5 Reasons Why Black Enterprise Conference Changed My Life

There are so many conferences that go on every year that literally I have to pace myself as to which conferences add to my personal and professional growth. When the General Motors Diversity Communications Manager contacted me to ask if I would be the guest of General Motors during the 2011 Black Enterprise Conference, I was truly honored and immediately accepted the invitation without hesitation.

I’m not sure if General Motors knows this or not, but this experience that they afforded me two weeks ago nearly brought me to tears, as I had time to think about how they invested in me to receive valuable contacts and golden nuggets that will be with me for the rest of my life. What touched me the most was being able to experience first hand what companies mean when they say they are committed to being community partners and reaching out to touch their consumers and support their dreams and aspirations….they did that for me and without any expectations. Now I truly understand how brands engage in the community and why it is important to do so.

As I attended each dinner hosted by General Motors and was introduced to some of the most powerful men and women in business throughout the week, I was able to take a break to speak intimately with some of the influencers of GM like Eric Peterson, VP of Diversity, who talked with me personally about GM’s commitment to supplier diversity, getting more women owned dealers in place and GM’s strategic plan to thrive in a declining market. I also spoke with Vivian Pickard, President of the GM Foundation and Director of Corporate Relations, who beamed from ear to ear when she spoke of GM’s contribution to graduating seniors who will now become first generation college grads thanks to GM and their rambunctious giving as first responders to organizations that help our communities heal. In all honesty my time with them gave me vision that my children can become partners in owning their own dealership by the time they go off to college.

If you’ve never been to the Black Enterprise Conference and have contemplated on whether or not it’s a good investment…let me give you my 5 reasons as to why the conference changed my life and could change yours too:

1. Black Enterprise year after year puts together some of the most dynamic speakers you could ever imagine. The golden nuggets you receive will either be confirmations you’ve been waiting for or a revelation that will turn your life upside down {for the better}…here are some of the speakers I enjoyed:

Eric Peterson, GM VP of Diversity; Earl Graves Sr.; Charles Ogletree; Earl "Butch" Graves Jr.

Michael Seibel, Latoya Smith, Vanessa Simmons, Angela Simmons, Gilbert Campbell

Caroline Clarke, Lisa Price, Sonia Alleyne, Earl Graves Sr.

Sonia Alleyne, MC Hammer

2. Have you ever had a dream so big you just don’t know where to start to achieve it? I’ve always had a dream to be on the cover of Black Enterprise…althougth that hasn’t happened yet, I’ve been featured by Black Enterprise several times as a result of the networking experience that Black Enterprise affords their attendees. It’s not everyday you get to walk up to individuals like Phylicia Rashad, Earl Graves, Lisa Price, Angela & Vanessa Simmons, Dennis Kimbro and others.

Phylicia Rashad, Barbara Graves

3. Black Enterprise is where deals are made. If you ever wanted to know how to break into a particular field or how to gain exposure, the expert panelist lay there most valuable advice all on the table for the grabbing. If you come with the mindset of being open to learning and not just come to take take…you will have the advantage over your competition who may not have received the advice from an influencer in your field. I loved the Access Granted: Money-Making Opportunities in Entertainment…the panel was extremely transparent and I happen to make a great connection with one of the panelist.

Tyshawn Mitchell, Marvet Britto, Will Packer, Elayne Fluker

4. You will NEVER leave Black Enterprise Conference the way you came. If you only leave with one great piece of advice {which likely will not happen} it will be one of the greatest nuggets that will jump-start your career.

5. You make some of your life long friends and colleagues at the Black Enterprise Conference…since my first attendance in 2010 my life hasn’t been the same!

Earl "Butch" Graves Jr., Me

My new General Motor Friends

Next year Black Enterprise Conference is in Chicago…and I hope to see you there!

Disclamer: The Black Enterprise Conference was fully paid for by General Motors Corporation, however the views and opinions of the conference and General Motors are my own and was not persuaded in anyway by GM or Black Enerterprise. 

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