A chat with the only African American winner of “The Apprentice”

Kam Williams | 7/13/2011, 1:06 p.m.
Donald Trump, (l), congratulates Randal Pinkett as he chooses him for the fourth “Apprentice.” (AP Photo/ NBC,Virginia Sherwood)...
Donald Trump, (l), congratulates Randal Pinkett as he chooses him for the fourth “Apprentice.” AP / NBC,Virginia Sherwood


Donald Trump, (l), congratulates Randal Pinkett as he chooses him for the fourth “Apprentice.”

A chat with the only African American winner of “The Apprentice”

Randal Pinkett has established himself as an entrepreneur, speaker, author and scholar.

According to published reports, he is the founder, chairman and CEO of his fifth venture, BCT Partners, a multimillion-dollar consulting firm headquartered in Newark, N.J. that provides organizational development and capacity building services to public and nonprofit sector organizations.

He is also a partner in the Chicago-based joint venture Blackwell-BCT Consulting Services, which specializes in management consulting and information technology solutions for the federal government and Fortune 500 corporations.

A Rhodes Scholar, Dr. Pinkett holds five degrees including: a B.S. in electrical engineering from Rutgers University, where he competed as a high jumper, long jumper and captain of the men’s track and field team; a M.S. in computer science from the University of Oxford in England; and a M.S. in electrical engineering, MBA and Ph.D. from MIT. Most notably, he’s still the only African American winner of Donald Trump’s reality-TV show, “The Apprentice.”

Born in Philadelphia and raised in New Jersey, Pinkett is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. and attends First Baptist Church in Somerset, N.J., where he resides. He and his wife Zahara are the parents of their daughter Amira.

Pinkett is the author of “Campus CEO: The Student Entrepreneur’s Guide to Launching a Multimillion-Dollar Business” and “No-Money Down CEO: How to Start Your Dream Business with Little or No Cash.”  

Pinkett has received numerous awards for business and technology excellence, including the Information Technology Senior Management Forum’s Beacon Award, the National Society of Black Engineers’ Entrepreneur of the Year Award and the National Urban League’s Business Excellence Award.

He has been featured on nationally televised programs such as “The Today Show,” “Live with Regis and Kelly,” “Nightline” and “Larry King Live.” In 2009, he was named to New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine’s official shortlist as a potential running mate for lieutenant governor.

Here, he talks about his latest book, “Black Faces in White Places: 10 Game-Changing Strategies to Achieve Success and Find Greatness.”   

I really enjoyed “Black Faces in White Places.” Why did you write the book?  

The book is a reflection both of my own experiences and of those of many other African Americans, particularly folks who have progressed in their careers. Although I was born in Philadelphia, I was raised in East Windsor, N.J., a predominantly-white suburb where we were among a handful of black families.

That trajectory has continued in my careers in college, grad school and as an entrepreneur in corporate America where I have found myself one of a few, if not the only, person of color. Anyone who has been in those types of environments knows that it gives rise to a unique set of challenges characteristic of the struggles that America faces as it relates to leveling the playing field for everyone. So, the book is designed not so much to lament racism but rather to be proactive by helping to address the issue by providing strategies, tools and solutions to make it easier for the next generation.