The 20 Most Notable Howard University Alumni in Business

Howard University is an institution of higher learning that is located in Washington D.C. It’s designated as a federally chartered historically black school with a multicultural approach to education. Howard is a prestigious university with an acceptance rate of 49 percent and a graduation rate of 60 percent. Some of the most successful people from the business world have attended Howard, and we’re recognizing 20 of the most notable.

1. Ben Ali

Ben was born in Trinidad, West indies and he moved to the United States of America. He attended Howard University and went out into the world to start his own business. Ben is the founder of Ben’s Chili Bowl which is a restaurant that has been in operation since 1958. The establishment survived through the tumult of the 1960s to become an iconic establishment entertaining guests such as Bill Cosby and Barack OBama. Ben’s has a gift shop for chili lovers who want to take some of the ingredients home with them.

2. Malaak Compton-Rock

Malaak Compton-Rock is a native of Oakland, California who attended Howard University. Although she had dreams of working in the entertainment business, he life after college took a slightly different direction. Instead, Malaak became the founder and Executive Director of Styleworks, which is a non-profit organization that provides low income women who are supported by public assistance with makeovers. The purpose is to help them to gain self-confidence and help them to prepare for job interviews. She is married to entertainer Chris Rock.

3. H. Naylor Fitzhugh

H. Naylor Fitzhugh attended Howard University then went on to become one of the first African Americans to graduate from the Harvard School of Business. Fitzhugh was known for developing the concept of target marketing, which is a practice that is widely used in the business world. If you have social media and you see ads for products you’ve browsed through on the internet, you’re seeing a form of target marketing in a more modern format, and business owners have Mr. Fitzhugh to thank for that.

4. Cathy Hughes

Catherine Hughes is a notable alumni of Howard University School of Communications who has built a successful career in radio station management and leadership. She went on to work at several stations in general management, working her way up in the corporate world. She and her husband Dewey Hughes purchased radio station WOL in the Washington D.C. are and founded their own business. Cathy is the Broadcast Chief Executive of WOL.

5. Vernon E. Jordan Jr.

Vernon attended Howard University Law School and graduated with his degree in 1960. After graduation he went on to hold a number of high ranking executive positions in the business world. He is currently a partner of Lazard Freres & Co, LLC and is a Senior managing Director, as well as the Advisory Director for the Lazard Group. He’s held multiple directorships including for CC Media Holdings, Inc, the Bankers Trust Company of Deutche Bank, Callaway Golf Company, Inc, Ryder System Inc, and many others. He also serves as a Trustee of Howard University.

6. Lillian Lincoln Lambert

Lillian attended Howard University when she was in her early 20s, majoring in Business Administration and earning her degree in 1966. She continued with her education and earned her MBA from the Harvard Business School. She worked in a management position at the natonal Bankers Association and then became a stockborker with Ferris & Company. After this she became the executive vice president of Unified Services, later leaving the company to establish her own janitorial company. She has been the president of LilCo Enterprises since 2002 after selling her company and she is currently a consultant, public speaker and coach.

7. Dumarsais Simeus

Mr. Simeus attended Howard University and received his bachelor’s in electrical engineering, then went on to attend the University of Chicago for his MBA in finance. He worked his way up in the business world holding a variety of finance, marketing and operations jobs as well as executive management. Early in his career he worked for Rockwell international, KB Homes, Atari, Inc, and the Bendix Corporation. He became the president of TLC Beatrice Foods working in their international division, and established Simeus Foods which is a large and successful food processing operation in the United States.

8. Emil Ali

Emil Ali attended the Howard University School of Law where he earned his JD degree. He is a patent attorney who has had a long and successful career in law. He served as a special assistant to the United States Attorney in Washington D.C. He was also a Senior Staff Attorney for Providence health and Services also serving as their Regulatory Affairs Manager. He is currently a Parnter in the NameCarr Butterfield LLC firm as well as Adjunct Professor of Law and Lewis & Clark Law School in Portland, Oregon.

9. Oscar Brown Sr.

Oscar Brown Sr. earned his degree at Howard University in the commerce and law disciplines. He went on to serve in the united States military, and upon returning, he founded the Brown, Brown, Cyrus and Green law firm in Chicago. Through his life he has also founded the Oscar C. Brown Real Estate Corp, and worked as an administrator, developer as well as activist, serving as the president of the NAACP Chicago branch.

10. Zora Neale Hurston

Zora Neale Hurston attended Howard prep school and then went on to graduate with her degree from Howard University in 1918. In addition to becoming one of the most prominent black woman writers of the 20th century, she also worked for the Paramount films company, as a story consultant. She had a long and successful career, and she is also credited with co-founding the Howard University newspaper making her an alumni of distinction in the history of the school.

11. Lisa Brown Morton

Lisa Brown Morton is a distinguished Howard alum who founded her own business in 2000. The name of the company is Nonprofit HR. It is a US based consulting firm that focuses upon the needs of American companies which fall within the nonprofit category. The business serves organizations and provides consultation for the HR departments within these organizations. Lisa Brown Morton serves as the President and CEO of her company.

12. Maya A. Gilliam

Maya A. Gilliam is a Howard University alum who used the business knowledge that she gained to pursue her passion and establish her own business. She is a massage therapist and esthetician who is trained in the 42 principles of Ma’at. She uses massage and a variety of therapeutic oils in the treatment of her clients. She established the Ma’ati Spa and is the owner and proprietor of this business, but she also established a second business called III Eye Digital LLC which is a video company with specialties in graphics and web design.

13. Jay Norris

Jay Norris graduated from Howard University in 1991 with his bachelor’s degree in sociology. After leaving college, he co-founded the Guesst company which is a New York City based technology business. HE is currently toe CEO of the company had has been so since 2017. He also co-founded the Detroit Built and Co. Lifestyle Equities company in 2016 which is a retail platform dealing with retailers in the Detroit are in brand building and image, along with consultation services from concept though launch in the life cycle of a new business. He is also the CEO of the company.

14. Miles Gray

Mr. Miles Gray attended Howard University and received his bachelor’s degree in political science with concentration in sociology and biological sciences. he went on to become the creative director for the park at Fourteenth as well as the Managing Partner of Smith Commons. He is the founder of Millennial Mindshare as well as the owner of the Smith Public Trust.

15. Lori Nelson Lee

Lori Nelson Lee graduated from Howard University and went on to become an Organizations of Black Screenwriters member. She co-founded the LLeft Entertainment company which specializes in the creations of videos, music and publishes books. She’s also a children’s book author and her books have been shown on major television networks in story form. She is also a film and music video writer, director and producer.

16. Karleen Roy

Karleen Roy is also a Howard University alum who has gone on to build a successful career as an entrepreneur in the entertainment and media industries. After leaving Howard, she worked with artist Sean Combs, also known as P. Diddy as his executive assistant. She founded a luxury lifestyle management agency called The Vanity Group. She had a corporate background and a passion for fashion and luxury living, so she decided to combine the two to provide clients with “once in a lifetime experiences.”

17. Andrea Holmes Thompkins

Andrea Holmes Tompkins is a Howard University graduate who established an impressive professional career for herself in the broadcast media niche in sales and marketing leadership. She’s been in the advertising business for 30 years with noteworthy clients including Nike, Pepsi, McDonalds, General Motors, the NBA, NHL, the Super Bowl, the World Cup and the list goes on to include countless others across all industries in the market. She is the president and Chief Operating Officer of Andrea’s Communications Empire, the business that she established and owns.

18. Jonathan Brown

Jonathan Brown earned his BBA degree from Howard University in 1901. He is currently the CEO of the Brown Services Group, LLC. He married Keri Archer who is also a Howard alum and she earned her BA the same year and serves as a Line Producer for Sirens Media LLC. This pair of Howard alum who both graduated the same year are forming a partnership in life and they are both successful in their professions. Jonathan is a financial adviser in addition to being CEO.

19. Angela Benton

Angela Benton attended Howard University. She is also among the most notable of the institution’s alumni with an entrepreneur’s spirit. She is the founder of the NewME accelerator. It’s a technology platform which has been designed specifically for entrepreneurs who are from minority backgrounds. Long before Benton founded the fast-growing NewME Accelerator for minority entrepreneurs, she was the lone black woman in Charlotte’s startup and technology circles.

20. Wil Jacques

Wil Jacques is a Howard University alum who graduated with his bachelors degree in mechanical engineering. After graduating he attended American University and obtained his MBA in marketing. He recently attended MIT for a second Masters in composite materials and non destructive testing. He is currently the president of Emanus LLC, a company designed to assist smaller and medium sized businesses and the entrepreneurs who founded them with economic development. He previously worked at Sun life Financial as a Stop Loss specialist offering insurance solutions for brokers who work with employers in need of self-funded medical benefits. He has a long and impressive work history also serving as a consultant for GB Technologies, and a director on the scientific advisory board of Microvi Biotech. Mr. Jacques was also a Senior Manager at Nerac, Inc, as well as a director at IP Finance and a business development manager at CPA Global, and a project engineer at Naval Ordinance Station. After this he served as a quality manageer for Praxair Surface Technologies and the Vice President of marketing and Technology Commercialization at Competitive Technologies.


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