National Civil Rights Museum Addresses Corporate Equity with New Program

Museum to host a virtual panel about The C-Suite Initiative

Memphis, Tennessee, UNITED STATES

Memphis, TN, April 22, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The National Civil Rights Museum will host a virtual, moderated panel about The C-Suite Initiative Wednesday, April 27, at 11:30 am Central. The program combines the historical knowledge of the museum with the need for strategic and culturally relevant leadership on eradicating racism and creating sustainable diversity in Corporate America.

The Museum is presenting the panel to highlight its new program as part of its Corporate Equity Center. The C-Suite Initiative is a vehicle to drive change in the hiring and advancement of Blacks to executive positions. The program works to ensure the most senior corporate decision-makers are presented with the facts, experiences, and tools needed to make equitable decisions.

The discussion will cover why the program is important, what sets it apart from other DEI programs, and how the training helps C-Suite leaders drive change. Panelists include:

  • Valerie Rainford, Founder of Elloree Talent Strategies
  • Dr. Janet Taylor, Community Psychiatrist, of Centerstone
  • Charlie Pleas III, AutoZone Senior Vice President, Finance and Accounting, Customer Satisfaction
  • Dr. Noelle Trent, NCRM’s Director of Interpretation, Collections, and Education
  • Veda Ajamu, NCRM’s Managing Director of DEI Programs & Community Engagement

“If you are in a position to affect change, you need to understand how monumental it is that you use everything in your power to provide justice, provide fairness, and understand why it needs to happen,” said Dr. Taylor.

“Our approach is to start by educating the C-Suite on the power of using data, why you’re not making progress, and have the data refute what I say are anecdotes,” said Rainford.

“Once you understand the context historically and psychologically, and the data starts helping you understand things operationally, this inequity thing becomes very heavy but it also very exciting because you see the opportunities for progress and change,” said Dr. Trent.

“Without the equity piece, you can really get diversity, and you can include people,” said Pleas. “But without equity, you can’t keep them. You don’t have the sustainability. And that’s the biggest piece I think everybody’s trying to wrap their heads around right now. It’s not just about pay; it’s about programs and policies that you have in place.”

“Through the C-Suite Initiative, we seek to activate within leadership a new level of commitment and action to create a more equitable corporate environment and increase the representation of Black leaders in C-Suite and Board positions,” said Ajamu. “The program helps to provide guiding goals to drive progress, effectiveness, and ongoing tangible outcomes.”

The Initiative comes off the heels of the museum’s announcement of its Corporate Equity Center launch in February. The Center will provide programs to learn, discuss, and reflect on how inequities filter into decisions that are barriers to Black advancement in corporations and other workplace settings.

AutoZone has provided many resources and contributed $5 million in seed funding to launch the Corporate Equity Center. The contribution has allowed for the opportunity of programs like the C-Suite Initiative to exist.

For more information on The C-Suite Initiative virtual event and to register, visit


About the National Civil Rights Museum

The NATIONAL CIVIL RIGHTS MUSEUM, located at the historic Lorraine Motel where civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated, gives a comprehensive overview of the American Civil Rights Movement from slavery to the present. Since the Museum opened in 1991, millions of visitors from around the world have come, including more than 90,000 students annually. Serving as the new public square, the Museum is steadfast in its mission to honor and preserve the site of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination.  It chronicles the American civil rights movement and tells the story of the ongoing struggle for human rights, serving as a catalyst to inspire action to create positive social change.  A Smithsonian Affiliate and an internationally acclaimed cultural institution, the Museum is recognized as a 2019 National Medal Award recipient by the Institute of Museums and Library Services (IMLS), the top national honor for museums and libraries.  It is a TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Top 5% U.S. Museum, USA Today's Top 10 Best American Iconic Attractions; Top 10 Best Historical Spots in the U.S. by TLC's Family Travel; Must See by the Age of 15 by Budget Travel and Kids; Top 10, American Treasures by USA Today; and Best Memphis Attraction by The Commercial Appeal and the Memphis Business Journal.