The term Black Excellence comes to mind when I think about the narrative of people of color. We are a resilient, powerful, and brilliant people. That brilliance was on full display at this year’s Black Alumni Expo and Ball. The beautifully curated weekend embodied the diverse spirits of creativity, entrepreneurship, ambition and style reflected within the Black community. In a city known for it’s political prowess and rich Black history, this year’s Black Alumni Expo not only served as an opportunity for people of color to network and celebrate. It also, as it pertains to the events in #Charlottesville, gave Black professionals a chance to further uplift and empower one another during a dark time in this country.
I interviewed media mogul and radio show host Angela Yee about the Black Alumni Expo, and what it meant to her. Her response was both heartfelt and timely, said Yee: “It’s so important to network and build relationships. It’s great to be in a room full of successful people who are looking to uplift and empower themselves, while coming together to address issues in our community. It’s terrible to see that there are people protesting against equality in 2017, but it’s great that we are here continuing to build and positively impact our community in a unified way”. If you let the white supremacist in #Charlottesville tell it, Black People are incapable of doing anything remotely close to positive. If you let the racist bigots in Charlottesville tell it, Black people don't deserve equal rights. It's apparent that there are people in this country who genuinely despise Black people. However, the Black Alumni Expo served as one of the many examples in which Black folks came together to network and empower ourselves, while simultaneously continuing to disprove the primitive logic of the white supremacist.
The weekend kicked off with a series of panels devoted to entrepreneurship and how to create your own opportunities. Prominent figures like Aerica Banks Diversity Lead and Patent Analyst at Google, Radio Host at WPGC 95.5fm Guy Lambert , and News Anchor at WUSA9 Mikea Turner, were on hand to provide insight not only on their respective career fields, but contributed profound knowledge by highlighting some significant ways in which professionals can create a successful path for themselves. A key component of entrepreneurship that was a constant theme throughout the conference was economic empowerment. I asked Angela Yee about how she continues to stay motivated in life and her answer was telling. Said Yee: “I think a big obstacle for a number of entrepreneurs is financial empowerment and literacy. Knowing what to do with your money, knowing where to invest and why certain moves can be good or bad really have a great impact on sustaining a successful business...That’s why i’m proud to have partnered with Juices For Life. We’re doing a financial summit at our Brooklyn location to help educate our community about the importance of financial health as well as taking care of their own body.” Reinvesting, knowing where to invest and where not to allocate funds to, while simultaneously learning about how to take care of your body, from a nutritional standpoint, is a win-win situation.
Reinvesting in your health was another major theme at this year’s Black Expo. Dr. Shayla Cornick the Owner and “Chief Happiness Officer” at CYCLED, DC’s premier cycling studio, is a testament to that notion. Shayla, the former Director of Research & Evaluation at Discovery, was able to quit her 9-5 job and open up two boutique cycling studios. She credits her ability to make such a transition to having a great team around her, while acknowledging that Washington D.C. is presents a booming market for health professionals like herself. The proof is definitely in the gluten-free pudding, as Shayla started out in 2015 with a small eleven bike studio , to now owning two studios in both D.C. and Maryland respectively. With all of the success and progress being made within the the health industry in D.C, who’s to say that others can’t find success in a market that is prime for growth and full of opportunity? Wait- don’t answer that because I have the answers for you. There are plenty other Entrepreneurs creating wealth within D.C’s health industry. Take keynote speaker Yenory Pouncil, Founder and CEO of IAMHEALTHYFIT. Not only has Yenory founded a successful business by empowering her community thru providing exceptional dietary and nutritional services, she continues to elevate her brand and empower others by sharing her personal testimony with others within the community.
In a city known for it’s political prowess and rich Black history, this year’s Black Alumni Expo not only served as an opportunity for people of color to network and celebrate. It also, as it pertains to the events in #Charlottesville, gave Black professionals a chance to further uplift and empower one another during a dark time in this country. It’s clear that D.C. presents a booming market for Black entrepreneurs, especially those within the health industry. It’s somewhat ironic when you think about the progress being made by people of color within in the Nation’s Capital, considering the socio-economic climate that exist with the trump administration. Be that as it may, Black entrepreneurs are continuing to create their own success through events like the Black Alumni Networking Expo & Ball. Personally, I had an outstanding time. Hopefully you’ll join us next year.
MAN WHAT A TIME!