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How to Protect Your Small Business Against Fraud

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Here are three steps you can follow to boost your security and keep scammers at bay.

Lyron Foster is a Hawaii based African American Musician, Author, Actor, Blogger, Filmmaker, Philanthropist and Multinational Serial Tech Entrepreneur.

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Roc Nation CEO Desiree Perez Gets Trump Pardon. Could This Be A Power Move By Jay-Z?

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Former President Trump disclosed last-minute commutations and pardons at 1 a.m. on Wednesday, Variety reported. On the list were many people from executives to politicians, including former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and rappers Kodak Black and Lil Wayne. To everyone’s surprise, an unexpected name appeared on Trump’s clemency list– Roc Nation CEO  Desiree Perez. According to the publication, Desiree and her husband are close friends with Jay-Z. Perez’s husband, Juan, is also the CEO of Roc Nation Sports.

A statement from the former Press Secretary regarding Desiree’s presidential pardon stated Trump took into account the positive changes the leader has made in her life since her conviction for attempting to distribute narcotics. 

“President Trump granted a full pardon to Desiree Perez. Ms. Perez was involved in a conspiracy to distribute narcotics. Since her conviction, Ms. Perez has taken full accountability for her actions and has turned her life around,” the letter read. “She has been gainfully employed and has been an advocate for criminal justice reform in her community.”

Desiree, who is Cuban-American, is a music-industry staple and was appointed to the top position in 2019. In the same year, Billboard Magazine deemed her Executive Of The Year during the publication’s yearly Women in Music event. She heads the organization’s numerous outlets like activism, television and movies, music, publishing and touring. The multi-million-dollar entertainment and sports organization is home to today’s most prominent pop culture names, including Shakira, J.Cole, Rihanna, Big Sean and Megan Thee Stallion, Variety reported.

According to Variety, Desiree was arrested in 1994 for drug possession and in 1998 for gun possession and grand theft. After becoming an informant for the U.S. Attorney’s office, she was sentenced to five years probation. She violated her probation and served nine months in jail in 1999.

“I’m grateful to have received a pardon and to have formally closed that chapter of my life in the eyes of the law,” the 52-year-old Cubana told Variety. “I have taken full accountability for my mistakes from 25 years ago, but I also take tremendous pride in my personal growth, perseverance and accomplishments since then. This pardon reinforces my lifelong commitment to advocate for criminal justice reform and social justice initiatives.”

It’s also fair to note that Jay-Z and Beyonce were extremely vocal about their support for the Obama administration. The Carters were relatively quiet during this last election cycle. According to an insider, the Roc Nation owner didn’t want to get on Trump’s bad side– especially if it could help Perez.

“As anyone who’s worked with the Trump White House knows, you can’t piss him off, or he will take revenge,” the source told Variety.

Although the power move is speculative, Jay-Z is looking to break into the cannabis business, and Desiree’s felonious record could’ve interfered with that plan.

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‘There is No Place for Mediocrity’: 86-Year-Old Accountant Shares Powerful Success Tips 

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Lester McKeever made history as one of the first 100 African-Americans to become a Certified Public Accountant in the U.S. According to the National Society of Black Certified Public Accountants (NSBCPAs), less than 1% of all CPAs in the U.S. are Black.

“Being a CPA, a highly recognized credential in the business world, provided me the opportunity to leverage many unique opportunities,” says McKeever in an exclusive interview with Black Enterprise.

For many decades, McKeever has worked to expose more students to the accounting profession. Through various programs, he has raised millions of dollars to provide scholarships and job opportunities for the next generation of leaders.

“Being Black limited your opportunities,” McKeever shared as he recalls his experience trying to find a job as a black accountant in the 1950s. “But showing true concern for your client’s success and working to improve your community provides unexpected benefits. When you give to others, you gain more than you give in trying to help.”

Creating a Foundation for Success

McKeever is proof that where you come from does not determine how far you can go.

McKeever was born in Chicago in 1934. His parents did not graduate from high school but they fully supported his education. McKeever displayed a strong desire to excel in all of his classes, earning him the math and science award in high school. McKeever didn’t dream of going to college until receiving a scholarship from a student club. This one moment changed his entire career trajectory. 

He went on to graduate from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, obtain his CPA license, and study law at the Illinois Institute of Technology-Chicago Kent College of Law.

“It’s a paper world,” says McKeever. “It’s unbelievable what really happens when you have credentials that indicate that you are prepared to take on other challenges.”

Overcoming Obstacles as a Black Accountant

Mckeever believes that mentorship and networking are important in your career. They were the link that helped him secure a job when major corporations were not hiring black people.

“When I graduated from college, the Big 8 accounting firms and large corporations did not hire African Americans,” says Mckeever. “My university forced one firm to give me the courtesy of an interview. They said they couldn’t hire me because their clients wouldn’t accept me.”

McKeever started his career working with a Black-owned life insurance company. Through relationships at this firm, he was introduced to Mary T. Washington Wylie — the first Black woman to become a CPA in the U.S.

Wylie provided McKeever with a part-time work opportunity during tax season. This kicked off a long career with Washington & Pittman accounting firm, leading to an appointment on the Board of Directors as a managing partner. Later, the firm was renamed Washington, Pittman & McKeever.

One of Mckeever’s keys to success is knowing your craft inside and out. “Anything related to the success of your career, you have to be on top of that. There’s no place for mediocrity anymore. You have to be skilled in what you are trying to do.”

Becoming a History Maker

Mckeever has had a successful career as an accountant and has broken many barriers. He was a member of the Finance Committee under Chicago Mayor’s Harold Washington and Richard M. Daley. In 1997, he became chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. These history-making moments established McKeever as one of Chicago’s most influential business leaders. 

If you want to achieve success and attract mentors, Mckeever says that “you have to get involved in the community.” McKeever has served on the Board of Directors for the Illinois Institute of Technology and treasurer of the University of Illinois Board of Trustees. McKeever was one of the founding members of the Chicago Urban League’s Impact Leadership Development Program. He also paved the way for the Mary T. Washington Wylie Internship Preparation Program.

“I always tell people to involve themselves in as many activities as you possibly can (especially) community type organizations. When people see you working hard and trying to help others, they see you working hard and try to help you.”

If you want to learn more about upcoming initiatives to support the advancement and awareness of Black accountants, visit the National Society of Black CPA’s Facebook page and join the #MyCPAIsBlack campaign.

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Biden’s Green Energy Boom Could Send These Electric Vehicle Stocks Soaring

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