(L to R) Donna Brazile, Tina Flournoy, Minyon Moore, Yolanda Caraway and Leah Daughtry
Black women with power and influence in America
Though Black History is celebrated annually during the month of February, “real” Black History occurs throughout the entire year. The role of Black women down through the ages have always been as the vanguard of civilization and the sheer power and influence of their presence on society clearly illustrate the values, customs and norms of society. A sampling of such a group of Black women whose presence demonstrates power and influence in America are Donna Brazile, Tina Flournoy, Minyon Moore, Yolanda Caraway and Leah Daughtry.
As the first African American woman to run a “successful” presidential campaign, Donna Brazile became the unsung hero of the 2000 Democratic presidential campaign. The historical importance of Brazile as the campaign manager of the presidential campaign was that though her candidate received a majority of the popular vote, he was denied the presidency. Notwithstanding, despite her hard work and tremendous sacrifice that made her candidate capture the majority vote, five of the nine justices in the U.S. Supreme Court – and the Electoral College – saw it differently. So she moved on.
In 2004, Brazile wrote “Cooking with Grease,” a memoir of her life and times – which began in the New Orleans area – that laid out some of the behind-the-scenes trappings of the 2000 campaign and the other campaigns in which she was involved. Her story is a powerful account of political tenacity and the rise of a Black woman from Kenner, Louisiana – where she was born – to the halls of power in Washington, D. C. and beyond. The story of Brazile’s rise in the rough-and-tumble world of national politics is the story of every Black woman; she sub-titled the cover of her book, “Stirring the Pots in American Politics,” and it was most fitting.Brazile wanted to be – and actually became – a registered Democratic, not only in words, but in deeds.
Even though she is mostly associated with the 2000 presidential campaign, Brazile has worked on many presidential campaigns including Carter/Mondale in 1976 and 1980; Jesse Jackson in the 1984 primary; Mondale/Ferraro in 1984; Richard Gephardt in the 1988 primary; and Dukakis/Bentsen in 1988. Her political activism coupled with her commitment to social equality made her one of the most outspoken and forceful political activists on the scene today.
Since the 2000 election, Brazile has traveled from state to state in furtherance of electing Democratic Party candidates. As chair of the Democratic National Committee’s Voting Rights Institute, she works tirelessly to promote and protect the rights of all Americans to participate in the political process. In addition to her work as a campaign advisor, she has contributed to CNN’s Inside Politics, Late Edition and American Morning. As a columnist for “Roll Call,” Brazile has taught at the University of Maryland, Harvard’s Institute of Politics and Georgetown University. She is the founder and managing director of Brazile & Associates, a political consulting grassroots advocacy firm in the nation’s capital that works towards successful political campaigning and campaign management, message development, media and communication tactics, and internet and new technologies.
During the 2008 presidential campaign, on the “The Colbert Report,” Brazile, a super-delegate in the Democratic Party, was asked which of the candidates she would be supporting. She replied, “I’m a woman, so I like Hilary (Clinton); I’m Black, I like (Barack) Obama; but I’m also grumpy, so I like John McCain.”
HARTINA “TINA” FLOURNOY
As the assistant to the president for Public Policy at the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) union, which represents over 1.4 million members (mostly teachers), Tina Flournoy directs the work of the AFT’s legislative, political, field and mobilization and human rights and community outreach departments. She is also a member of the AFT’s internal operating committee.
With over 25 years of experience in management, government relations, legal and legislative matters in both the private and public sectors, Flournoy has held legal and political positions with the Democratic Party’s National Committee transition team; and has held positions in the Gore 2000 Presidential Campaign; the 1996 Clinton/Gore Campaign; as chief counsel in the White House Office of Presidential personnel and the 1992 Clinton/Gore Presidential Transition Office. She also served as general counsel for the 1992 Democratic National Convention’s management team.
As a law clerk to the Honorable Julia Cooper Mack of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals, Flournoy actually began her upward mobility quietly, and away from the glare and glitter of inside the beltway politics. However, her legal talents placed her front and center when she joined the Democratic convention team; after Ron Brown won the race for the national committee’s chairmanship in 1989, he hired Flournoy as legal counsel for the party’s 1992 national convention.
Flournoy had previously worked in Rev. Jesse Jackson’s 1984 campaign for president and she credited that campaign for developing leaders within the African-American community saying, “Right now, African-Americans may form the largest single bloc of at-large DNC members.” That experience helped to catapult her to the national convention.
She has been affiliated with a number of professional, civic and political organizations including the DNC as a member, past co-chair, member of the Rules and Bylaws Committee, and also as a member of the DNC’s commission on Presidential Nomination Timing and Scheduling.
Flournoy brought the above experiences to the AFT as the assistant to the president for Public Policy. In addition, she led a study group at the Institute of Politics (IOP) at Harvard University in 2009. It was a part of the Politics of Public Education focusing on IOP’s programs including political discussion and debates, community service and innovative public policy research. Her previous involvement in the Democratic Party was a windfall to the institute.
Minyon Moore joined Dewey Square Group as a principal in 2002 and heads its successful state and local affairs practice. She is considered one of the nation’s top strategic thinkers. Clients from Fortune 100 companies to non-profit start-ups have turned to Moore for her skills in developing effective strategies to address emerging consumer markets. She specializes in building coalitions and brand awareness strategies for corporations while at the same time effectively addressing their state and local public policy issues.
Moore has unparalleled knowledge and understanding of the political and public policy arena, a result of her extensive background in this realm. As CEO of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), Moore was directly responsible for the day-to-day management and oversight of the party’s activities including political operations, communications, research strategy and fundraising, as well as fiscal and administrative operations with an operating budget of $100 million dollars.
Before she went to the DNC directing its operations, Moore served as assistant to the President of the United States and director of White House Political Affairs and of the White House Public Liaison. There she served as the principal adviser to the President Bill Clinton, Vice President Al Gore, First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton and the senior White House staff. Her primary responsibility was for planning outreach and directing the political activities of the White House. Moore was chosen by Washingtonian Magazine as one of the most powerful women in Washington, DC.
Moore is a native of Chicago, Illinois and attended the University of Illinois at Chicago where she majored in sociology. She has been a guest lecturer at the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government and Yale University. She recently earned a degree in digital filmmaking at Boston University’s Campus in Washington, DC and plans to produce and direct films.
Moore also worked as an advisor to the presidential campaigns of Rev. Jesse Jackson in 1984 and 1988, and as national deputy field director for Michael Dukakis. In 2004, she worked on presidential candidate John Kerry’s minority outreach program. In addition, she is also a founder of the first national African American women’s political action committee, “Women Building for the Future / The Future PAC.”
Yolanda H. Caraway is the founder, president and CEO of one of the few woman- and minority-owned communications and public affairs consulting firms in Washington, DC, the Caraway Group (TCG). It was founded 25 years ago by Caraway, a nationally recognized political and public relations strategist, to coordinate major undertakings of private and public organizations. Her client list has included Fortune 500 companies, policy-changing nonprofit organizations and many of today’s movers-and-shakers in every aspect of communications.
Some of her more well-known named clients have been private U.S. corporations such as Microsoft, MGM Mirage, Bristol Myers Squibb, MCI, Mitsubishi and Texaco; governmental such as and nonprofit agencies such as the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, and U.S. Dept. of Commerce; and non-profits such as Center for American Progress, NATO 50th Anniversary Summit, and Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial Foundation Project.
Caraway and TCG also coordinate major undertakings for the Democratic Party, which showcased her years of organizational ability and management expertise.
Her major undertakings include: Deputy Assistant Political Director for the Mondale/Ferraro ’84 General Election; Director of the DNC’s Fairness Commission (1985); Chief of Staff of the National Rainbow Coalition, 1988 Jesse Jackson for President Campaign; and Deputy Chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) under Chairman Paul G. Kirk.
Caraway was instrumental in the historic election of the late Secretary of Commerce Ron Brown as chairman of the DNC in 1989. Her intimate knowledge and expertise of the DNC led the chairman to appoint her to serve as his senior advisor at the party headquarters. Her main responsibility was the management of the site selection process for the 1992 Democratic National Convention. Prior to that Caraway had served as the National Coordinator for the first Mayor’s Urban Summit in 1990 that was hosted by then-mayor David N. Dinkins of New York City. Because of the summit’s success, it became a model for subsequent mayoral summits.
In 1992, after the Democratic Convention and the election of President Bill Clinton, Chairman Brown again selected Caraway to serve as his deputy for the President Inaugural Committee. Then in 1998, Caraway was appointed vice chair of the 2000 Site Advisory Committee and later produced “Democracy Live! 2000,” a series of live “talk-show” type broadcasts that were designed to reach cable audiences and capitalize on the Internet during the 2000 Democratic National Convention.
In the aftermath of 9/11, TCG represented the U.S. Army’s recruiting efforts with the flood of Americans wanting to enlist in the wake of the tragedy. And her firm has also served as counsel for the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the National Museum of African American History and Culture, BET Networks, Kaiser Permanente, and others.
TCG is a real “home grown” corporation having its first official office in Caraway’s home. And now more than 20 years later, it has become one of the leaders in diversity public relations. This achievement was due to Caraway’s political acumen as a veteran of Democratic politics. Since 1988, she has been a member of the DNC’s Standing Committee on Rules and she is currently also on the Standing Committee on Resolutions.
Caraway is on the Council on American Politics, a part of The George Washington University School of Political Management, a group of impressive women and men in the forefront of today’s politics on both sides of the aisle.
REV. LEAH D. DAUGHTRY
The Reverend Leah D. Daughtry is a nationally recognized teacher, preacher, speaker, organizer, leader, and Democratic strategist. Throughout her career, she has sought to bring sound, principled leadership, business, and management practices to organizations that seek to enhance and improve the lives of the people with and for whom she worked.
As president and CEO of On These Things, LLC (OTT), Daughtry provides strategic and event planning, issue advocacy, and organizational management consulting services to a broad array of businesses and organizations. She possesses the rare ability to manage people, processes, and policies equally well. This is clearly demonstrated through her proven capacity to manage multi-billion dollar budgets, lead complex human resource portfolios, develop internal and external communications strategies, and assist clients in managing transitions and organizational change.
Rev. Daughtry served as Chief Executive Officer of the 2008 Democratic National Convention Committee, responsible for all aspects of planning and execution of the Democratic Party’s quadrennial presidential nominating convention. She simultaneously served as chief of staff of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), the governing body of the national Democratic Party. She is the creator of Faith In Action, the Democratic Party’s outreach to communities of faith, and was named by Religion News Service as one of the 12 most influential Democrats in the nation on faith and values, politics and issues.
In 2009, Rev. Daughtry served as Resident Fellow at Harvard University’s Institute of Politics, where she focused on the role that faith and values have come to play in American politics. She directs the Democratic Party’s Faith in Action initiative to reach out to Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, and Muslim voters
A native of Brooklyn, New York, Rev. Daughtry held various senior posts at the United States Department of Labor (Assistant Secretary for Labor and Management), the United States Congress, and the Democratic Party. She is the pastor of The House of the Lord Church in Washington, DC. With her ordination in 2002, she joined the fifth consecutive generation of pastors in the Daughtry family. She remains connected to her community through her service on numerous boards of directors, and her involvement in a variety of social, political, and public service initiatives.
Rev. Daughtry graduated from Dartmouth College in 1984 and serves on the Board of Visitors of the College’s Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences.