Black Economic Council Names Nicole Obi as President/CEO
January 4, 2022 — The Black Economic Council of Massachusetts, a Boston-based nonprofit that works to advance the economic well being of Black people across the state, recently announced it appointed Nicole Obi as president and chief executive officer.
Obi succeeds Segun Idowu, who held the post for three years, until he recently stepped down to become chief of economic opportunity and inclusion for the city of Boston.
Since Obi joined the Black Economic Council of Massachusetts (BECMA) in May 2020 as vice president of member experience and engagement, she has increased membership to include what she described to the Boston Business Journal (BBJ) as ally organizations, those which hire Black people, purchase from Black businesses and share BECMA's values.
BECMA was formed by several key business leaders in 2015 following a report published by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, “Color of Wealth in Boston,” which found that the median net worth of Black Bostonians was only $8.00, compared to $247,500, the median net worth of white Bostonians.
According to BECMA, Black businesses are one of the primary drivers of Black wealth and employment, which BECMAA seeks to support by advocating for public policy, convening stakeholders for important conversations, and connecting members to contract opportunities and technical assistance.
"We know that we need to have more Black entrepreneurs, but I think people instinctively think of entrepreneurs as startups, and they are," Obi told the BBJ. "But they're also experienced business owners who have been operating without a safety net for quite some time.
"Those are just things that when I look at who are these Black-owned businesses across the commonwealth. I see different opportunities to support them than maybe doing things the same way that may have been done in the past."
Before she joined BECMA, Obi served as vice president of customer insights and engagement strategy with Fidelity Investments. She was the founder, and served as CEO, of Enterprise Advisors and co-founder of Body Shop Digital.
Obi earned a Bachelor of Science degree in finance and financial management science from Hampton University, and a master’s degree in urban studies and a master’s degree in financial engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
She is a member of the board of advisors of the Women’s Foundation of Boston, as well as of the Environmental League of Massachusetts.
In announcing Idowu’s appointment, Boston Mayor Michelle Wu said, “Segun Idowu has expanded our vision for what is possible when we champion inclusive business and economic development and use our city’s resources to build wealth and opportunity in every community.”
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