, where he is national president and CEO.
U.S. Rep. Mel Watt (D-N.C.)
U.S. Rep. Mel Watt (D-N.C.) was elected chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, replacing Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.). Watt, whose district stretches from Charlotte through the Winston-Salem-Greensboro region, became North Carolina’s second Black member of Congress since the 19th century when he was first elected in 1992. His district has the state’s second-highest concentration of Democratic voters. In 1970 he received a J.D. degree from Yale University Law School and was a published member of the Yale Law Journal.
Martha J. Thomas
Martha J. Thomas is the new assistant vice president for community and government relations at SUNY Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. She will continue as the official campus governmental relations officer and become more actively involved in strategic planning. Thomas will be responsible for researching and providing the institution’s position on issues related to pending legislation on health and education while continuing to be the liaison for the academic medical center and the community.
Todd Corley was named vice president of diversity at Abercrombie & Fitch. He will report to Robert Singer, president and chief operating officer. In his most recent role, Corley was senior manager of diversity at Starwood Hotels & Resorts, where he helped launch Starwood’s diversity and inclusion initiative and implement its diversity-related programs and policies. Prior to Starwood, he was a senior consultant and area leader in Towers Perrin’s global diversity and change management practice. Corley has an M.B.A. from Georgetown University.
Desiree Reid was appointed general manager for the Sean John toiletries division of Estee Lauder Cos. She will lead the creation and marketing of the new line of fragrance products under the Sean John license. For the past five years, Reid was general manager and vice president of marketing for IMAN Cosmetics and IMAN Makeup. During her tenure there she developed a host of skin care and color products while bringing the IMAN brands into the international market. Reid also spent eight years with Revlon’s Product Development group. She has a B.A. in marketing from Pace University.
Obituaries, Shirley Chisholm
Shirley Chisholm, the first Black woman elected to the U.S. Congress, died on Jan. 2. She was 80. A daughter of Caribbean immigrants, she went to Congress in 1968 to represent New York and served until two years into Ronald Reagan’s presidency. Chisholm herself ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic Party’s nomination for the presidency in 1972. She graduated cum laude from Brooklyn College and earned a master’s degree from Columbia University. Asked what her legacy might be, Chisholm commented, “I’d like them to say that Shirley Chisholm had guts.”
Edgar Allan Toppin
Edgar Allan Toppin, a significant figure in turning Black History Week into Black History Month in 1976, died of heart failure on Dec. 8, 2004. Professor emeritus at Virginia State University, Toppin was a nationally known expert on African-American culture. Born in Harlem in 1928, Toppin was 16 and already working when he earned a place in the tuition-free New York City College. He won a scholarship to Howard University, where he earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees.