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Get A Look At What's In Store At ESSENCE Fest's Path To Power

We're doubling down in NOLA this year for a business conference like no other, with influencers, entrepreneurs and execs who have bold ideas to share with you.


If you’ve ever been to New Orleans during Essence Festival, you know that we’ve perfected the art of partying with a purpose. Our annual Path to Power Business and Entrepreneurship conference is a three-day meetup of successful executives, tech leaders, industry moguls and career experts. Whether you’re a newbie who wants tips on how to draft a killer business plan, a mid-level professional trying to snag a promotion or a small-biz owner seeking advice on how to scale, there’s a seminar that suits you.


WHO SHOULD GO: Anyone who is thinking of launching a business and wants some guidance on where to start. This arena is also great for entrepreneurs with less than five years’ experience helming their own company.

THE SPEAKERS: Diishan Imira, founder of Mayvenn, and representatives from such organizations as the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA), #YesWeCode, the National Urban League (NUL) and the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) will be on-site to talk about new ventures.

WHAT YOU’LL LEARN: The MBDA will host seminars on how to do business with the U.S. government. If you’ve ever applied for a business loan and been denied, our partners will disclose best practices for making your company a more attractive candidate for funding. You’ll also hear about how to take a side project to the next level and make it your full-time gig and how to develop a sustainable and profitable business model.



WHO SHOULD GO: Those with businesses that have been up and running for more than five years. You’re no novice—you have a small staff, you’re profitable and you’re looking to sustain and improve on that progress.

THE SPEAKERS: Singer–songwriter, TV personality and entrepreneur Kandi Burruss; Bärí A. Williams, head of business operations at StubHub; and members of the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC) are just a few of the resources available over the weekend.

WHAT YOU’LL LEARN: Experts will show you the difference a good marketing campaign can make, as well as how to handle legal issues that may arise. If you own a tech business, #YesWeCode folks will be on hand to offer a tool kit that every techie should have. You’ll discover how to connect to new sources of revenue and to raise more capital to support your long-term goals. Get the details on ways to attract investors to ensure your organization’s longevity.



WHO SHOULD GO: Veteran business owners (eight to ten years of experience) looking to scale, reach new markets or expand to new locations.

THE SPEAKERS: You’ll hear from Richelieu Dennis, CEO of Sundial (SheaMoisture); Lisa Price, founder of Carol’s Daughter; rapper and entrepreneur Master P; and tech biz owner Jessica O. Matthews. They’ll tackle subjects such as sharing ownership, keeping your brand authentic, finding new revenue streams and continuing to build your company.

WHAT YOU’LL LEARN: Presenters will help you set goals for the road ahead as you seek to answer that important question: What do I want the next ten years to yield for my business? Hear firsthand how innovative entrepreneurs made it to the top. Our tech partners will advise on cutting-edge tools you can utilize to draw new audiences.



WHO SHOULD GO: People looking to get a handle on their money. Want to invest but don’t know where to begin? Need to get rid of student loan or credit card debt? Pull up a seat at our personal finance section.

THE SPEAKERS: Tiffany Aliche, better known as The Budgetnista; personal finance guru Patrice C. Washington; and Michelle Avan, an executive at Merrill Lynch, are among the pros who will be doling out money advice.

WHAT YOU’LL LEARN: Attendees will walk away with a better sense of what it takes to build personal wealth.



WHO SHOULD GO: Entry- to mid-level professionals who want to push their careers forward. Whether you’re looking to make an industry change or climb the ladder at your current workplace, there’s something for all.

THE SPEAKERS: Mara Brock Akil, television producer and creator of Being Mary Jane and Girlfriends; Deesha Dyer, former White House social secretary; and Carla Harris, chairwoman at Morgan Stanley, will share their personal stories of career success.

WHAT YOU’LL LEARN: Just because you’re qualified for that promotion doesn’t mean you’ll get it. Harris will talk about the role the right relationships play in helping you excel and how to make sure your voice is heard when you’re the only Black woman in the room. Dyer will discuss the challenges and triumphs of switching careers.


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