Imagine inspiring people to see themselves as greater, better and bigger. Imagine a magic ride in an industry called marketing and reaching 30 years. Imagine your legacy and mine. Thank you for being enterprising, electrifying, supportive, and an inspiration during this journey … A roast and toast celebrating Yvette Jackson Moyo.”
As I looked over the invite, these words instantly brought a smile to my face. If anyone deserves respect and recognition for her contributions to the marketing space, it’s CEO and president of Resource Associates International, Yvette Moyo. Right now, many of you are probably scratching your heads, or scanning your Rolodexes, asking, “Do I know a Yvette Moyo?” Chances are, unless you’re a seasoned African American in the media, marketing or entertainment industry, or just so happen to be involved in African American marketing, you’ve probably never heard of Ms. Moyo, MOBE or Real Men Cook.
Ms. Moyo is the only person for whom I would have braved the Antarctic winds of Lake Michigan this past December to see roasted by her colleagues. As a newlywed frequently commuting between New York and Atlanta during the work week, my schedule wouldn’t allow me to attend the weekend event (read: my husband wasn’t having it). But, I couldn’t let her off the hook that easily. In the name of diversity, Ms. Moyo can no longer be the best-kept secret in African American marketing circles. Everyone needs to know about her visionary talent, creativity and unwavering devotion to black achievement.
My introduction to Ms. Moyo came when I attended my first MOBE (Marketing Opportunities in Business and Entertainment) symposium back in ’96. There she was — a petite, freckle-faced African American woman with naturally curly red hair — shaking hands, calling the shots, wheeling and dealing.
But unlike some marketing moguls who chase dollar signs for personal gain, even at the expense of their community, Ms. Moyo is interested in the “positive promotion of the African American culture, tradition and talent.” Through MOBE she has created a one-of-a-kind networking event (often replicated, but never duplicated) that generated $200 million in deals. It went something like this: “AOL,meet Black Voices. Phat Farm, meet Jaguar/Land Rover. Target, meet Bronner Brothers,” and so forth. MOBE has become a showcase for savvy African American marketers, Fortune 500 companies, and established and up-and-coming African American firms to meet, share case studies and new media strategies, and build business opportunities.
Then there’s Real Men Cook, a Father’s Day charity event co-founded by Ms. Moyo and her longtime partner, Kofi Moyo. Each year, nearly 30,000 men gather in 10 markets across the country to participate in a unique family affair — a celebration complete with food cooked by both celebrity and everyday men from all walks of life. Doing what she does best, Ms. Moyo has leveraged buzz, product placement and celebrity endorsements to garner more than $1 million in media impressions for the annual event in print, radio and TV, including a guest appearance last year on Emeril Live. Starting from humble beginnings as a backyard barbeque, Real Men Cook for Charity spun off to create a nationally distributed cookbook, cake mixes and apparel.
So here’s to Yvette Moyo. Master networker. Respected business leader. Agent of social change. Phenomenal woman. May you be a best-kept secret no more.
Kendra Hatcher is senior vice president, contextual planning, at MediaVest. (firstname.lastname@example.org)