Vintage instagram style photo of skyscrapers in Manhattan at sunset, New York City, USA.

“The rich teach their children to acquire. Middle-class people teach theirs to sell. Poor people teach theirs consumption.” — William Pickard, millionaire manufacturer

In a reception event overlooking the White House and Department of the Treasury, a who’s who among Washington’s blacks in business gathered for a forum related to building and maintaining wealth.

Real Times Media’s wealth and wisdom speakers’ series, “Titans of the Industry,” has some of the nation’s top African-American business and financial leaders speaking on attaining and maintaining wealth. The Titans of Industry is a tutorial orchestrated by Real Times Media CEO Hiram Jackson to meet other like-minded people and inculcate invaluable financial tools to African-Americans to leverage their trillion-dollar-plus gross national income into viable and sustainable wealth.

The series tour features William F. Pickard, CEO of Regal Plastics Company (manufacturer of plastic parts for automotive and other industries) and owner/operator of multiple McDonald’s restaurant franchises. The Titans series is an ideal networking event for baby boomers, Generation Xers and millennials to engage in wealth building activities and with successful entrepreneurs.

“Blacks should have substantive and concrete conversations about money, being proud of making money, and then developing strategies into growing wealth and transferring it to the next generation,” Jackson said, adding that Real Time “helps blacks communicate” and publishes six weekly newspapers: the Atlanta Daily World, Chicago Defender, Michigan Chronicle, The Michigan FrontPage, New Pittsburgh Courier and the Tri-State Defender in Memphis.

In the D.C. leg of the tour, the discussion focused on blacks building and maintaining long-term wealth and featured former Verizon President Marie Johns, Smith Reed law firm partner A. Scott Bolden, ChemicoMays President and CEO Leon Richardson, wealth coach Deborah Owens and Prudential Vice President Alicia Alston.

A common thread throughout the forum was the importance of financial planning. Study data presented at the event showed average income for a white family as $74,000 and the average black family at $18,000. The studies revealed that poor planning to be serious detriment to a family’s financial position and not taking advantage of financial and investment tools that help with retirement planning negatively affects long-term wealth creation.

Are blacks a permanent underclass? Basically, African-Americans have no wealth or influence and depend on whites for subsistence. Pickard says that blacks need “to make our finances a priority” and illustrate that we understand that America’s business is business.

Johns, a former deputy administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration, a federal agency which provides small businesses with access to capital and government contracts, counseling and training, pointed out that “blacks should encourage and support entrepreneurship.”

“We all have that opportunity in the consumer decisions that we make and in the purchases that we do to support black businesses,” Johns said.

Successful Washingtonians in attendance such as Armentha “Mike” Cruise, president and CEO of The Aspen Group, and Karl Racine, D.C.’s first elected attorney general, who said blacks “need to work hard in a collective manner. We have to be conscious to amass thing of value to pass along to the next generation.”

Malcolm Beech of the National Business League encourages blacks to “start investment clubs” and hold regular conversations about investments, mutual funds and annuities.

Dorinda Walker, director of Women and Multicultural Marketing for Prudential’s U.S. business, said Prudential has over $1 trillion under management and “is bringing financial empowerment to African-American communities.”

Prudential gave $1 million to fund construction of the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Prudential gave $2 million more for five-year sponsorship of the museum’s “Power of Place” exhibition.

Walker, a supporter of the Titans tour, said Prudential offers sales and business professionals access to a diverse marketplace and actively seek employees, vendors and business associates eager to build with Prudential in the financial services industry.

William Reed is publisher of “Who’s Who in Black Corporate America” and available for projects via

William Reed

William Reed is President and Chief Executive Officer of Black Press International. He has been a Media Entrepreneur for over two decades. A well-trained marketing and communications professional, Reed...

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