Tuesday, May 18, 2010

2010 Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Conference

Meeting Shoe Designers Shane and Shawn was the start of a busy and exciting day at the 2010 Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Conference!

Who would imagine business advice that was given to me over ten years ago would grant me access to today's most influential movers and shakers?

That's exactly what happened. By simply answering a random tweet from Magnus Greaves, CEO of The Cash Flow, I won a ticket to attend the prestigious 2010 Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Conference + Expo!

And who did I see the minute I arrived yesterday? None other than the double threat, shoe designing twin brothers Shane and Shawn! They were part of the successful entrepreneurs who spoke to the thousands of attendees. Being former corporate sponsors of TWHS, they greeted me warmly!

The luncheon was also a Small Business Awards ceremony, which included grateful Teenpreneur Awardee Gabrielle McBay of Crumbs by Gabrielle. Winning the award for her business was made sweeter because it was also her birthday! Throughout the luncheon, the exchanging of business cards was done with the passing of the bread and butter. One highlight for me was when my table-crashing accomplice introduced me to Motivational Speaker Lisa Nichols just as she was being whisked away for her CNN interview. I managed to place my card in her hand as her assistant led her away.

Business Mogul Daymond John during the Small Business Awards Luncheon

While we enjoyed the luncheon's savory salmon and salad, the onstage one-on-one conversation was with multi-millionaire Business Shark, Author, Television Personality, and Entrepreneur Daymond John. Giving the audience humorous accounts of his "honest hustling days" (which included setting up a tent on LL Cool J's front lawn to get the rapper to be photographed in his shirt) to his rise in the fashion industry with the clothing line FUBU. What struck me was his definition of branding: how our body language, appearance and energy starts our branding before we open our mouths to speak. Phenomenal power in simple words.

Afetr lunch, I spent most of the afternoon trying to figure out why I couldn't place a phone call or get reception to Twitter or FB. Luckily, it wasn't my service provider; the downtown Marriott has a rep for inadequate wireless connections. The third floor was where I was finally able to "connect", but realized there was an actual vendor floor beneath the ballrooms.

I found myself walking into a room full of folks handling their business, including The Cash Flow! Others included insurance firms, a relationship board game called Authenticity, a double representation of a body shaping garment for men and women and a table for Hayah Cosmetics, where I was highly impressed with the mineral powder for women of color. The rep even gave my leg bruise a vanishing act, by combining olive oil with the mineral powder to achieve a liquid paste. My order of Exquisite is on its way...

Checking the itinerary, I realized I only had minutes to get to the session where Joi Gordon, CEO of Dress For Success Worldwide would be speaking. Finding the ballroom, I enjoyed her wisdom in the decision of starting, participating and maintaining a nonprofit.

Being amongst like-minded people is the only way to soar with the eagles. At the end of the day, I know never to takes advice from a person who has never birthed a business.

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