James H. Lowry, Honored with 2017 Heritage Award at the ELC Recognition Gala

by LP Green, II

The Executive Leadership Council (ELC) presented James H. Lowry, Senior Advisor at the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) with the 2017 Alvaro L. Martins Heritage Award for his significant contributions toward supporting the achievement of black executives.

Singer/songwriter John Legend presented Lowry with the award. Lowry is a longtime friend and mentor to Legend, who began his career as a management consultant at BCG, where the two met. Lowry was responsible for guiding the firm’s workforce development, which included hiring diverse talent, such as Legend, and promoting the growth and development of minority business enterprises.

As one of the most highly coveted invitations in Washington, D.C., this annual event raises funds to support The ELC’s scholarships, community investment grants, leadership development programs and educational initiatives. More than 2,000 guests, including many of corporate America’s leading CEOs and senior executives, thought leaders and politicos, gathered at the Gaylord National Hotel in National Harbor, Maryland, to pay tribute to the honorees.

Management consultant and entrepreneur James H. Lowry was born in 1939. He graduated from the Francis W. Parker School in Chicago. He earned his undergraduate degree from Grinnell College in Iowa. He attended Harvard Business School, where he served as class president in 1973. He served in the Peace Corps in Tanzania and Puerto Rico before earning his Master’s in Public International Affairs from the University of Pittsburgh. From 1985 to 1988, he co-hosted “The Minority Report” on WGN-TV part-time. In 2003, he was interviewed by The HistoryMakers. In 2005, Lowry was inducted into the Minority Business Hall of Fame & Museum.

Some other notable accomplishments highlighted in his biography include:

  • Producing a report on the status of minorities in the 21st century while on assignment from former Commerce Secretary Juanita Morris Kreps, attracting the attention of numerous municipal and corporate clients, including PepsiCo and Ford.
  • Forming a strategic partnership with Ford, which led to the automotive giant sourcing more than $3 billion in goods and services to more than 300 minority suppliers.
  • Becoming McKinsey Consulting’s first African-American recruit in 1968. n Using his knowledge and experience to found James H. Lowry & Associates in 1975.
  • Convincing McKinsey’s corporate clients of the value of investing in minority communities and helping increase the firm’s African-American consultants to nearly 100 between 1981 and 1999.
  • Serving as part-time co-host for “The Minority Report” on WGN-TV.
  • Being productively involved, as president of Boston Consulting Group’s Chicago operations, in the North American Black Diversity Initiative, a program fostering development of African- American management consultant professionals on college campuses and within the company.
  • Developing a lauded education program for minority business professionals as an adjunct faculty member of Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.
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