FESTIVAL SCHEDULE

Empowerment Stages

Saturday, July 2, 11:15 a.m.-11:30 a.m.

Lezley McSpadden is the mother of Michael Brown, and founder of The Michael O. D. Brown We Love Our Sons & Daughters Foundation. The organization advocates for justice, improving health, advancing education, and strengthening families. McSpadden also founded its signature program, Rainbow of Mothers, which was established to support mothers who have suffered the devastating loss of a child. She lives in St. Louis, MO with her family. Visit http://michaelodbrown.org/.

Leap Run Grow

Friday July 1, 2016 - 2pm to 3pm 

 

As President/CEO of the U.S. Black Chambers, Inc. (USBC), Ron Busby, Sr. brings business management skills as well as a lifetime of community development experience to the organization. Mr. Busby is a former successful business owner himself, and he has been recognized as one of the nation’s best CEOs. Ron grew his first company, USA Superclean, from $150,000 annualized revenue, to over $15 million in only 10 years. Early on in his career, USA Superclean was recognized as the largest Black-owned janitorial firm in the country. Mr. Busby has also started and grown two other janitorial firms, both resulting in over $4 million in annualized revenue.

Currently, Ron serves on the Pfizer Small Business Council, National Newspapers Publishers Association Foundation Board of Directors, and White House African American Leadership Council. He has also formerly served on the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Council on Underserved Communities.

Trained by some of the country’s leading corporate executives, Ron developed his skills at some of the nation’s largest corporations including; Exxon, Xerox, IBM, and Coca-Cola USA. While in corporate America, he was recognized as National Sales Person of the Year.

Empowerment Stages

Sunday, July 3, 12:45 p.m.

Cheryl Wills is a television personality and the author of the new children’s book The Emancipation of Grandpa Sandy Wills, which is one of ESSENCE Magazine’s best picks for Black History Month. Cheryl is an award-winning anchor for Time Warner Cable’s flagship network, New York 1 News. Cheryl Wills made history as the first journalist invited to speak before the United Nations General Assembly for the International Remembrance of The Transatlantic Slave Trade. She has made cameo appearances in this summer’s blockbuster Ghostbusters 2Law & Order: SVUFreedomland and The Brave Onewww.diefreethebook.com

Empowerment Stages

Friday, July 1, 12:35 p.m.-12:55 p.m.

Cookie Johnson is a devoted philanthropist on the Board of Directors for the Magic Johnson Foundation, and a passionate spokesperson.  She joins her husband, Earvin "Magic" Johnson in the fight against HIV/AIDS.  Cookie is founder of 'CJ by Cookie Johnson,' a premium denim line.  The Michigan State University graduate lives with her husband in California; she is mother to their three children, André, Earvin Johnson III (EJ), and Elisa.

Empowerment Stages

Sunday, July 3, 8:44 a.m.-8:48 a.m. and 4:10 p.m.-4:25 p.m.

Gospel recording artist Latice Crawford, best known for her breakout performances during Season 2 of BET’s "Sunday Best," has become a favorite in the music community. Since the show, the Billboard charting singer released her self-titled debut album and has shared on stages such as The Stellar Awards as well as guest for the tours of Marvin Sapp, Mary Mary, and Kirk Franklin. Latice’s sophomore project, "Diary of a Church Girl," hits stores Spring 2016.

Leap Run Grow

Saturday July 2, 2016 - 2pm to 3pm

 

Howard Jean is the Principal of SEIL consulting firm, which specializes in collaborating with organizations and institutions to develop programs, campaigns and marketing strategies to address multi-faceted issues targeted at niche communities. Jean is also a national representative for the nationally recognized Call Me MISTER Teacher Leadership program which recruits, trains, and certifies minority male teachers.

 

Over the years, Jean has appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show, Tavis Smiley Radio Show, USA Today, Associated Press Articles, Jet Magazine, Essence Magazine, The Root, on the cover of ARETE Magazine and a plethora of online articles for his work in entrepreneurship and education. Jean was featured in Black Enterprise Magazine where he shares insight to readers on becoming successful in a global society. Jean’s recently appeared on TV One’s, News One Now with Roland Martin” where he discusses his initiative, BME Institute, which seeks to develop minority millennial entrepreneurs nationally with the United States Black Chambers. 

Empowerment Stages

Friday, July 1, 9:00 a.m.-10:30 a.m. and Sunday, July 3, 9:10 a.m.-10:00 a.m.

Charles Belonge aka Dj "Bam Bam" Belonge definitely rocks the party! This New Orleans native is a legend of the city’s radio and nightlife entertainment scene. For years, he has energized audiences before such names as Alicia Keys, Steve Harvey, Chaka Khan, Kem, Queen Latifah, and many more, and can be found performing at many of the most prominent and upscale weddings, corporate galas, and celebrity and socialite events in New Orleans and the region.

Ellen McGirt is an award winning journalist who covers race, culture and leadership for Fortune. Her reporting has taken her inside the C-Suites of Facebook, Nike, Twitter, Intel, and Cisco; to the campaign trail with Barack Obama; to Rwanda, Nigeria and Capitol Hill with Bono. She recently completed a book, Your First Leadership Job, published by Wiley in 2015. She went to Brown University and is on the board of L’Ecole de Choix, an elementary school in Mirebalais, Haiti.

Empowerment Stages

Saturday, July 2, 11:15 a.m.-11:30 a.m.

Lucy McBath is the mother of slain teen Jordan Davis, who was shot and killed at a gas station in Jacksonville, Florida in November 2012 during an argument over loud music. The shooter used Florida’s dangerous ‘Stand Your Ground’ law as his defense. Lucy is the Faith and Outreach Leader for Everytown for Gun Safety and the National Spokeswoman for Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.

Leap Run Grow

Friday July 1, 2016 - 2pm to 3pm 

 

Ann Davis Duplessis has over 33 years in the financial services industry.  Currently, Mrs. Duplessis is Senior Vice President of Retail Banking, Marketing & Sales, and Strategic Planning for Liberty Bank and Trust Company.  Liberty Bank is a $600+ million dollar retail bank with offices in 8 states across the United States.  Mrs. Duplessis also oversees the growth and profitability of Liberty Insurance, Inc.

 

Mrs. Duplessis currently serves on the LSU Board of Supervisors; she also serves as President of the Louisiana Federation for Children, a project of the American Federation for Children, where she partners with local and national policy leaders and lawmakers to promote and protect access to educational choice options, including the overwhelmingly popular Louisiana Scholarship Program.

Empowerment Stages

Sunday, July 3, 10:35 a.m.-10:40 a.m. and 12:50-12:55 p.m.

Lester Love serves as the Pastor of The City of Love in New Orleans, Louisiana and Executive Secretary for the Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship. He travels across the country presenting leadership sessions for ministries and corporations. His motivational mantra "ican.iWill.iMUST!" encourages us to maximize our potential. Love’s many talents also include singing. He hosts events for Super Bowl, the All-Star Game and has garnered millions of views for his “Love Songs” YouTube clip.

Phaedra is a celebrated entertainment attorney, mortician, author, mediator, television personality, activist, public speaker and, most importantly mother of two sons. She is the Managing Partner of The Parks Group, P.C., a boutique law firm that caters nationally to entertainers and athletes. Phaedra is a self-proclaimed "Southern Belle" as well as an active member of the community and church, sits on numerous boards, and is involved in multiple charities.  

Empowerment Stages

Sunday, July 3, 4:10 p.m.-4:25 p.m.

Alexis Spight the 2012 first-runner up of Season Five of BET’s Sunday Best released her debut album, "L.O.L.: Living Out Loud" in 2013, which peaked at #1 on the Billboard Top Gospel Albums chart. Followed by Spight’s highly anticipated sophomore project, Dear Diary on Uncle G Records, in which peaked at #2 on the Billboard Top Gospel Albums chart. The album garnered a Stellar Award nomination for Contemporary CD of the Year. Managed by industry veteran Greg ‘Uncle G’ Lyons, Spight has shared the stage with various artists such as Kim Burrell, Kierra Sheard, Fantasia and Tasha Cobbs; to name a few.

Leap Run Grow

Saturday July 2, 2016 - 2pm to 3pm

 

Kezia Williams is responsible for launching and leading UNCF’s national entrepreneurship initiative.  In this capacity, she manages a program that teaches African-American undergraduate scholars from over 40 different universities scholars how to start successful and profitable businesses.

 

Ms. Williams also recently launched The Black upstart – a national initiative training African-American millennial entrepreneurs.  The Black upStart uses an innovative curriculum specifically designed to re-educate African-Americans about how to overcome the obstacles specific race in the business creation process. To date, the business has graduated fifty Black entrepreneurs who plan to launch companies that will fill unmet need in the African-American marketplace.

 

Ms. Williams’ has been recognized as a Changemaker by Black Enterprise and named a top ten leader in the state of Virginia by the Virginia Leadership Institute.

 

Ms. Williams is a proud alum of Christopher Newport University, daughter of Gail Elaine Davis and a native of Richmond, Virginia.  

Church Friends, a group of friends who met through church, is made up of singers and musicians from New Orleans, Louisiana. "We always ended up together, either performing, supporting, or simply as friends. It only made sense to do together, what we do best, make music..." said George Potts Young, the founder. GPY and Church Friends, have collectively shared the stage with Grammy-award winners Aretha Franklin, Fantasia, New Kids On The Block, and Kirk Franklin, just to name a few! They've also appeared in films and TV shows, including "Memphis Beat", "The Campaign," and "When The Game Stands Tall."

Empowerment Stages

Friday, July 1, 4:45 p.m.-5:30 p.m.

THE REAL is a daily Emmy® nominated talk show on FOX with a rebroadcast on BET. Led by four diverse hosts, these women unapologetically say what women are thinking through candid conversations about the news, beauty, fashion and relationships. Unlike other talk shows, THE REAL hosts are admittedly a “work in progress,” and fearlessly invite the viewers into their daily lives. THE REAL is produced by Telepictures Productions and distributed by Warner Bros. Television.

Empowerment Stages

Saturday, July 2, 11:40 a.m.-12:00 p.m.

Maya Azucena, award-winning recording artist, is known for making music that uplifts the soul. Maya’s work has been featured in O Magazine, Washington Post, Billboard and countless other publications. She’s starred in MTV's "Made" and earned a Grammy Award certificate for her collaboration with Stephen Marley. Within the last year she’s toured to Haiti, South Africa, India and Russia. Maya last joined the ESSENCE FEST lineup in 2013 with Jill Scott, Maxwell & Beyonce.

Leap Run Grow

Friday July 1, 2016 - 2pm to 3pm

 

Michael Grant is president of the National Bankers Association and former president of the National Bakers Association Foundation.  He is also board secretary for the Minbanc Scholarship Fund for minority banks. A corporate consultant for fifteen years, Grant’s firm, of which he was a co-owner, claimed as his clients some of America’s best known companies: Marriott and Ritz-Carlton Hotels, McDonalds Corporation, Harrah’s Casinos, Westin and Hilton Hotels, Dell Computers, the Cracker Barrel Corporation and others.

The recipient of numerous awards and citations, including – the Golden Key Honor Society’s Award for Outstanding Service and is listed in Who’s Who in Washington, D.C.

 

Grant served as a member of the Commission for the Future of the Tennessee Judicial System, president of the Nashville Branch of the NAACP and chief fundraiser of the NAACP’s Tennessee State Conference of Branches.  He was co-founder of the Greater Nashville African-American Chamber of Commerce.  Presently, he serves on the board of directors for the U.S. Black Chambers, Inc.

Empowerment Stages

Friday, July 1, 2:55-3:40 p.m.

Represents Senate District 5 in Louisiana. Current Chair of Senate and Governmental Affairs Committee, Past Chair of the  Select Committee on Women and Children, and Counsel at Dentons. Served on House Appropriations, as House Speaker Pro Tempore, and the first female chair of House Insurance. In 2012, elected first female Chair of Louisiana Democratic Party and re-elected for a second term. Appointed Co-Chair of DNC Credentials Committee and elected Vice-President of the Association of Democratic Party Chairs.  Member of Delta Sigma Theta and married to Dana Peterson.

Empowerment Stages

Friday, July 1, 1:55 p.m.-2:15 p.m.

Multimillion copy and New York Times bestselling author TERRY MCMILLAN fell in love with books as a teenager while working at the local library. She studied journalism at UC Berkeley and screenwriting at Columbia before making her fiction debut with Mama, which won both the Doubleday New Voices in Fiction Award and the American Book Award. She lives in Pasadena, California.

Empowerment Stages

Sunday, July 3, 4:10 p.m.-4:25 p.m.

Dallas native Candy West is a singer, songwriter and speaker. She is an industry vet that has recorded and traveled worldwide with the likes of Kirk Franklin, Fred Hammond, Marvin Sapp, Myron Butler, Mary Mary, Snarky Puppy and Erykah Badu. With over 40 albums with her vocal stamp, she’s now taking the lead on her own musical journey with her first single release “Turnaround” and forthcoming live project due to be released in the Fall.

Leap Run Grow

Saturday July 2, 2016 - 2pm to 3pm

 

Klassi Duncan is a Small Business Advisor for the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Program at Delgado Community College. She is also a regular Entrepreneurship course instructor at Delgado Community College.

 

Ms. Duncan began her professional career as a Buyer at Ford Motor Company where she was responsible for the procurement of various products and services throughout her time with the company. In 2008, Ms. Duncan assumed the role of Manager of Supplier Diversity & Sustainability at Covidien. There she was responsible for developing and implementing a strategy and program for the inclusion of small and diverse businesses into the strategic sourcing process, and for working with these businesses to build capacity and increase operational efficiencies.

 

Klassi is a Certified Professional in Supply Chain Management and a Certified Professional in Supplier Diversity. She is an active member of the Institute for Supply Management, Greater New Orleans, Inc., where she serves on the Board of Directors as the Director of Marketing.

Church Friends, a group of friends who met through church, is made up of singers and musicians from New Orleans, Louisiana. "We always ended up together, either performing, supporting, or simply as friends. It only made sense to do together, what we do best, make music..." said George Potts Young, the founder. GPY and Church Friends, have collectively shared the stage with Grammy-award winners Aretha Franklin, Fantasia, New Kids On The Block, and Kirk Franklin, just to name a few! They've also appeared in films and TV shows, including "Memphis Beat", "The Campaign," and "When The Game Stands Tall."

Baton Rouge native and iconic actress Lynn Whitfield stars as matriarch, Lady Mae Greenleaf, who honors tradition at all costs in the OWN drama series Greenleaf from Craig Wright and executive producer Oprah Winfrey. Whitfield is an Emmy Award winner for her portrayal of Josephine Baker in HBO’s The Josephine Baker Story. She was the second woman of color to win this award. Whitfield’s other accolades include a Golden Globe nomination and four NAACP Awards.

Empowerment Stages

Saturday, July 2, 11:00 a.m. and 12:45 p.m.

Mikki Taylor is the quintessential authority on matters regarding beauty and empowerment.  She inspires women to own their lives, celebrate their beauty and master their purpose with distinction. For 30 years, Taylor served as ESSENCE magazine’s groundbreaking Beauty & Cover Director, and is now Editor-at-Large. She is the author of Self-Seduction: Your Ultimate Path to Inner and Outer Beauty; Commander-in-Chic, and the forthcoming Editor in Chic, How to Style and Be Your Most Empowered Self.

Empowerment Stages

Saturday, July 2, 12:10 p.m.-12:25 p.m.

YouTube personality Todrick Hall is a multifaceted artist and entertainment powerhouse known for his dynamic choreography and vocals. An MTV docu-series followed the behind-the-scenes fun and madness of the making of his popular videos. He also puts his talents to use for social causes that he is passionate about, including "HIV Beats," a new YouTube campaign from "Greater Than AIDS" and #ENDHIV. This summer he embarks on a world tour, "Straight Outta Oz."

Leap Run Grow

Friday July 1, 2016 - 2pm to 3pm

 

An expert in marketing, small business development, supplier diversity and entrepreneurship, Kathey is a supplier diversity director and consultant for the government, higher education and corporate sectors. Previously a marketing executive in the beauty industry for companies including Carson Products, Revlon Professional and Colomer USA, Kathey was responsible for new product development, launch strategy and marketing activation for brands targeting multicultural consumers. An owner and operator of several businesses, Kathey most recently founded BusinessFAB™ (Fearless. Awesome. Boss), a boutique multiplatform media initiative that advises women entrepreneurs on starting, growing and sustaining a business. An adjunct business instructor for over 10 years, Kathey has lectured at several colleges and universities. Her first book, 50 Billion Dollar Boss: African American Women Sharing Stories of Success in Entrepreneurship and Leadership (November, 2015), was nominated for a 2015 NAACP Image™ Award and ranked a  #1 New Release in Business and Entrepreneurship on Amazon.

Empowerment Stages

Sunday, July 3, 3:40 p.m.-4:00 p.m.

Yolanda Adams triumphantly carries the torch for contemporary gospel and inspirational music. With 13 releases, Yolanda has earned a multitude of accolades including four Grammy Awards.  Not only is Yolanda a phenomenal vocalist, she is also an author ("Points of Power"), designer of a Coffee Line, Simply Yolanda Bath & Body Products, www.YolandaAdamslive.com, mother, and the host on her award winning nationally syndicated radio show “The Yolanda Adams Morning Show."

Empowerment Stages

Sunday, July 3, 12:22 p.m.-12:35 p.m.

Tina Knowles-Lawson is a fashion designer and entrepreneur. As a stylist she began with the superstar group Destiny’s Child and designs for Beyoncé’s tours and television performances. She created the successful clothing lines, House of Deréon, Deréon and Miss Tina. Her philanthropic work includes the establishment of The Knowles-Rowland Center for Youth in Houston, Texas. The author of "Destiny’s Styleis" currently working on her second book. With husband, actor Richard Lawson, she is in the process of opening a theater in Los Angeles.

Leap Run Grow

Saturday July 2, 2016 - 2pm to 3pm 

 

As a serial entrepreneur, Riana has developed high-growth, nationally recognized technology and food businesses and led teams for projects on the popular CNBC show “The Profit” after an acquisition of her consulting firm, Rivive Group. She has spent valuable time exploring different food distribution methods while discovering exciting produce and inspiring flavors from across the globe. Riana developed innovative supply chain management tools while working along the agricultural pipeline – from local farmers to large agricultural leaders in California, West Africa, Mexico, and Brazil. On a local level, schools and gardens are examples of the dozens of partnerships she has fostered to promote healthy lifestyles in communities while maintaining a business committed to vitality. Her passion for the value of good food, thriving businesses, and technology have most recently inspired her to develop innovative supply chain management tools and create FoodTrace, a next level technology platform designed to help businesses with growth and supply chain mapping management.

Church Friends, a group of friends who met through church, is made up of singers and musicians from New Orleans, Louisiana. "We always ended up together, either performing, supporting, or simply as friends. It only made sense to do together, what we do best, make music..." said George Potts Young, the founder. GPY and Church Friends, have collectively shared the stage with Grammy-award winners Aretha Franklin, Fantasia, New Kids On The Block, and Kirk Franklin, just to name a few! They've also appeared in films and TV shows, including "Memphis Beat", "The Campaign," and "When The Game Stands Tall."

Leap Run Grow

Friday July 1, 2016 - 1pm to 2pm & 2pm to 3pm 

Saturday July 1, 2016 - 1pm to 2pm

 

Cassius F. Butts was appointed by President Barack Obama in 2011. He is responsible for the delivery of SBA programs in Region IV comprised of the eight Southeastern states. During his appointment, Cassius has managed oversight of five record breaking years for SBA lending in Region IV. Nearly $20 billion in SBA-backed loans were awarded to small businesses within Region IV. Under Cassius’s leadership, we have witnessed historic lending, record-breaking government contracting dollars awarded and the highest number of entrepreneurs trained and counseled in SBA history.

Featured in CNN's "Black in America," Perry is the most talked about innovative educator on the scene today. Founder of what U.S. News and World Report has cited as one of the top schools in America, Capital Preparatory Magnet School in Hartford, Connecticut.

 

Dr. Perry, MSW is also Founder and Head of Capital Preparatory Schools, with two new locations opening in Bridgeport, CT and Harlem, NY, the Education Contributor for CNN and MSNBC, an ESSENCE Magazine columnist, and a best-selling author.

 

 

Soledad O’Brien is a journalist, speaker, author, philanthropist and CEO of Starfish Media Group. O’Brien appears regularly on HBO “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel” and PBS "NewsHour." Her successful documentaries for CNN include “Black in America” and “Latino in America.” Her coverage has won her three Emmy awards, the George Foster Peabody Award, and an Alfred I. DuPont Award. She is the author of two books: “The Next Big Story” and “Latino in America.”

Empowerment Stages

Sunday, July 3, 8:56 a.m.-9:01 am.
Jessica Harvey and The Difference is a ministry that was formed In May 2015. These ladies are on a mission to make “the difference” in this world, and spread love and hope to everyone they encounter. It is our goal to lead people all over the world to a real place of worship and to a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ. All of the members of “The Difference” are from New Orleans, LA and are members of different churches, but they all love to sing and worship the Lord.

 

Empowerment Stages

Saturday, July 2, 3:15 p.m.-3:30 p.m.

Rev. Dr. Al Sharpton is founder and President of the National Action Network (NAN), a not-for-profit civil rights organization formed in 1991 with over 100 chapters nationwide, including a Washington, DC Bureau and regional offices across the US. As one of the nation’s most-renowned civil rights leaders, Rev. Al Sharpton has been praised by President Barack Obama as "the voice of the voiceless and a champion for the downtrodden.” Rev. also Sharpton hosts a daily radio show, a national cable news television show and he is an established author.

Empowerment Stages

Saturday, July 2, 2:10 p.m.-2:40 p.m.

John B. King, Jr. is the U.S. Secretary of Education. In tapping him to lead the U.S. Department of Education, President Obama called King "an exceptionally talented educator," citing his commitment to "preparing every child for success" and his lifelong dedication to education as a teacher, principal, and leader of schools and school systems. King joined the Department following his tenure as the first African-American and Puerto Rican to serve as New York State Education Commissioner.

Leap Run Grow

Saturday July 2, 2016 - 2pm to 3pm

 

Dr. J. MacCalla is the CEO of Zyrobotics, responsible for corporate management and strategic plans.  She is a serial entrepreneur with a 35-year track record and has extensive high-tech project experience with BART, Port of LA, TRW, NASA, and DOD. Prior to Zyrobotics, she was the CEO of Automated Switching & Controls, Inc., a communications & controls company with over $8M in annual contracts with city & state transit. And President of Advanced Systems Concepts Inc., overseeing approximately $3M in DOD contracts for military communications and control systems. As Chairman of the LAMTA Foundation she managed their $100M endowment, and was a board member of the California High Speed Rail Commission. She has been a member of the California Council of Science and Technology, the National Office Advisory Panel, the Public Interest Energy Research Program, and the CCST Policy Fellowship Review Board.  She has held faculty positions at California Polytechnic University, Spelman College, University of Southern California, and West Coast University.  Dr. MacCalla holds degrees from Brown University, Stanford University and a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Southern California.

Empowerment Stages

Friday, July 1, 11:20 a.m.-11:40 a.m.

With a mixture of spoken word, zingy theatrics,  and soul rousing music Tank and the Bangas have no problem going against the grain of what traditional New Orleans music is supposed to sound like.  The Bangas create the perfect compositions for front lady Tank to take you somewhere.  Going from the heart felt sunken words of spoken word to front row at a rock concert you'll be sure to experience what fans can only describe as "The best roller coaster I've ever been on."

Leap Run Grow

Friday July 1, 2016 - 1pm to 2pm

Saturday July 2, 2016 - 3pm to 4pm 

 

In 2014, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker appointed Ms. Alejandra Y. Castillo to serve as the National Director of the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA). Ms. Castillo is the first Hispanic-American woman to lead the Agency since its creation. In this capacity, Ms. Castillo directs the Agency’s strategic efforts to enhance the growth and global competitiveness of minority business enterprises (MBEs). Under Ms. Castillo’s leadership, the Agency has expanded its effort to help MBEs grow and succeed through access to capital, access to contract and access to business opportunities both domestically and abroad. Prior to assuming this role, she served as National Deputy Director managing the Agency’s day-to-day operations and its national network of MBDA Business Centers.

Empowerment Stages

Friday, July 1, 1:05 p.m.-1:45 p.m.

An activist, mother of 3 and national symbol for her pursuit of justice. After the tragic killing of her finance, Sean Bell, by undercover NYPD officers the night of his 2006 bachelor party, she founded ‘WIRIF’, a community organization for justice, women’s empowerment and youth. As a public speaker and leader, Nicole raises awareness for issues in our community and was honored with a ‘NYC Proclamation’ for her contributions. In 2010, she was runner up for the 28th district NYC Council seat. Today, Nicole rallies with Hillary Clinton in the race to become President of the United States.

Empowerment Stages

Saturday, July 2, 1:20 p.m.-2:00 p.m.

Mayor Tony T. Yarber of Jackson, MS received a B.S. in Elementary Education from the University of Southern Mississippi, M.S. in Education Administration and Supervision from Jackson State University, and Honorary Doctorate of Laws from Belhaven University. An advocate for his city and through work in the public school systems, city council, and community engagement projects, Mayor Yarber has obtained the skills and knowledge to move Jackson forward.

Leap Run Grow

Saturday July 2, 2016 - 1pm to 2pm

 

Sabrina Peterson is all about girl power and the progressive continuation of female empowerment. After a number of very successful businesses, Sabrina decided to shift her focus to feminism and being a resolve for young women seeking to excel. Her Glam University is where business minded women become successful colleagues, and gain hands on experience with one of the most successful business creators in Atlanta. As she coaches young entrepreneurs, she is widely respected for remaining transparent in her approach. She continues to touch the lives of women all over the world, changing one life at a time.

Empowerment Stages

Sunday, July 3, 5:15 p.m.-5:35 p.m.

Kierra Sheard is a GRAMMY® nominated, multiple award-winning recording artist, songwriter, TV star/actress and entrepreneur. Singing since age 9, Kierra is the daughter of Karen Clark Sheard (of the renowned Clark Sisters) and Bishop J. Drew Sheard (Pastor of Greater Emmanuel, Institutional Church Of God In Christ, Detroit, MI). Kierra has BA in English from Wayne State University and owns plus size clothing line Eleven60, www.myeleven60.com. You can find info on her latest digital EP entitled LED at www.iamkierrasheard.com.

Empowerment Stages

Sunday, July 3, 11:20 a.m.-11:35 a.m.

International worship leader Micah Stampley recently released his eighth recording project To the King…Vertical Worship. The album debuted at No. 2 on Billboard’s Top Gospel Albums chart. His chart-topping single, “Be Lifted,” is penned by his wife and co-writer, Heidi, and was named one of the top hot new songs in 2016 by BlackGospel.com. The Stampleys are the founders of Interface Entertainment, a boutique music label and production company providing high-level expertise in the entertainment industry.

Leap Run Grow

Saturday July 2, 2016 - 2pm to 3pm

 

Janeya Griffin is a HBCU STEM grad from Grambling State University and a certified Entrepreneurial Technology Commercialization expert in Technology Transfer. She is adept at utilizing her innovative and detailed oriented skill set in an environment that supports moving technologies from mind to market. Applying out of the box thinking intertwined with her science and entrepreneurial skills she is able to help private industry, universities and government entities excel in successfully creating and implementing strategies for both licensing and the commercialization of new technologies. 

Janeya is the Lead Technology Transfer Specialist contractor for NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center, where she focuses on licensing, commercialization and management of their intellectual property portfolios. Over the last 4 years, she has successfully aided in vetting over 100+ technologies for both patentability and commercialization potential.

Ms. Griffin is also a member at large on the National Executive Board for the Federal Laboratory Consortium.

Empowerment Stages

Friday, July 1, 2:25 p.m.-2:45 p.m.

Nominated for two Academy Awards and four Golden Globes, writer/director Ava DuVernay's most recent feature "Selma" was one 2015's most critically-acclaimed films. She is currently writing, directing and producing her first television series "Queen Sugar" for Oprah Winfrey's OWN. Winner of the 2012 Sundance Film Festival's Best Director Prize for her previous feature "Middle of Nowhere," DuVernay's earlier directorial work includes "I Will Follow," "Venus Vs," "My Mic Sounds Nice" and "This is The Life." In 2010, she founded ARRAY, a distribution collective for filmmakers of color and women. She was born, raised and loves life in Los Angeles, California.

Leap Run Grow

Saturday July 2, 2016 - 1pm to 2pm & 2pm to 3pm 

 

Demetria Gallagher is the Senior Advisor for Policy and Inclusive Innovation at the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) under the Department of Commerce.

Demetria Gallagher has spent over a decade championing the revitalization of America’s disadvantaged communities. Demetria has fought to amplify the voices of marginalized areas through innovative urban planning and business investment strategies. She is committed to addressing the needs of under-served neighborhoods, communities of color, and minority-owned businesses with revolutionary action. Having begun her career as an academic advisor in Chicago, Demetria helped over 300 first generation/low-income college students become promising young professionals.

In 2010, Demetria took these leadership skills to Washington, DC to work at the Minority Business Development Agency. In 2015, Demetria was appointed by the White House as the Senior Advisor for Policy and Inclusive Innovation to advance the economic impact of minority-owned firms in 21st century innovation and entrepreneurship. Demetria currently leads a national program to engage minority innovators in technology commercialization and federal innovation. 

Demetria holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her focus on urban policy led to her to a Master’s Degree in Sustainable Urban Planning from George Washington University. In 2016, she advanced her entrepreneurial skill set at the University of Oxford in London by focusing on the best practices in social impact investment

Empowerment Stages

Friday, July 1, 12:30 p.m.-12:33 p.m.; Saturday, July 2, 1:20 p.m.-2:00 p.m.; Sunday, July 3, 8:37 a.m.-8:42 a.m.

Mitchell J. Landrieu has served as the 61st Mayor of New Orleans since 2010, elected with a clear mandate to usher in a new era of peace and prosperity. He was overwhelmingly re-elected in 2014. Since taking office, Landrieu has implemented transformational changes to build a better, stronger New Orleans as one team, one fight, one voice and one city. Landrieu previously served six years as lieutenant governor and 16 years as a state legislator.

Empowerment Stages

Sunday, July 3, 10:50 a.m.-11:10 a.m.

Josh Kagler is a man of many musical talents. As a singer, songwriter, and choir master, the New Orleans native has sung background for several main-stream gospel artists. Notably, his group Harmonistic Praise Chorale were the 2013 winners of The Verizon Wireless "How Sweet the Sound" Southern Regional Choir Competition and features on Oxygen Networks reality show "FIX MY CHOIR" featuring Grammy winning Destiny's Child Michelle Williams and "Preachers of LA" Deitrick Haddon.

 

 

Leap Run Grow

Saturday July 2, 2016 - 1pm to 2pm & 2pm to 3pm 

 

William Isaac McCoy was appointed by President Obama as the Senior Advisor for Business Development at the U.S. Department of Commerce, Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA), in 2016.

 

In his current role, Mr. McCoy provides strategic advice and guidance to MBDA’s National Director in order to achieve the objectives of the Office of Business Development. The Office of Business Development is responsible for developing and implementing innovative solutions to address the challenges faced by minority-owned businesses such as access to capital, contracts, markets and capacity building. He is also responsible for establishing and maintaining positive relationships with MBDA Business Centers, industry partners and stakeholders.  

Empowerment Stages

Sunday, July 3, 11:45 a.m.-12:05 p.m.

For Grammy nominated singer/songwriter Travis Greene, destiny announced itself several times. At the age of four, he was pronounced dead after falling four floors out of an apartment window in Germany. As his mother picked up his lifeless body, she called on Jesus until he came back to life. Now the anointed vocalist signed to RCA Inspiration is encouraging the masses with his chart topping single, “Intentional” from his major-label debut album, THE HILL. 

Empowerment Stages

Sunday, July 3, 1:30 p.m.-1:35 p.m.

Grammy, Dove and Stellar Award nominated group Virtue is an Urban Contemporary gospel trio consisting of blood sisters Ebony Holland, Karima Kibble and Heather Martin. With seven albums released and nearly a half a million records sold worldwide, Virtue is one of the best-selling gospel groups of all-time. In February 2016 the group released their all-new album Fearless to critical acclaim and debuted in the Top 3 on Billboard’s Top Gospel Albums chart making it their best debut charting position in their 20 year musical career.

Leap Run Grow

Saturday July 2, 2016 - 3pm to 4pm

 

Mr. Square has over 20 years of private, public, and entrepreneurial experience in consulting, IT, telecommunications, manufacturing, construction transportation, business process outsourcing, and private equity industries.  Prior to starting Square Button, a Mechanical and Low-Voltage construction company, Square led technology as the Chief Information Officer of the City of New Orleans and the Chief Technology and Innovation Officer for PosiGen Solar Solutions.  At the City of New Orleans Square also led a successful consulting team that focused on identifying and capturing revenue and cost improvements.  Post completion of an MBA, from The Wharton School, Square spent time working as a consultant with Bain & Company, Inc. Allen also holds a BS in Electrical Engineering from Tulane University and an MS in Telecommunications from Southern Methodist University.  Prior to attending business school Allen was well respected in the wireless telecommunications industry as an expert on GSM and CDMA technologies.

Melissa Harris-Perry is Maya Angelou Presidential Chair at Wake Forest University. There she is Executive Director of the Pro Humanitate Institute and founding director of the Anna Julia Cooper Center. Melissa is Editor-at-Large for ELLE.com. 

 

She hosted the award winning television show “Melissa Harris-Perry” from 2012-2016 on MSNBC.

Leap Run Grow

Friday July 1, 2016 - 1pm to 2pm

Saturday July 2, 2016 - 1pm to 2pm 

 

An author, angel investor and business strategist, Christine White is an advocate for creatives and an advisor to entrepreneurs. White uses her years as an entertainment, corporate and tax attorney, to empower a generation to build businesses and create wealth. As Chief Strategy Officer of White Strategy Group, LLC, Ms. White provides creative businesses owners, athletes and entertainers strategies that grow their businesses, protect their assets and optimize their earning potential. She is the founding partner of White Legal Strategy, LLC, a boutique firm that provides legal counsel to brands in the media, film and music. In 2007, she co-founded the Collective Renaissance Guild, a 501c3 purposed to advance the arts, civic engagement and economic opportunity for the “Power Generation.” Ms. White continues to serve as CEO, mobilizing the arm of the organization known as the Influencer Coalition (icATL), a collective of entrepreneurs who advocate for economic and social justice.

Sunday, July 3, 5:35 p.m.-5;40 p.m.

Multi-GRAMMY® Award winning sisters Jacky, Twinkie, Dorinda and Karen are true gospel music legends and noted as pioneers of contemporary gospel since the 1980s.  Daughters of the legendary Dr. Mattie Moss Clark, these dynamic Gospel trailblazers have given us hits such as, “You’ve Brought the Sunshine”, “Endow Me”, and “Is My Living in Vain."  Their music continues to inspire artists such as Faith Evans, Mariah Carey, Mary J. Blige, Missy Elliot and many more.  This year, they will be honored at the Essence Festival!

Empowerment Stages

Sunday, July 3, 2:15 p.m.-2:35 p.m.

In six short years, Brian Courtney Wilson has released three solo albums (Just Love, So Proud and Worth Fighting For) and shared his talents as a member of Fred Hammond’s United Tenors. Throughout those projects, Wilson’s singular tenor and community-minded ministry has won the humble artist a growing host of fans and critical acclaim.  As a Stellar Award and Dove Award winner as well as a 2016 Grammy Award Nominee, the Motown Gospel artist brings the full measure of his singing and songwriting talents to every project and performance.

Empowerment Stages

Sunday, July 3, 8:30 a.m.
Judy Reese Morse is Deputy Mayor for Citywide Initiatives for the City of New Orleans. Deputy Mayor Morse leads EquityNewOrleans, an initiative designed to develop strategies in city government to ensure equity in the policies, programs and services impacting all citizens. She also oversees NOLA FOR LIFE, the city's comprehensive strategy to reduce murder among young, African American men and The Welcome Table New Orleans, an initiative on race, reconciliation and community building.

 

Empowerment Stages

Sunday, July 3, 1:45 p.m.-2:05 p.m.

There’s no slowing down for powerhouse vocalist, Tasha Page-Lockhart.  Since winning the sixth season of BET’s "Sunday Best" and signing with Kirk Franklin’s "Fo' Yo' Soul" Recordings/RCA label, the Detroit native released her major-label debut, HERE RIGHT NOW, and took home the 2015 Stellar Award for Best New Artist of The Year.   Currently, Tasha is a part of Tyler Perry’s touring stage production, “Madea on The Run” and working on new music for her sophomore album.   

Empowerment Stages

Friday, July 1, 2:55 p.m.-3:40 p.m.

Dr. C. Nicole Mason is the Executive Director of CR2PI at the New York Women's Foundation and is the author of Born Bright: A Young Girl's Journey from Nothing to Something in America (St. Martin's Press). Her commentary and writing have been featured in the Los Angeles Times, The Chronicle of Higher Education, POLITICO, The Nation, The Progressive, Spotlight on Poverty, USA Today, Essence magazine, and on CNN, MSNBC, NPR, and NBC, among other outlets.

Leap Run Grow

Saturday July 2, 2016 - 3pm to 4pm

 

Andrea oversees the Propeller team, operations and strategic direction.

 

Andrea began her career as a high school English teacher at John McDonogh Sr. High School and subsequently trained teachers at the University of New Orleans and The New Teacher Project. She has worked at the Louisiana Association of Charter Schools where she oversaw grantmaking for over $5 million in charter school startup funds and launched a $1.5 million below-market rate Bridge Loan Fund. She was named “40 Under 40” by Gambit Magazine, 2010 City Business Women of the Year, World Economic Forum Young Global Shaper, and is an appointed board member of the New Orleans Business Alliance, the official economic development arm of the City of New Orleans. She graduated from Stanford University, attended Harvard Graduate School of Education and the University of New Orleans, and was trained in business at Dartmouth University’s Tuck School of Business.

Empowerment Stages

Friday, July 1, 2:55 p.m.-3:40 p.m.

Dr. Julianne Malveaux has long been recognized for her progressive and insightful observations. She is a labor economist, noted author and colorful commentator. Her contributions to the public dialogue on issues such as race, culture, gender and their economic impacts are shaping public opinion in 21st Century America. Dr. Malveaux is the founder and President of Economic Education, a 501GGGc 3 organization focused on personal finance and economic policy education and their connection.

Leap Run Grow

Friday July 1, 2016 - 1pm to 2pm & 2pm to 3pm 

 

Tiffany Bailey is President and CEO of OSC Edge, an award-winning IT services, cloud computing, and technical communications firm headquartered in Atlanta, GA. Tiffany began growing OSC Edge in her 20s by providing innovative technologies to the Federal government. Within a few years, OSC Edge grew from a two-person shop to a multimillion dollar firm with employees throughout the US and Puerto Rico. OSC Edge is the recipient multiple awards, including Northrop Grumman’s World Supplier of the Year, reserved for only 7 of Northrop Grumman’s more than 6,000 suppliers. Tiffany regularly shares her experience as an entrepreneur in the Federal government—a male-dominated market with a workforce averaging over 45 years of age. Tiffany is a recent alumna of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program and received her Bachelors from the University of Georgia, Masters from The George Washington University, and studied abroad at Oxford University, UK.

Tyronne G. Foster and the Arc Singers is a community choir from the great city of New Orleans, Louisiana. This choir has been singing God’s praises for 29 years. They have traveled internationally, performed at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, ESSENCE Festival and did a live recording for the New Orleans Saints. On January 17, 2016 this great choir did their very first live recording at the Beacon Light International Church. One thing is for sure about Tyronne G. Foster and the Arc Singers, they love giving God the praise and they know He is not through with them yet.

Empowerment Stages

Saturday, July 2, 12:50 p.m.-1:10 p.m.

Tyra Banks, the Chairman and CEO of The Tyra Banks Company and Founder of Fierce Capital, LLC is an original Victoria’s Secret Angel.  Tyra was the first African-American model to be featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue. For the last decade, she has been the creator and executive producer of "America’s Next Top Model."  Most recently, Tyra created TYRA Beauty, a 100% self-funded company with the goal of providing everyone the opportunity to become the CEO of their own lives. TYRA Beauty is a one of a kind cosmetics experience where beauty and entertainment collide. 

Faith Renée Evans is a multi-platinum, Grammy Award-winning recording artist, songwriter, arranger and record producer. She’s also a New York Times best-selling author, entrepreneur, TV executive producer and most importantly—a mother. Through an equally rewarding and trying career, ask how she’s come this far, she’ll simply reply, “FAITH.” Now in the studio, she’s working on “#Faith20,” celebrating her first album’s 20th Anniversary and “The King & I,” a duet album with BIG.

Leap Run Grow

Saturday July 2, 2016 - 1pm to 2pm

 

Antwaun Griffin was appointed by President Obama to serve as Deputy Assistant Secretary for U.S. Operations at the International Trade Administration (ITA) in May 2012. In this role, he oversees the day-to-day operations of the U.S. Commercial Service’s network of 108 U.S. Export Assistance Centers whose trade specialists work closely with U.S. Embassies and Consulates worldwide to help American businesses develop or fine-tune their global growth strategies.  Through this work, Antwaun and his organization helps to facilitate billions of dollars in export sales annually through trade counseling, international business matchmaking, market intelligence and commercial diplomacy

Empowerment Stages

Sunday, July 3, 2:45 p.m.-3:05 p.m.

A multi-talented, platinum-selling recording artist, Keke Wyatt has been wowing audiences around the world with her powerhouse vocals and chart-topping songs since she was a teenager. Known for making dynamic duets with Avant, such as "My First Love," "Nothing in This World" and "You & I," Wyatt continues to soar high as a solo artist. Now, the sassy, sexy vocalist, instrumentalist, songwriter and former star of TV One's smash hit R&B Divas Atlanta has released her fourth studio album, Rated Love. With the the release of the album on her Aratek Entertainment label, Wyatt has the freedom and creative control over her music.The album is all about love, and takes listeners on a journey from start to finish. As can be heard on her recent singles "Sexy Song" and "Love Me," Wyatt describes the album as being "...like eating a pot of gumbo—it has all sorts of flavors, but it's all Keke."

Maya Harris is a wife, mother and a senior policy advisor to Secretary Hillary Clinton. A native of Oakland, California, Harris has spent her entire career focusing on civil rights, criminal justice reform, and advancing economic and social equity. Her prior positions include Ford Foundation Vice President and Executive Director of the Northern California ACLU.  In 2014, Harris published Women of Color: A Growing Force in the American Electorate, arguing that Black women are among the highest propensity voters and any candidate seeking electoral success must address their interests and policy priorities.

Empowerment Stages

Saturday July 2, 3:50 p.m.-4:10 p.m.
Bio forthcoming.

Empowerment Stages

Friday, July 1, 3:45 p.m.-4:25 p.m.

Tichina Arnold plays Cassie Calloway on the Starz series "Survivor's Remorse" and is a two-time NAACP Image Award-winning actress. Her first win was for her role as Pam Jones on the hit television series "Martin." Her second was for Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series for “Everybody Hates Chris,” playing Rochelle Rock. Tichina has also appeared on "Happily Divorced," “Ryan’s Hope,” “All My Children,” “The Cosby Show,” “Law & Order,” and "One on One."

Leap Run Grow

Friday July 1, 2016 - 1pm to 2pm

 

As the Apprenticeship Director at #YesWeCode, Johnnie is developing a model for educating and training diverse students to prepare them for careers in computer programming. He works directly with employers, students, community colleges, and coding bootcamps that are collaborating with #YesWeCode to create a pipeline program for computer programers across industries. He has represented #YesWeCode at the ApprenticeshipUSA White House Summit, where #YesWeCode was recognized by the Department of Labor as a national leader in tech diversity.

 

Johnnie came to #YesWeCode from the Peralta Community College District where he is a computer information systems faculty member. He also founded an Information Computer Technology (ICT) program for local high school students, which included coursework, guest speakers, and visits to leading technology companies in the Bay Area. Students who completed the program received college credit, and some students received internships at technology companies. Prior to working at Peralta, Johnnie worked as a programmer for start-up companies that were pioneering innovative technologies such as biometric verification and smart card technology. He has also worked as a programmer for a leading video game company. Johnnie was born and raised in Oakland and graduated with a degree in Cognitive Science from Occidental College in Los Angeles.

Empowerment Stages

It’s time to meet Michelle Williams, member of internationally acclaimed female group Destiny’s Child. Hit-making solo singer in her own right (Journey to Freedom, Unexpected, Do you Know, Heart to Yours). Stage actress (“Aida,” “The Color Purple, “Chicago,” “Fela!”), mentor on Oxygen’s “Fix My Choir”, and covering new ground with the launch of  “Believe at Home”, a bedding and home-goods line available on EVINE Live. Now Williams is exuberantly embracing her Journey to Freedom.

Empowerment Stages

Saturday, July 2, 2:50 p.m.-3:10 p.m.

Groundbreaking ballerina Misty Copeland, was promoted to principal dancer at the American Ballet Theatre in June 2015.  She made history as the first black woman to reach that level in the company’s 75-year history. She had been a soloist at ABT since 2007 and joined the company’s Corps de Ballet in 2001.  Since then, the nationally known dancer has appeared on the cover of ESSENCE Magazine and interviewed President Obama with our amazing staff.

Empowerment Stages

Sunday, July 3, 4:10 p.m.-4:25 p.m.

Keyondra is an original member of two time Stellar Award nominated group, Zie'l. Keyondra wrote on Kierra Sheard's LED EP on which she co- wrote “Make Me Better." She also wrote “State of Emergency “ on Ziel’s album, Pronounced Zy-El which reached top 15 on Billboard. Keyondra released her first solo project Soul Couture in 2012 and Soul Couture II in 2015. Her EP, “Bring Me To,"  can be purchased on iTunes NOW.

Leap Run Grow

Saturday July 2, 2016 - 1pm to 2pm

 

Kimberly Lewis is an innovative, hard-working, millennial entrepreneur. Kim is the founder of CurlMix, the DIY box for curly hair. Her innovative take on Do – It – Yourself hair products has won her praise from top industry publications such as Refinery29, Essence Magazine, Ebony Magazine, HypeHair Magazine, and NaturallyCurly. With a Bachelor’s Degree in Logistics & Marketing from the University of Illinois, Kim has taken the DIY spirit to heart, building CurlMix from the ground up to a six figure business within less than a year. Kim has reached milestones beyond her years. She was a runner-up in the Black Enterprise Pitch Competition and the winner of the Association of Women Inventors and Entrepreneurs Pitch Competition. Kim is multi-talented, humble, and hungry. 

Empowerment Stages

Saturday, July 2, 1:20 p.m.-2:00 p.m.

Karen Williams Weaver was born and raised in Flint, Michigan. She has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Tougaloo College, a Master’s degree from Long Island University, and a PhD in clinical psychology from Michigan State University.
Before being elected Mayor, Weaver held several leadership positions including; Chief Operating Officer of the Ennis Center for Children and Director of Behavioral Services at Mott Children’s Health Center. She and her husband have three children.

 

Empowerment Stages

Friday, July 1, 3:45 p.m.-4:25 p.m.

From her early days as a television host & News Producer, Mariah knew how to effectively tell a story. Well, as the creator and Executive Producer behind Bravo TV's successful reality franchise, Married to Medicine, the proof is certainly in the pudding. This busy mother of two is the COO of Jewel and Jem, a children’s apparel company she runs with her sister Lake. Mariah also has several TV projects in development with Chef G. Garvin.

Empowerment Stages

Saturday, July 2, 11:15 a.m.-11:30 a.m.

Sybrina Fulton is dedicating her life to transforming family tragedy into social change. Since the death of her 17 year old son, Trayvon Martin, during the violent confrontation in 2012, Fulton has become an inspiring spokesperson for parents and concerned citizens across the country. The publicity surrounding Trayvon’s death and the ensuing trial catapulted the country into national debate. Despite the intense struggle of losing a child, Fulton has become a role model to many by turning her grief into advocacy. Remaining strong throughout the trial and ensuing months, she lends her voice to speak against violence towards children and the need to build better, safer communities for all. 

Leap Run Grow

Friday July 1, 2016 - 2pm to 3pm

 

Since 1997 Ms. West has focused on stimulating national small business growth and has worked with a host of national lending institutions, investment bankers, venture and angel funds, public/private sector firms, municipalities and public officials to create strategies for inclusion as it relates to economic development, access to capital, job creation and the retention and growth of minority owned firms.

 

West currently serves on the Access to Capital Team, a national think tank, transactional, financial advisory team for the U.S. Department of Commerce, MBDA. The access to capital team provides national, corporate financial, transaction advisory services including but not limited to supporting transactions with traditional debt capital, investment capital (including venture capital and angel funding),  mergers and acquisitions, non-bank financing, bonding, emerging manger support, accounting, finance, valuation, tax and due diligence. West and her team have a pipeline of nearly $1 Billion dollars in finance transactions for the agency.

Empowerment Stages

Friday, July 1, 3:45 p.m.-4:25 p.m.

Claudia Jordan is a TV and radio host who recently moved to Atlanta from Los Angeles. She is currently working as a co-host on "The Rickey Smiley Morning Show" and the newest cast member of "The Real Housewives of Atlanta." Claudia is also a frequent contributor on CNN and HLN’s "Dr. Drew On Call." This Radio Show Personality/Host/ & Reality Star is embarking on many adventures…stay tuned, there is much more to come. 

Empowerment Stages

Actress Patina Miller currently stars as Daisy Grant on the second season of CBS’ hit political drama series, “Madam Secretary.” Her Broadway credits include "Pippin" (Tony and Outer Critics Circle Award), "Sister Act" (Theatre World Award).  Her Off-Broadway credits include "Ragtime," "Lost in the Starts," "Romantic Poetry" and The Public Theater’s revival of "Hair."  Her Regional credits include "Pippin," "First You Dream," "Sister Act," "Being Alive" and "West End: Sister Act."   Her TV credits include “All My Children,” “American Songbook Gala.” Her film credits include "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay" Part 1 & 2.

Christina is a founding member of 2x Stellar-Nominated Gospel Group Zie’l. As an unparalleled alto voice she presents her music with a soulful-gospel mix. Bell, currently working on her debut project is poised to release her debut single "Believe" late spring/early summer 2016. To-date Christina has shared platforms with various artists including Marvin Sapp, Dave Hollister, The Clark Sisters and Tasha Cobbs; to name a few.

Empowerment Stages

Friday, July 1, 2:55 p.m.-3:40 p.m.
Karen Finney is the Senior Advisor for Communications and Political Outreach and Senior Spokesperson, Hillary for America and has worked in media, political and communications strategy in both the public and private sectors.  Finney hosted “Disrupt with Karen Finney” on MSNBC, where she also worked as a contributor and political analyst. Her work also includes four presidential campaigns, the Clinton White House, and Hillary Clinton’s first Senate race.  She was the first African American spokeswoman for the Democratic National Committee where she helped lead their efforts in 2006 and 2008. Follow her on Twitter @Finneyk.

 

Empowerment Stages

Friday, July 1, 11 a.m. and 12:25 p.m.

A native of Dallas, "WDSU News This Morning" anchor Charles Divins got his start in television as an actor on the NBC daytime series, "Passions." He went on to host NBC's "LXTV 1st Look",  "YourLA" and was co-host of "The Daily Buzz," a nationally syndicated morning show. Away from work, He is also an entrepreneur, co-founding several projects, including a salon in Austin, TX. 

Empowerment Stages

Saturday, July 2, 3:40 p.m.-3:50 p.m. and 3:50 p.m.-4:10 p.m.

Bernard J. Tyson is the chairman and CEO of Kaiser Permanente — one of America’s leading integrated health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. With annual operating revenue of $61 billion, Kaiser Permanente serves more than 10.6 million members in eight states and the District of Columbia. In his more than 31 years with Kaiser Permanente, Tyson has successfully managed all major aspects of the organization, serving in roles from hospital administrator to division president to president and chief operating officer. In 2015, Modern Healthcare named him the third most influential leader in health care marking the second consecutive year he has been the top-ranked executive on this list. A San Francisco Bay Area native, Tyson earned a Bachelor of Science in health service management and a Master of Business in health service administration from Golden Gate University.

Empowerment Stages

Sunday, July 3, 4:45 p.m.-5:05 p.m.

Lauded by legendary artists Prince and Patti LaBelle, Ledisi is a singer’s singer. She’s an R&B artist who continues to redefine the genre. Since 2000, her first appearance on the R&B scene, Ledisi has received nine Grammy nominations. Additionally, Ledisi’s role as Mahalia Jackson in Selma and performance at the White House for the President and Mrs. Obama, has sealed her place in the pantheon of the best soul singers of her generation.