I've worked in the corporate marketplace for 13 years and have several colleagues and friends with similar backgrounds who strongly believe the glass ceiling remains in tact for many U.S. corporations. As an educated African American male, I have benefited from Affirmative Action by quickly accelerating through the ranks of low-to-middle management positions. However, as I sat at the conference table of which most will never have that privilege, I was often the only member of said demographic and felt out of place most of the time.

In 2008, the lack of representation (among the highest ranking executive leaders and/or board of directors) for people who look like me, reflects the same image of 1908; literally a century ago. As of January this year, we had less than 1%(.08) of African Americans occupying the chief executive office of any well-known Fortune 500 company. A rare exception to the norm may be one or two female officers leading Community Affairs or Global Diversity. While controversial in nature, we all know the facts can not be downplayed as mere rhetoric, or tossed aside as the stereotypical rant of embittered, under-qualified and entitlement-focused candidates. I believe this to be a result of institutionalized racism and a blatant oversight by the people who have the power to change the system.

Allow me to say that Senator Obama should not be positioned to argue on behalf of blacks, alone; my petition is far from making such a claim. Failure to reinforce “equal IMPLEMENTATION”, not just equal “opportunity”, remains a problem for all Americans. However, I am concerned that the civil rights of many high-performing minorities have been conspicuously moved to the back of the bus. When (not if) he is president of the United (not divided) States of America, my hope is that he will pursue change in this area with the same veracity as Bill Clinton in the 1990's. Obama’s Blueprint for Change states that we will have "21st Century Fireside Chats"; I suggest Glass Ceiling Syndrome (GCS) be one of the many issues brought before the Cabinet for open dialogue and ultimate transformation.

In closing, the following quote comes from “The Leadership Solution: Connecting People to Strategy, Creating Teams that Act Like Owners, Communicating Tactics of Today’s Top Leaders” by Jim Shaffer. This book captures my heart's sentiments and I’ve referenced it during my entire time in leadership. Feel free to use this as you consider my suggestion for a better (corporate) America:

“People watch what leaders say, and what they don’t say, what they do and how they act. We notice where they sit, where they park, what’s first and last on their agenda. Questions they ask, and questions they don’t ask. We watch their body language. We note their tone of voice and facial expressions. We pay close attention to what they wear, who they promote, who they ignore. Everything a leader says or does is scrutinized for meaning, because everything a leader says or does assumes importance as a form of communication, often far beyond even what the leader imagines. And we react.”

Author's Bio: 

Spiritual leader and executive coach, James (known by most as JP) is well-respected among many peers for his expertise in emotional intelligence, psycho-interpretation, and consultation. With more than 20 years of experience in education (early childhood through adult), he offers wisdom far beyond his years. He and his wife Alexis are commissioned to push and/or pull others beyond their scope of success into the realm of Godly promise. While many offer ways to discover their prupose; JP coaches with the intent of helping clients understand the timing of God's ultimate plan for our lives.