Wednesday, March 25, 2009

NFL Players Being Led By Successful Black Lawyer

DeMaurice Smith, a partner with powerful Washington law firm Patton Boggs, was recently named Executive Director of the NFL Players Association, the union representing all players in the most-lucrative league in professional sports. Smith is a Washington, D.C., native and spent many years in the D.C. legal system after graduating from the University of Virginia's law school in 1989. He has close ties to Attorney General Eric Holder and President Barack Obama and is expected to bring a fresh perspective and grounded leadership to the union during a potentially tumultuous time as the NFL's owners and players have yet to reach a contract agreement past 2009, known as a Collective Bargaining Agreement. Aside from his legal work, Smith is also on the Board of Directors for the Good Samaritan Foundation, a D.C.-based organization co-founded by former Washington Redskins player and Hall of Famer Art Monk to assist in fulfilling the educational and social needs of inner city youth.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

A Role Model for Young Men and Women Alike

When CNN's Jack Cafferty is raving about you, you know something must be going right for you. That's Michelle Obama these days. Sure, her husband, Barack, became the first Black man to become President of the United States with a awe-inspiring mix of composure, charisma and political savvy, but it's his wife who has wowed Washington with everything from her hospitality to her fashion sense. This is a real role model if I've ever seen one.

A woman who knows her strengths as an individual and professional - she was a senior official at the University of Chicago before going on hiatus to campaign for her husband - and, more importantly, knows the power that comes from her current job as First Lady. Laura Bush, Hillary Clinton and Nancy Reagan each had her own areas of focus and pet projects, but from Michelle we get the sense that the role of First Lady has never been so broad and inspiring. She's a mother of two young daughters, but she's also an adviser to her husband, not far removed from being a state senator in Illinois.

Real Role Models doesn't profile the First Lady, nor any other famous Black professionals, but it goes without saying that she is amongst a select group of nationally-captivating people, the kind of person who not only inspires young black girls, but also black women and not only black women, but women in general. And, I know I'm not the only man who watches her in admiration and awe. Wondering how Barack ever got so lucky. Being her husband, not the president, has to be the most important job in his life.