Local chamber and business leaders were given special recognition at the African American Chamber’s 10th Annual Business to Business Exchange and Expo held Sept. 30 at Duke Energy Center.
Past African American Chamber presidents were recognized at the Chamber’s Business to Business Exchange and Expo. From left, past President Steve Love, Christie Bryant, Board of Directors Vice Chair, past President DeAsa Brown, past President Jim Clingman, and Sean Rugless, current President and CEO.
This year’s theme was “Celebrating the Legacy: Embracing the Future,” during which the legacy and the history of the Chamber were recognized.
The keynote speaker was Cathy Hughes, founder and chairperson of Radio One. Hughes has been called “the voice of the Black community’’ by the Washington Post. In her speech, she offered inspiration and motivation in the telling of her phenomenal story of building her business from the ground up to become the largest African American owned and operated broadcast company in America, and how she positioned her company so her son could carry on her work.
Recipients of the Spirit of Entrepreneurship Award recognized at the African America Chamber Business to Business Exchange and Expo are shown with Chamber officials. From left, are Christie Bryant, African American Chamber Board of Directors Vice Chair, recipient Adrienne Trimble who accepted on behalf of the late Kevin Armstrong, recipient Ayanna Love, who accepted on behalf of her late father Ross Love, recipient C. Smith, Sean Rugless, African America Chamber President and CEO, recipient William Cargile, and recipient Cassandra Robinson.
Hughes said she worked for a group of investors in the Washington, D.C. area when she decided to start her broadcast company, using her retirement money from her career at Howard University and a loan to fund her start up. She got off to a rocky start, had little personal time, and used the power of prayer as she worked to grow her business, she said. She also received advice from BET founder Bob Johnson.
Cathy Hughes, keynote speaker, founder and chairperson of the board of directors for Radio One, talked about the development of her broadcast company.
Winner of the Regional Partner Award was Sherwin Beatty of PNC Bank.
Winner of the Small Business of the Year - More than 6 Employees Award was Dave Kroeger and Candice Higgins of PEP.
Winner of the Emerging Business Award was Peter McConney of Premier Mail & Fulfillment LLC.
Winner of the Small Business of the Year - Less than 5 Employees Award was Stephanie Harmon of Market Direct Inc