USBC President Ron Busby opened the conference with Welcome Remarks sharing a detailed recap of USBC’s 2016 accomplishments as well as the USBC goals and initiatives for 2017. Attendees also learned about the new SBA-back guaranteed loan program for USBC members launching in the 3rd quarter of 2017.
The conference was broken down into four categories: General Session, Established Business Owners, Chamber Development and Millennial Entrepreneur.
Attendees were provided with workshops on topics like “Navigating Your Personal and Professional Brand,” “Pitch Prep: Learning The Ropes of Pitching Your Venture,” “Scaling Up: Doing Business Internationally,” and “Business Opportunities in Telecom.”
On Thursday, Founder and CEO of Quest Media Training, Zakiya Larry hosted the “Women in Business” panel discussion where guest speakers Angel Rich, Nicole Cober, and Cherly Travis-Jackson discussed how they remain successful in business. Angel Rich is the Founder and CEO of The Wealth Factory Inc., and inventor of CreditStacker a mobile credit game app. Nicole Cober serves as the Principal Managing Partner of Cober Johnson & Romney and the owner and operator of Soul Day Spa and Salon in Washington, D.C. Cheryl Travis-Johnson is the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of VRM Mortgage.
The panel discussion ranged in questions on how it feels to be a woman in the business world, how to find reliable life and business partners, and how being able to show vulnerability can be used as a strength. In discussing sponsorships and mentors, Cheryl Travis-Johnson spoke about the importance of having someone vouch for you, “If you get a sponsor, you have to respect that and use it wisely.” She mentions that not only are you representing yourself, but you’re also representing the person who is choosing to invest in you.
Nicole Cober spoke on vulnerability suggesting “It is a myth that being strong is not vulnerable.” Angela Rich added in how being more open about her failures has allowed for better relations with the people she works with because they feel more connected to her story. Cheryl Travis-Johnson also noted “If you don’t show vulnerability, your employees will hide things from you.”
The discussion ended on the topic of finding reliable business and life partners. Nicole Cober mentions how she had “everything”, a house, a car, and two businesses but she did not have that “personal piece.” She advised the audience saying “Everything you see that’s external is a fail. Do the work to eliminate that void you’re trying to fill.” Angel Rich added “We have to stop dating guys that are not equally yoked. It’s a whole different energy when you’re with someone who puts God first.”
The conference ended Friday night with the USBC Awards Dinner recognizing exceptional leaders in the minority business development industry. This year, USBC honored Reverend Jesse Jackson, Sr., with the Lifetime Legacy Business Award for his commitment to improve the economic conditions of African Americans nationwide.
Written By: Taylor Vinson, Dash Marketing Intern