Skip to content

Congressional Black Caucus Convention: Who Are the Real Black Power Players Behind the Scenes?

DeDe Lea (right), government affairs EVP for Viacom, which owns BET, MTV and Vh1

WASHINGTON – Most urbanites would find it interesting to know that many of the major black power players in Washington, D.C., are actually not members of the Congressional Black Caucus. These individuals are rarely scene on TV or written about in publications. Yet they are very well-known inside the Beltway and wield considerable influence among their legislative counterparts inside the CBC and others in Congress.

Who are they? They are government affairs directors and VPs of multinational corporations, some even Fortune 100 and Fortune 50 conglomerates. Government affairs is a euphemism for the less-favorable sounding word “lobbyists” who actually influence legislation and, sometimes, what policies are even put on the table on Capitol Hill.

Let’s meet seven of them.

DeDe Lea (pictured above), is the executive vice president of government affairs at Viacom. She runs the public-policy and government-liaison portfolio for the colossal media and entertainment empire Viacom, including MTV and BET Networks.

Gina Davis of FedEx, with Dede Lea

Gina Adams, senior vice president of government affairs at FedEx, ships this major mailing colossus’s wishes and desires to Congress.

Barry Granger spends a lot of time on Capitol Hill as liaison between his VP role of government affairs for Fortune 50 intercontinental conglomerate DuPont and congressional leaders.

R. Lucia Riddle is the power player who dispenses her skills as the vice president of federal government relations at Principal Financial Group. This is significant also because PFG was listed as the 2011 National Association for Female Executives Top 50 Companies and 10 Nonprofits for Executive Women.

Fred Humphries, a graduate of HBCU giant Morehouse College, is the the vice president of U.S. government affairs and top lobbyist for Bill Gates’revolutionary masterpiece, Microsoft since the late ’90s. He also served as the political director at the Democratic National Committee, and worked with former Rep. Dick Gephardt and another Morehouse alum, Rep. Sanford Bishop.

Howlie Davis is senior vice president of government affairs at CH2M Hill, lording over a massive operation that runs the agenda for government affairs for federal, state and local government affairs.

Stephanie Childs is the vice president of government affairs at Avaya: Childs is well-regarded as a leader in the field of telecommunications.