Paula Madison (Courtesy photo)

Three notable individuals known for supporting African American and minority communities will be recognized by the Los Angeles Urban League during the 48th annual Whitney M. Young Jr. Awards.

Paula Madison, CEO of Madison Media Management; Martin Muoto, founder and managing partner of Sola Impact; and Sekou Kaalund, executive vice president of U.S. Bank; will be honored during the gala affair on Thursday, May 18, at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, 9876 Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills.

Bishop T.D. Jakes, chairman and CEO of the T.D. Jakes Group, will share keynote remarks and KTLA anchor Chris Schauble will co-host the event along with KTLA reporter Megan Telles.

Singer Denee Benton and the Inner-City Youth Orchestra will provide the entertainment.


Martin Muoto (Courtesy photo)

The program includes VIP red carpet and cocktail reception hosted by Intuit which begins at 5:30 p.m. and dinner at 6:30 p.m.  The theme is ‘Building for Tomorrow,’ which acknowledges LAUL’s long history of advocacy on behalf of African Americans and other minorities to access living wages, ensure business opportunities and realize pathways to personal and professional growth.

“The Whitney M. Young, Jr. Awards Dinner hosts powerful and influential business and community leaders, celebrities, and legislators who are also passionate about solving the significant issues of our time such as equality and justice,” said Ambassador Michael A. Lawson, LAUL president/CEO.

“We are grateful for the generosity of all the supporters and sponsors of this incredible event who help us advance our mission of advocating for African Americans and other minorities,” added Cynthia Heard, COO of the iconic civil rights organization.


Sekou Kaalund (Courtesy photo)

Madison is often lauded for her contributions to advancing African Americans in the media industry. A trailblazer in the field, she began her journalism career as a reporter at the Syracuse Herald Journal and later worked as a television news manager and executive in Dallas, Tulsa, and Houston.

Serving next as assistant news director at NBC4 in New York City, she promoted to the station’s vice president and news director in 1996.  Also, Madison was named senior vice president of diversity for NBC.  She was appointed KNBC president/general manager in 2000, becoming the first African American woman to direct a top news network. Seven years later, Madison was named executive vice president and chief diversity officer of NBC Universal and the parent company, GE, named her a company officer and vice president.

While currently heading her own company, Madison still donates her time and talents to several community organizations such as Greater Los Angeles United Way, California Science Center Foundation, and the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education. She is also the recipient of numerous awards and commendations.

Bishop T.D. Jakes (Courtesy photo)

Muoto boasts a comparable record of working on behalf of the less fortunate. His company, SoLa Impact, develops high-quality, affordable and workforce housing exclusively in Black and Brown communities. The firm positively impacts community and investor returns by emphasizing access to housing, education, opportunity, and home ownership.

Under his leadership, SoLa Impact has become the 7th fastest-growing minority-led private company and recognized as the leading Opportunity Zone fund in the nation.   According to his bio, “SoLa Impact’s funds have attracted a number of leading investors seeking yield while also committed to diversity and inclusion and delivering impact through ESG initiatives.”

Prior to launching SoLa Impact, Muoto worked at various technology companies and was a venture capital partner at Accretive Partners and General Atlantic Partners in New York.

Diversity and inclusion are prevalent throughout Kaalund’s career. A veteran banking executive, he has a reputation for developing talent, forming inclusive teams, and connecting people with opportunities while achieving revenue growth and profitable client relationships.

As an executive at JPMorgan Chase, Kaalund created Advancing Black Pathways to reduce the racial wealth gap. The success of the global initiative resulted in the hiring of thousands of Black students, providing millions of dollars in capital to Black businesses, and led to a historic five-year firm-wide $30B commitment to advance racial equity.

Since joining U.S. Bank last year, Kaalund serves as executive vice president and oversees Branch and Small Business banking, which consists of 2,200+ branches across 26 states. His efforts have led to recognition as INROADS 2023 Alumni of the Year, NABA 2022 President’s Award for Leadership, Ebony Magazine’s 2020 Power 100 list, and World of Money 2019 Wall Street Legacy Award.

The life of Bishop Jakes is characterized by his enduring service to others. A minister by profession, his activities extend well beyond the church walls.

His ministry and marketplace model builds bridges across industries as diverse as entertainment, government, business and real estate. The T.D. Jakes Foundation aims to uplift communities, educate all ages on STEAM subjects, and connect corporations to new, highly-skilled pools of talent.

An advisor to three U.S. Presidents, Jakes founded The Potter’s House, a non-denominational global church with 30,000+ members. He reaches more than 80 million homes a day through online and broadcast ministries. Also, he is the author of more than 40 best-selling books including “Crushing,” “Instinct,” and “Don’t Drop the Mic.”

LAUL’s Whitney M. Young Awards Dinner is sponsored by First Citizens Bank, U.S. Bank, the Smidt Foundation, Annenberg Foundation, Stocker Street Creative, JPMorgan Chase & Co., American Airlines, American Honda Motor Co., Inc., Cedars Sinai, Intuit, Health Net, KTLA-TV, Lakers Youth Foundation, NBC/Telemundo, NFL Players Association (NFLPA), Sony Pictures Entertainment, and Universal Music Group and many others.


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