NNPA Honors General Motors with 2018 National Meritorious Leadership Award

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Lester A. Booker Jr. (center), the Corporate Giving Communications Lead for General Motors, accepts the 2018 National Meritorious Leadership Award, on behalf of the global automaker at the NNPA’s annual convention in Norfolk, Va. NNPA Chairman Dorothy Leavell (left) and NNPA President and CEO Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr. present the award. (Mark Mahoney/NNPA)


The National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) honored General Motors with the 2018 National Meritorious Leadership Award at the group’s recent annual convention in Norfolk, Va.

The NNPA is the oldest and largest trade group representing Black-owned media companies and newspapers in the United States. NNPA member publications reach an estimated 20 million readers in print and online, combined, every week.

Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr., the president and CEO of the NNPA, said that the trade group enthusiastically presented the award to the automaker.

Dr. Chavis noted that General Motors is the single-largest advertiser with the NNPA and one of the largest financial supporters of the trade group.

“Beyond that, this is our third year working with General Motors to identify, nurture, mentor and provide academic fellowships to the next generation of African American journalism scholars across the nation,” Chavis said. “We are so proud of the NNPA [Discover The Unexpected] fellows.”

The 2018 NNPA Discover The Unexpected (DTU) Journalism Fellows are: Tyvan Burns of Norfolk State University; Diamond Durant of Morgan State University; Daja Henry of Howard University; Denver Lark of North Carolina A&T State University; Natrawn Maxwell of Claflin University; and Ila Wilborn of Florida A&M University.

In 2016, the year the NNPA DTU Journalism Fellowship was launched, the program only accepted applications from Howard University students; in 2017, the application process expanded to Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College and Spelman College. This year, the NNPA DTU Journalism Fellowship program opened the application process to all Historically Black Colleges and Universities nationwide. Dr. Chavis said that he’s looking forward to continuing the growth of the program.

“We are proud of the continued partnership between General Motors and NNPA for nearly 50 years,” said GM Corporate Giving Communications Lead Lester Booker Jr. “As GM works toward a future with zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion, we recognize the importance of diversity and its role in the ever-changing global marketplace.”

Booker was on hand to accept the 2018 National Meritorious Leadership Award on behalf of the automaker.

“Partnerships such as this afford us the opportunity to engage with customers around the world,” Booker said.

For Telva McGruder, the president of the General Motors African Ancestry Network (GMAAN), that engagement begins in our own neighborhoods. McGruder delivered a presentation about GMAAN’s mission during the NNPA’s annual convention.

GMAAN is one of 10 employee resource groups (ERGs), “focused on attracting, developing and retaining employees of African Ancestry while engaging our communities where we live and work,” according to General Motors’ web page on ERGs.

“We do a lot in communities that are in areas of the United States that are far away from Detroit,” McGruder said.

McGruder said that she’s interested in increasing coverage of GMAAN activities and programs through NNPA newspapers.

McGruder continued: “The work that we’re doing is right in line with what NNPA values.”

Freddie Allen is the Editor-in-Chief of the NNPA Newswire and BlackPressUSA.com. Follow Freddie on Twitter @freddieallenjr.