The Developmental Roundtable for Upward Mobility (DRUM) is an outgrowth of concern for the future of African American males within Verizon. In particular, the DRUM organization focuses on the progress of African American males in corporate America and the need for guidance, attention, and mentoring to support their success.
Initial conversations to form DRUM took place between Jeannette Mobley (former employee of Bell Atlantic Human Resources), Wendall McClellan, and Ray Davidson at the 1990 CITE conference held in Baltimore, Maryland. The focus of these conversations centered on the negative press that African American males were receiving in the media, the lack of opportunities for upward mobility, and the varying experiences with mentoring. As a result of these discussions, a positive mentoring initiative was framed to help African American males within Bell Atlantic.
Commitments were made between Wendall and Ray to take the lead in forming the nucleus for the DRUM organization. Wendall and Ray collaborated in recruiting the charter members for the first organizational meeting, which was held on December 12, 1990.
Charter members for DRUM included: Ray Davidson, Wendall McClellan, Rey Oliver, Charles Bowers, Ed Corrothers, Norris Shelton, Sandy Johnson, Jeannette Mobley, and Charlie Brydie. Wendall McClellan served as the first president for the organization, Ray Davidson the second, Eric Cevis the third, Tony Lewis the fourth, Stewart Street Jr. the fifth, Matthew Phillips the sixth, Ralph Allen the seventh, Raymond Jenkins the eighth and Phillip Martin the ninth President. As the organization evolved, Jeannette Mobley continued to provide coaching and feedback from a Human Resources perspective.
The name “Developmental Roundtable for Upward Mobility” or “DRUM” was conceived by Norris Shelton. The symbolism of the “round table” was captured from the charter meeting room located at 722 12th St., NW, which contained a “round” meeting table. The organization’s name was voted on and officially adopted on February 7, 1991.
Membership in DRUM is gained only through the annual spring Membership Intake Process. New members must be sponsored and nominated by an existing DRUM member. We ask that our members sponsor only those high caliber individuals they rate as being able to meet DRUM membership requirements and become an asset to the organization. Quality is the focus for growing a World Class Organization, not quantity.
The organization currently establishes an annual calendar of programs and events that will benefit the advancement and professionalism of its members. Programs scheduled include: Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Observance; Mentoring Functions; Professional Development Seminars; Strategic Alliances; and Scholarship/Benefit Efforts. Many of these functions are also open to individuals outside of the DRUM organization.
In support of this organization, an Executive Program has been established consisting of several of the Officers of Bell Atlantic, now Verizon, working with DRUM, and serving as members.
DRUM has matured into a professional development and leadership organization that has provided the foundation for accelerated career development. The organization is currently composed of individuals representing a range of skills and holding key positions in nearly every business unit within Verizon, as well as individuals that have transitioned to organizations outside of the Company. DRUM is meeting and surpassing the career challenges that fostered its creation.