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National Coalition Of Black Meeting Planners' Founding Member, Howard F. Mills, Sr. CMP Expires

Howard F. Mills, Sr., CMP
, founding member of the National Coalition of Black Meeting Planners and Chairman Emeritus of the organization, passed away at 1:30 a.m. on Wednesday, December 15, 2010 after a long illness. Mills had celebrated his 75th birthday on December 11, 2010.

Mills was a true pioneer in the hospitality industry whose impact will be felt for many generations to come. At the time that he co-founded the National Coalition of Black Meeting Planners in 1983, there were no African-Americans heading up the nearly 500 convention & visitors bureaus across the country, and only 15 African-Americans employed at these CVBs in any capacity. There was only one African-American hotel general manager out of nearly 55,000 hotels in the nation. Mills, working with the NCBMP, changed all that. Today there are seven African-Americans serving as presidents/CEOs of CVBs and nearly 70 Black hotel general managers in the industry. Howard Mills and his work with the Coalition deserves much of the credit for these improvements, though he would be the first to say it’s only a beginning and there’s still much more to be done.

Mills was a dynamic, results-oriented executive with an extensive business background that included over 25 years as the chief meeting/conference planner for the National Urban League. Mills was also serving as the organization's Chairman of the Board at the time of his death. He was a tireless advocate for inclusion and the advancement of Blacks in the meetings and hospitality industry and he served as a trainer and consultant to several hotels and convention bureaus. He remained steadfast in his commitment to mentor and work with young people in the industry. Through his vigilant networking, he brought together young people and key industry practitioners, often resulting in new or advanced employment opportunities for young people.

It was at Mill’s constant urging that Black Meetings & Tourism was created to serve the needs of African-Americans in the meetings industry. “We will be forever grateful for his guidance, support, encouragement and friendship,” said Solomon J. Herbert, BM&T’s publisher/editor-in-chief. “He will be greatly missed by all of us,” added Associate Publisher/Editor Gloria M. Herbert.

Mills was recognized by his peers in the industry. He received the Hall of Leaders Award presented by the Convention Industry Council, The Spirit of Hospitality Award given by the IACVB Foundation, was listed as one of the Most Influential African-Americans in the Meetings/Tourism Industry by Black Meetings & Tourism magazine since the award program’s inception, and has been the recipient of numerous awards presented by the NCBMP, the Whitney M. Young, Jr. Award and the Ann Tanneyhill Award, both bestowed by the National Urban League, as well as many citations and awards presented to him by cities, convention and visitors bureaus and hotels.

A graduate of Tuskegee University, Mills was experienced in all facets of meeting/conference planning, budgeting and negotiations. He was singularly honored for his pioneering efforts and sterling contributions on behalf of Black meeting planners and promoting meeting planning as a career.  Mills is survived by his wife, Rubena Mills, daughter Sharon Chapman (Harold), son, Howard, Jr. (Teresa), and two grandchildren Zakiya 13 and Zachary 10. Condolences may be sent to Mrs. Rubena Mills and Family 487 Coolidge Avenue Rockville Centre, NY 11570

In lieu of flowers, please make contributions in memory of Howard to:
  • Long Island Tuskegee Alumni Association, P.O. Box 110322, Cambria Heights Station, Cambria Heights, NY 11411
  • St. Albans Church Educational Fund, 172-17 Linden Boulevard, St. Albans, NY 11434
Funeral services for Mills were held at the Saint Albans Congregational Church on December 20. He was interned at Calverton National Cemetery in Calverton, NY.