JMU alumni recognized with Black Business Leaders Awards


SUMMARY: Gilbert Bland ('77) and Dr. Angela D. Reddix ('90) are two of the leading Black executives in Virginia, according to Virginia Business magazine.

JMU alumni Gilbert Bland (’77) and Dr. Angela D. Reddix (’90) are among a group of 17 inaugural Virginia Black Business Leaders Award winners. The list, chosen by the editors of Virginia Business and published in the magazine’s February issue in honor of Black History Month, recognizes some of the state’s most accomplished Black executives.

Bland, president and CEO of the Urban League of Hampton Roads, was one of four members of the publication’s first Black Business Leaders Hall of Fame class.

Black business leaders BlandA graduate of Madison College, where he majored in Accounting and Economics, Bland got his start in commercial banking in Chicago and was a vice president at the largest Black-owned bank in the country. In the 1980s, he became an entrepreneur, founding The GilJoy Group, which operated more than 70 Burger King, Pizza Hut and Mrs. Fields Cookies restaurants for 30 years.

Bland has served on boards of organizations ranging from Sentara Healthcare and the Virginia Chamber of Commerce to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and the Virginia African American Advisory Board. When the COVID-19 pandemic took hold in Virginia, he encouraged testing of underserved communities around the state, including Harrisonburg, as a member of Sentara’s Health Equities Workgroup. He’s also a former chairman of the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia and a former member of the JMU Foundation Board of Trustees.

At Madison, he was a charter member of Omicron Delta Epsilon, the international honors society for economics; ran track; and helped establish the Black Student Alliance.

Reddix, who majored in Marketing at JMU, is founder, president and CEO of ARDX, an award-winning health care management and IT consulting firm dedicated to improving the lives of our nation’s most vulnerable populations.

Black business leaders Reddix

She is also the founder of a Norfolk-based nonprofit, Envision Lead Grow, which helps aspiring girls — especially those of color — gain the skills and dedication needed to accomplish their dreams through entrepreneurship.

During the COVID-19 crisis, Reddix supported female entrepreneurs through a grant called The Reddix Rules Fund. This grant assisted small women-owned businesses that were not fortunate enough to receive benefits from the Payroll Protection Plan and denied self-employment benefits.

Her new book is titled She’s Got the Power: Women Building Wealth Through Financial Literacy and Sisterhood.

Reddix is a former member of the Women for Madison Executive Advisory Council and was a keynote speaker at the organization’s 2019 Women Who Amaze Summit. In addition, she was a guest panelist for a February 2021 Madison Vision Series event featuring successful Black JMU alumni.

She and her husband Carl (’88) recently committed $1.1 million to support first-generation students at JMU with scholarships and programs. The new Reddix Center for First Generation Students will be dedicated during a ceremony Feb. 25.


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Published: Friday, February 10, 2023

Last Updated: Wednesday, November 1, 2023

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