By Stephen Magagnini | OBSERVER Editor-In-Chief
OBSERVER Publisher and CEO Larry Lee joined 25 other local captains of industry, nonprofits and organizations March 8 celebrating the region’s “Most Admired CEOs.”
The black-tie dinner, hosted by the Sacramento Business Journal, drew more than 500 people to the Hyatt Regency Sacramento.
The honorees, selected by their peers, “are individuals who have made a positive impact through their dedication and leadership inside their company and the business community as a whole,” said Sacramento Business Journal Publisher David Lichtman in a statement.
Lee, one of two Black CEOs honored – Sierra Health Foundation CEO Chet P. Hewitt was also recognized – was cited for his tireless community work and transformation of The OBSERVER, expanding the multimedia news organization that has gone from four to 12 full-time employees in just two years.
Lichtman told the crowd that all CEOs need trustworthy confidants and mentors, then came up to Lee, gave him a hug, and said “Here’s my go-to guy, my brother.”
Lee thanked his wife Monet – “our CEO at home” – daughter Lauryn, who was in attendance, and his parents Dr. William and Kathryn Lee, “great CEOs” who launched The OBSERVER 60 years ago. “I think of myself as a caretaker not just for our business, but also a caretaker for our community. … The African American community often goes underserved and The OBSERVER has been fighting for our community for 60 years.”
Lee noted: “We’ve been very fortunate, more than 300 newspapers have gone out of business during COVID, 6,000 journalists have lost their jobs. During COVID The OBSERVER has tripled the size of the staff. … Continue to be on the lookout for all the good things to come.”
Hewitt was honored in the nonprofit category. He urged the attendees to make investments into communities that have historically been left behind. Hewitt, who has been at the helm of the organization since 2008, has been a well-respected leader in the region for his commitment to racial equity, health equity and social justice.