Investing and Global Finance News


Rosalind Brewer Becomes 20th Black CEO in America

Rosalind Brewer has been named incoming CEO of Walgreens, effective March 15, 2021. This role makes Brewer, who is leaving her position as COO at Starbucks, the only Black woman to lead a Fortune 500 company.

Brewer joins the other 19 Black CEOs — 17 men and two women — who have ever been listed as CEOs on the Fortune list which began in 1955. She also became the only Black woman to sit on the board of Amazon when she joined in 2019.

In 2018, only 3.3% of all US corporate executive and senior management or leadership roles were held by Black people. Not much change has been accomplished in three years, according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Sadly, there aren’t enough Black women in the corporate leadership pipelines at most major companies to reduce disparities between Black and White women, who are also vastly underrepresented at the highest levels of executive leadership.

Celebrate Women Virtual Conference

“Surviving (and Thriving) in Unsettling Times.” That is the theme and topic of the 15th annual Celebrate Women virtual conference set to begin on Friday, March 19, 2021.

Alison Levine, American mountain climber, sportswoman, explorer, leadership consultant and best-selling author, will deliver the keynote address. Levine was team captain of the first American Women’s Everest Expedition, scaled the “Seven Summits,” and made history in her skiing adventures to the North and South Poles. Levine is also an accomplished corporate leader, with vast experience on Wall Street. She is the author of the New York Times bestseller, On the Edge: Leadership Lessons from Everest and Other Extreme Environments.

The Celebrate Women Conference is designed to encourage and enhance gender equity by recognizing and celebrating the past, present, and potential accomplishments of women from a full range of ages, ethnicities, and backgrounds. The event is planned to coincide with other events during National Women’s History Month.

IBM Names New Federal Leader

IBM named Steve LaFleche as the new head of its federal business division, the U.S. Public and Federal Market. LaFleche replaces Jay Bellissimo, and comes to the job with more than three years of experience as IBM’s managing director for the State of New York.

LaFleche is not new to IBM. He has been with the company for 33 years and has served in multiple roles, including vice president of the U.S. Public Sector for North America.

LaFleche said his top priority is building collaborations with federal clients and other customers “to bring resilience to their infrastructures, so we all emerge smarter and stronger from this crisis.”

Broadway Ticketing Reworked by NY-based Company

Broadway Ticketing

Jujamcyn, the company responsible for the operations of five Broadway theaters, has signed a deal with New York-based SeatGeek.

broadway ticketing

Many theater and performance spots are planning ahead for post-COVID reopenings. For Jujamycn, part of its new strategy included a major rework of its ticketing system. SeatGeek, a well-known sports industry player, is using its contract with Jujamycn to debut on Broadway and enter the theater industry.  

Among SeatGeek’s robust technological capacities are its agility and comparative pricing features, allowing theatergoers to gauge ticket value. The platform is also not limited to ticket sales; customers can order refreshments, plan their transportation to and from the shows, and get show merchandise.

broadway ticketing

What Small Business Owners Can Do Right Now

Building and sustaining a small business is no easy task. Marketing, developing, and producing products or services demand high levels of attention and involvement. This digital marketing checklist lays out simple and effective tips for businesses of any size.

Your brand’s identity is critical for marketing purposes, digital or otherwise. Articulate what makes your business special and project those qualities into all aspects of your company. The name, logo, font, pictures, social media presence, etc. should all channel these values.

digital marketing checklist

In today’s digital environment, a good website—with both desktop and mobile compatibility- is a must for any business. It is often the first point of contact for any customer and should be as presentable and professional as the rest of your company. Make sure to optimize your website for search so that you reach the clientele you want. Once your website is up and running, work to ensure that your customer service interactions are exemplary at all times. Your interactions with clients must be quick and courteous. Express appreciation for their patronage and set reasonable expectations for resolving any issues.

Even if you do not have a social media footprint for yourself, your business needs one. It is a great way to gain visibility for your business, generate traffic to your site, and build a community around your services.

digital marketing checklist

Adapt your tactics for each social media platform and generate unique content suited to the audience and “vibe.” Blogging is another great way to highlight your business and your personal flare. It is a prime SEO venue that you can control for keywords and links, further enhancing traffic to your site.

Remember, you may have the greatest business idea or product concept in the industry, but none of it will matter if nobody knows about it. Review and implement these ideas and checklist so that your business can thrive now and in the future.

Virtual is the In-Person of 2021

Most in-person marketing events and conferences are pivoting to virtual gatherings as professionals continue to seek to expand their network, grow their business, and up their game. Digital marketing conferences, enable the most innovative, creative, and imaginative marketing minds to come together.

digital marketing conferences

When considering hosting a virtual event, it is important to remember that a successful digital gathering should mirror an in-person one in as many ways as possible. There should be keynote speeches alongside interactive sessions. Meetings should be recorded and made available after the event. Partnerships and existing professional relationships should be leveraged to create new cross-industry connections. The best practices from the broadest possible range of fields should be applied. Just because your online event is focusing on SEO practices, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t learn from other virtual events held recently on other topics. 

digital marketing conferences

Tech Insights for the New Year

The arrival of 2021 offers a moment for active and thoughtful reflection. In practically every industry and avenue, the new year is one that promises hope and renewal, optimism and opportunity. In the tech world, the next 12 months are not likely to highlight flashy new developments and gadgets. It is more likely that the unseen heroes of our devices will have their moment; the software and services that offer practical and efficient solutions in our everyday lives have proven their value.

Mobile wallet apps have been on the market for years, but credit cards and cash were still the preferred method of payment for most consumers. In less than 10 months, COVID-19 concerns brought many more people to try contact-free payments; now it seems it is here to stay.

Augmented reality has also emerged as a previously untapped resource. Bringing virtual objects into our everyday lives was the stuff the Jetsons was made of. But as shopping excursions and try-on options are limited, using a digital rendering service to select a dress, pick-out eyeglasses, or buy a sofa has more appeal. EMarketer says that companies anticipate spending $2.4 billion on augmented reality in 2021, a 71% increase from 2020.

Similarly, more retail options are offering conversational technologies to interact with consumers. For many customers, the ability to chat with a representative and ask questions is an important part of the retail experience.

Also critical to our overall experience in 2021 will be the stability and reliability of our internet connections. That’s why the advancements in Wi-Fi technology are definitely good news. New networking standards, Wi-Fi 6, will be more efficient and spread bandwidth across devices. This means that all our contraptions and tools that connect to the internet, will work better for everyone in the household.

Funding Boost for NY Security Company

The New York City-based, BigID, a privacy and protection technology company, has raised $70 million in Series D funding. Salesforce Ventures and Tiger Global lead the investing this cycle. Longstanding supporters of BigID, Bessemer Venture Partners, Scale Venture Partners, and Boldstart Ventures put forth additional funding.

Series A funding in January 2018 yielded $14 million and a second round just six months later brought in an additional $30 million. By the Series C funding in September 2019, the company raised $50 million. Dimitri Sirota, CEO and co-founder of BigID, says that the tech company employs 235 people and plans to reach 300 by the end of 2022. The focus for 2021 is sales and marketing efforts.

“It’s a tremendous vote of confidence to have Salesforce Ventures and Tiger Global join Bessemer Venture Partners, Scale, Boldstart Ventures, and Glynn in preempting our series D with this latest investment. It’s a testament to our traction, team and vision that we can continue to attract the capital to fuel our data innovation for privacy, protection and perspective.”

Dimitri Sirota, CEO and co-founder of BigID

Pilot Plan to Bring Fans Back to NY Sporting Events

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced a new plan to allow sports enthusiasts back to the bleachers for the first time since the onset of the pandemic.

The NYS Health Department, the Buffalo Bills, and the NFL signed an agreement to permit 6,700 fans to attend the team’s first home playoff game in close to twenty years. Social distancing protocols will be strictly enforced and mask wearing will be required at all times. All fans in attendance will be required to test for the coronavirus before the game; NY state will do contact tracing after the event to determine effectivity and future steps.

According to the Governor, this is the first stage in a multi-pronged rollout to allow restaurants and other entertainment venues like Madison Square Garden and Broadway theaters to open.

A Struggling New York City Café and Theater Get Help from Famous Friends

The West Bank Cafe is a New York City staple, particularly in the tight-knit performing arts community. It is in the Café’s basement theatre, known as the Laurie Beechman Theater, where the first “Sunday in the Park With George” rehearsals were held and Joan Rivers did her last standup routine. But the once-bustling eatery and cultural epicenter had fallen victim to the pandemic. The prolonged lockdown kept it closed for several months, outdoor dining was obliterated by cold weather, and the high costs of adhering to new hygiene and safety regulations stifled revenue.

The West Bank Cafe and Laurie Beechman Theater were at risk of closing

Located in Hell’s Kitchen, on 42nd Street just west of Ninth Avenue, West Bank Café has been operating for more than 40 years. The theater opened in 1983.

Actor Tim Guinee and others rallied to save their favorite venue, coming up with the idea for a virtual telethon held on Christmas Day. Joe Iconis, Broadway composer and lyricist, served as producer of the event. Some 200 artists, including Matthew Broderick, Pete Townshend, Debra Messing, Nathan Lane, Alan Cumming, Isaac Mizrahi, and Alice Ripley appeared on the five-hour fundraiser. Ultimately, $319,000 was raised, far beyond the original goal of $250,000.

A Christmas Day virtual telethon came to the rescue of the theater scene staple