Kawanna Brown, 34

Occupation: COO, Magic Johnson Enterprises 

Nominated by: Essence editors

Power Moves: In just ten years, Kawanna Brown has been elevated from her position as executive assistant to Earvin “Magic” Johnson and his Magic Johnson Enterprises to chief operating officer for the nation’s leading urban brand. As COO, Brown handles all aspects of business development, including securing endorsements and asset acquisitions for the estimated $700 million enterprise. She’s also been the deal maker behind strategic partnerships with Cadbury, Schweppes and Lincoln Mercury, pushing the brand into more than 21 states and 86 cities nationwide.

Kawanna’s Power Principle: “Being a team player and determined. I always think outside the box.”


Glory Dolphin, 31

Occupation: CEO of IQAir North America

Nominated by: Essence editors

Power Moves: Glory Dolphin is a breath of fresh air-literally. Ever since succeeding her husband as CEO of IQAir at 29, she’s been making strides in the little-known world of air cleaning. So when the hit ABC TV show Extreme Makeover: Home Edition needed to build a house for a 6-year-old girl whose recent heart transplant rendered her extremely sensitive to dust, allergens and other indoor air hazards, they knew exactly whom to call. In other lifesaving work, IQAir has been chosen as the only air filtration equipment powerful enough to be used against SARS-sudden acute respiratory syndrome-which surfaced in Asia in 2003. Dolphin has also met with the U.S. government’s top weapons of mass destruction experts to discuss IQAir systems’ use against anthrax. Her products are hailed by Consumers Digest as a consumer Best Buy, truly making her the queen of clean air.

Glory’s Power Principle: “People feel they don’t have power, but they have to realize that’s just a feeling; it’s not reality. Every day I play the game of life as if I haven’t made it yet.” .

Screen Legend

Mary A. Spio, 33

Occupation: Founder & CEO, Next Galaxy Media

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Nominated by: Essence editors

Power Moves: The next time you’re enjoying the crystal clear sounds of a digital movie experience, thank Mary Spio. This Syracuse University and Georgia Institute of Technology-trained scientist has already secured four patents in digital cinema technology. Her customer engagement and demographic-targeting technology makes it possible to distribute digital movie technology to more than 30,000 theaters globally. This is the kind of accessibility that has been used to deliver six blockbuster films, including Ocean’s Eleven, Spy Kids, Planet of the Apes and Star Wars: Episode III, to theaters. Now hot artists such as Mary J. Blige, Will Smith and Christina Aguilera want in, seeking out her software to use for their onstage screens while on tour.

Mary’s Power Principle: “When no one believes in you, that’s when you have to believe in yourself the most. I’ve made it this far by being prepared. My whole career has been about finding solutions.”

Political Player

Alisha Thomas Morgan, 27

Occupation: Assemblywoman (D), Georgia House of Representatives

Nominated by: Shirley Franklin, mayor of Atlanta. “Alisha is a spirited legislator who fights for what she believes in,” Franklin says.

Power Moves: In 2002, at 24, Morgan became the first and youngest African-American elected to the Georgia House of Representatives from Cobb County. Now, four years later, she’s been reelected to the Georgia General Assembly with 86 percent of the primary vote. Morgan recently introduced a bill in hopes of changing the way youth are treated in prison.

Alisha’s Power Principle: “Connecting with real people is my secret to success,” she says. “I don’t get my validation from politicians.”

Read more in the October issue of Essence! On newsstands September 12, 2006.


Brown Photo Credit: Courtesy of Magic Johnson Enterprises

Dolphin Photo Credit: Courtesy of Subject

Spio Photo Credit: Courtesy of Subject

Morgan Photo Credit: Courtesy of Subject