Saturday, October 30, 2010

Community Champion: Melissa Conrad - Community Benefit

40 Under 40: Georgia's Best & Brightest

Melissa Conrad
Associate Director - Georgia STAND-UP

Conrad was the first employee of this nonprofit (full name is Georgia Strategic Alliance for New Direc-tions and Unified Policies) that bills itself as a “think and act tank for working communities,” redefining neighborhood activism away from “not in my backyard” acrimony.

“Too often, groups are seen as being ‘anti’ something without offering positive solutions,” she says. “What we do is bring folks together – community residents, leaders and activists with government and developers – to be strategic in building more livable communities that benefit everybody.”

She does not so much fight City Hall as engage it in a productive, far-sighted process that ensures, for example, that residents who live near the BeltLine will enjoy economic benefits, employment opportunities and input in its construction.

“Most people want to play a role in civic life, in the progress of their communities, but don’t understand how the system works,” she says. “We give them a cadre of folks with expertise.”
– Source: Georgia Trend Magazine 


Sunday, October 17, 2010

Professional Profile: Aliko Dangote - Priceless Commodity

Aliko Dangote: 

Worth an estimated $2.1bn, Aliko Dangote is one of the richest men in Africa.
 Nigeria's first billionaire cements his fortune 

Lagos, Nigeria (CNN) -- September 28, 2010 --

  • Aliko Dangote became Nigeria's first billionaire in 2007
  • He began his business in 1977 and has built it into a multi-billion dollar conglomerate
  • Dangote's business includes flour, sugar, pasta, clothing and cement
The Dangote Group, which he started in 1977, trading in commodities and building materials, is now a multi-billion dollar conglomerate spanning West Africa.

Today, the business covers flour, sugar, pasta, clothing and cement which made Dangote Nigeria's first billionaire in 2007, according to Forbes magazine.

Forbes said Dangote, 53, began his business at the age of 21 with a loan from his uncle. He studied business studies at Al-Azahar University, Cairo, Egypt.

Dangote said one of his cement factories, 30 minutes from Lagos, is already one of the largest in the world, and there are plans to double its capacity.

He is building another cement factory in Ibese, with workers from Nigeria, China and India.

Dangote is now one of the largest private sector employers in Nigeria, with a nationwide workforce of 12000, a figure that is set to rise with the opening of new factories.

Forbes puts Dangote at number 463 on its 2010 list of the world's billionaires, estimating his fortune to be $2.1bn.

It said that Dangote's commodities had helped him survive Nigeria's financial meltdown last year, although his fortune has diminished from $3.3 bn in 2008.

Dangote told CNN he was motivated to create an African success story and to create employment in his home country.

He said he was proud of his achievements: "I feel great. I'm feeling fulfilled that at least you are doing something great for your country.

"Nigeria is really the best place to invest. It is one of the best places to make money. You know all over the world it is the best kept secret actually in terms of investment."                        ~ Aliko Dangote
His drive is indisputable. Dangote says he works 12-hour days which always begin at 5am.

Despite the trappings of wealth -- he has two private planes and said he can't remember when he last flew on a commercial airline -- Dangote, married with two children, according to Forbes, says he lives a relatively simple life.

"I like exercising a lot," he said. "I go to the gym almost every day and I do about 15 km at least 6 times a week."

Dangote also says he is committed to improving the conditions of those living close to his factory, as part of his philosophy of corporate social responsibility.

Monday, October 4, 2010


Tell people what they should know; don't tell them what they should do. If what you tell them is truly of value; what they now know should inspire them to do.
~ Vincent L. Rogers