From time to time we have an opportunity on the Island to meet and hear from an historic icon. New York Times best-selling author and master event producer James Hester introduced Cathy Hughes to us this week and she is truly iconic.

She is currently the board chair of Urban One, Inc., formerly Radio One. Her position as chair represents a career that has spanned more than 40 years and resulted in the nation’s largest African-American owned and operated broadcast company. This conglomerate generates original content across the spectrum of radio, television and digital media.

She learned the business by starting at the college radio station at Howard University where she was also a lecturer in the university’s school of communications. One of her most creative and lasting programs was the late night radio format known as the “quiet storm.“ I remember this theme, adopted by disc jockey Vaughn Harper on radio WBLS in New York city, which was among some 480 stations nationwide to use the format.

On her Vineyard visit, she was accompanied by her son and business partner, Alfred Liggins III, who took the company public in 1999. The success of this initial public offering made Ms. Hughes the very first Black woman to become chair of the board of a publicly-traded company.

Ms. Hughes first showed her analytical talents and sense of history by interviewing former attorney general Eric Holder about his new book, Our Unfinished March, chronicling the long struggle for voting rights in America. Her piercing questions demonstrated her clear command of each chapter in the book. Thanks to Harbor View owner Bernard Chiu for hosting dinner and dessert for Cathy, Eric and others so they could continue to debate the issues on voter participation.

A few days later Cathy was on the podium at the Field Club, introducing Quest Diagnostics chairman and CEO Steve Rusckowski and his wife Deb. They are known nationally and on the Island for distributing vaccines early in the pandemic.

Their topic this week focused on their passion for community service. Deb O’Hara Rusckowski shared shocking data about the devastation of human trafficking in the United States and beyond. Her time and resources, supported by Quest, are devoted to building and operating safe houses for women trying to break away and start a new life. Those in attendance could hear and feel Deb’s passion for her initiative.

Nationally acclaimed artist Phillip Smallwood returns to the Vineyard with a series of paintings showcasing life on the Island. After a long visit scouting people and places, his new work promises to reflect local life telling a deeper story of the complexities and layers of his subjects. The public is invited to 10 County Road on August 27 at 6 p.m. The event is hosted by art collectors Frank and Sharon Redd as well as Reggie and Aliya Browne.

Dr. Kizzy Corbett presented this past Friday at the Diversity Conference in Vineyard Haven to conference attendees and members of the public. She showcased her road from inquisitive high school student mentored by science teachers to becoming a viral immunologist. At age 36 she worked night and day with a team of scientists developing Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine. She is a true pioneer in science, research and medicine, all of which have led to her new assignments at the Harvard Chan School of Pubic Health. The 100-plus people in attendance last Friday gave her sustained applause.

Morehouse College took over the Winnetu Resort last Saturday, hosting their annual Lux Awards and capping a weekend of activities. Board chair Willie Woods noted that Morehouse has record enrollment this September and that fundraising under the leadership of president David Thomas has been outstanding. Boston alumni chapter president Wilton Baker presented the Lux Awards to Beverly Edgehill, Ron Sullivan, Victoria Eady-Butler, A. Scott Bolden and yours truly for outstanding service in business and law.

Those at Union Chapel were treated to a surprise when Rev. Dr. Leslie Callahan took to the podium in lieu of the Rev. Dr. Howard-John Wesley who was scheduled to preach. She did a fabulous job on her subject Shaky Faith. Her powerful oratory and command of the scriptures wow’d the congregation. Hope to see her again!

Chief Polar Bear Carolyn Hunter shared that 209 joined the swim circle at the Inkwell this past week, establishing a new healing circle among the participants.

Orange cones have been put up on the corner of Chapman and Wayland avenue around the former Ocean View Restaurant to facilitate the demolition and debris removal. Hope to see new construction soon!

Paradise on earth is living the Vineyard experience. Enjoy it as time is fleeting!