What's a TECO Energy vice president in Tampa doing on a high-powered list of corporate founders, CEOs and top executives that includes the likes of Oprah Winfrey?
TECO technology VP and chief information officer Karen Mincey landed on Black Enterprise magazine's list of the 75 Most Powerful Women in Business. The list, just released and featured on the Feb. 10 magazine cover, named the top African-American women in Corporate America.
In addition to Oprah, Mincey joins the ranks of such black corporate executives as Citigroup global head of operations & strategy Susan Chapman, Burger King senior vice president of North American operations Gladys DeClouet and FedEx Corp. CFO Cathy Ross.
Also listed: billionaire Sheila C. Johnson, 61, the former Black Entertainment Television executive best known in Tampa Bay as the CEO and owner of the Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club, where the PGA Tour Transitions golf championship will be played in March.
Black Enterprise says it went hunting for senior corporate executives and leading entrepreneurs — "women responsible for developing product lines, positioning brands, operating core business areas, generating revenues, and with profit and loss oversight at the highest levels."
At TECO, Mincey has put her electrical engineering background to work for nearly 20 years, the past 10 as the head of information technology and the past four as chief information officer. She has 135 employees reporting to her.
If Mincey's loyal New Orleans roots are not obvious soon after meeting her, swing by her office where a "Go Saints" sign hangs. I offer to switch Wednesday's interview to Sunday — that's Super Bowl Sunday, New Orleans Saints vs. Indianapolis Colts — and Mincey laughs.
"It might be a little noisy," she says.
Black Enterprise contacted TECO a while ago and said Mincey was on its radar both for her IT management skills and her involvement in the community. TECO, Mincey says proudly, has been named by Information Week and Computerworld as a top technology company and a top place for tech people to work.
Mincey, 49, also serves on the board of both the area Boys & Girls Club and the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay, and is active in her church. So, I ask her, between a demanding IT job at TECO and all the community involvement, how much time do you work?
"Ask my husband," she jokes. Heading IT is, as she also noted in a 2004 St. Petersburg Times interview, "a 24/7 job."
Her children are now grown up. And, no, she says, none chose to become an electrical engineer. When Mincey graduated from the University of New Orleans, she was one of two women with an electrical engineering degree and the only African-American in the entire EE class.
"I am honored to be part of this recognition" of black businesswomen, Mincey says.
Innisbrook Resort owner Johnson's resume is wide and deep. She is part owner of several pro sports teams and managing partner of the WNBA's Washington Mystics. When she's not hosting a PGA golf tournament at Innisbrook or expanding her Salamander Hospitality high-end resort properties in Virginia, where she lives, Johnson is producing films. The latest, The Other City, is about the HIV-AIDS crisis in Washington, D.C.
Tampa Bay and its business community are lucky to have such influential leaders here.
Robert Trigaux can be reached at email@example.com.