Meet the voices joining us for this epic event.
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(he/him) Artist/Musician GRAMMY® Award-winning singer, songwriter, producer and actor Anthony Hamilton has sold over 50 million albums worldwide and been proclaimed a "national treasure" by the Los Angeles Times. The North Carolina Music Hall of Fame inductee has cemented his place in the history books as the "narrator of love" with awe-inspiring performances and emotionally raw lyrics. Hamilton first burst onto the scene in 2003 with his smash hit "Charlene," which garnered the attention of NPR and resulted in him starring in their Noteworthy documentary series. In 2007, he made his film debut in the critically acclaimed American Gangster, and in 2012, he lent his vocals to the Django Unchained soundtrack. Hamilton now adds author and publisher to his lists of accomplishments with the unveiling of his first self-published book Cornbread, Fish n' Collard Greens, where he shares the inspiration for some of the iconic songs in his illustrious career and his love of southern food.
(she/her) DJ Dee Dee Roper, internationally known as DJ Spinderella, is a Grammy award winning DJ, producer, rapper, writer and world class mother. Spinderella is one of the original pioneers of hip hop music beginning her career as a member of the iconic rap group Salt-N-Pepa, selling over 15 million albums and singles worldwide. Over two decades after her groundbreaking entrance into hip hop, the Brooklyn native still sets the standard for “turntablisit” all over the world and is still a force to be reckoned with in the music industry. It has never been simply about cuts, beats, and rhymes says the Grammy, MTV, and BET Award Winner. “I’ve been blessed to be in the game for so many years, when many others have come and gone,” says Spinderella. his industry is all about fun and entertainment, but humility and professionalism will take you far. I’ve also had great mentors such as DJ Jazzy Jeff, DJ Scratch, and the late Jam Master Jay.” In 2019, DJ Spinderella officially announced her future plans to continue building her brand as an independent artist — to much fanfare and excitement. She performed both international and domestic gigs while mentoring up-and- coming DJs and entrepreneurs. From BET to People Magazine, Spinderella was celebrated in media for embarking on an inspiring new chapter in her career. Spinderella’s mentorship of other young DJs was proudly honored and displayed by household name brands like Barbie (Mattel) and Good Morning America. With countless lifetime achievement awards, including the VH1 Hip Hop Honors, Global Spin Breaking Barriers’, Black Girls Rock, and BET ICON awards, Spinderella is a notable pioneer in the industry for empowering and inspiring the entire DJing community. Now, in addition to continuing to DJ the world’s largest events, she has become a motivational speaker for aspiring artists. When she’s not spinning, she can be found at home in Dallas, TX preparing for her 2020 nuptials and helping her daughter - who is also a rising star (DJ).
(she/her) Founder & CEO, Genius Guild Kathryn Finney is a serial entrepreneur and investor. She is the Founder and Managing General Partner of Genius Guild, a Chicago-based venture fund that invests in scalable businesses led by Black founders using innovation to build and promote healthy communities. A Yale-trained epidemiologist, Kathryn founded digitalundivided after selling her media company, The Budget Fashionista, making her one of the first Black women to successfully exit a startup. Her new book, Build The Damn Thing: How to Start a Successful Business if You're Not a Rich White Guy, launched in June 2022, made the Wall Street Journal bestsellers list in its first week of release.
(he/him) CEO, Gamers First Inc. Former NFL player Kenny Dwayne Vaccaro is the CEO of Gamers First Inc. and has founded several other successful businesses, including a high-end fashion boutique and a fast-casual artisan pizza shop. He's also passionate about giving back and has opened a school in the Kibera slums of Nairobi, Kenya.
(she/her) CEO, Black Ambition Prize Felecia is the CEO of Pharrell William’s Black Ambition Opportunity Fund which invests in diverse entrepreneurs with capital, mentorship, and uninterrupted access to resources and opportunities. Through her work over the past 8 years, she has helped entrepreneurs connect to over 100M in funding by shaping the way individuals show up, are valued, and financially benefit from playing full out in the innovation economy.
(he/his) Franchise Partner Burn Boot Camp Cedar Park University of Texas B.S. Corporate Communication M.Ed Kinesiology 7 Year NFL Vet (Arizona Cardinals, San Diego Chargers, Cleveland Browns, Carolina Panthers) ESPN & SiriusXM Television & Radio Analyst Franchise Partner at Burn Boot Camp Cedar Park
(he/him) CEO, Jones Global Enterprises Nait Jones is an executive, serial entrepreneur and investor. Nait is currently a founding executive and board member of web3 platform Royal. Prior to Royal Nait built his career at the intersection of music, culture and technology, as an investor at renowned VC firm Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) and a number of tech and entertainment ventures
Dr. Tye Caldwell
(he/his/him) Cofounder/CEO, Shearshare Dr. Tye Caldwell is the Cofounder & CEO of ShearShare, the first mobile marketplace that provides space-as-a-service for the beauty and barbering industry. Prior to creating ShearShare (also known as HAIRbnb), Tye owned and operated an award-winning salon in Dallas, Texas, which was the genesis behind ShearShare. Tye is the first African-American male member-elect to the Professional Beauty Association and is a frequent guest lecturer at barber colleges and hairstyling institutes around the globe. His #1 best-selling book, "Mentored by Failure: A 5-Point Guide to Long-Term Success in the Beauty & Style Industry," is often used for continuing education curriculum. His tech venture is the first New York startup to win Google Demo Day and was named a next-gen technology by L'Oreal. Dr. Caldwell’s work has been featured in Entrepreneur magazine, the Washington Post, the New York Times, Black Enterprise, Forbes, and Fortune. Dr. Tye Caldwell is a licensed instructor and educator, and received his Doctorate of Professional Barbering & Cosmetology from Miracle University. He recently summited Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Africa, in seven days.
(he/him) Founder and CEO, Goodie Nation With a life’s purpose of helping to equalize socio-economic disparities in communities all over the world, Joey Womack’s goal is to positively impact 1 billion people by the year 2039. A convenor, community builder, and ecosystem developer, he is the Founder/CEO of Goodie Nation, a post-accelerator that is closing the relationship gap for tech-focused social entrepreneurs and diverse founders. He serves on the Board of Visitors for Emory University and Board of Directors for Venture Atlanta, Startup Atlanta, and the Georgia Social Impact Collaborative as well as advisory board for Emory University’s Peachtree Minority Venture Fund. Joey also is a Social Innovator-In-Residence at Concrete Rose Capital and as an Entrepreneur-In-Residence at Emory University’s Goizueta Business School.
(she/her) Founder, Credit Rich Angel Rich has earned the title Wealth Pioneer. In 2009, Rich became a Global Market Research Analyst for Prudential Financial. While there she conducted over 70 financial behavior studies including the Obama’s Veterans Initiative. During her final year at Prudential, she helped the company’s Annuities division grow from #16 in Service to #4, helping the company save $6 billion. Rich left Prudential to found The Wealth Factory with a mission to provide equal access to financial literacy to everyone, everywhere via education technology games, curriculum, and fintech products. In 2017 she released the first financial literacy mobile game to market titled CreditStacker. CreditStacker exceeded 200,000 downloads in 60 countries within two weeks. In addition to climbing to #1 education app in 14 countries, CreditStacker has garnered numerous accolades including top 5 in 40 on Apple, Top 10 in the world by Google, and also named the best financial literacy product in the country by The White House, Department of Education, That year, Rich also released her first book – The History of the Black Dollar – with the foreword written by Dr. Maya Rockeymoore-Cummings. The book takes readers on an economic journey through history to depict the major milestones, historic figures and upcoming leaders. She was awarded Hamptonian of the Year, HBCU 30 Under 30, Hampton 40 Under 40, and Google Top 30 Black Female Founders. In 2018, the United Nations named her one of the Top 100 Most Influential People in the African Diaspora and one of five Icons. Later that year she created CreditRich an artificial intelligence fintech app. In 2021 she announced their partnership with Experian, making it the first Black American company. CreditRich has continued to make history. In 2022, Angel announced her partnership with Visa and CreditRich’s new status as the first black woman-owned neobank.
(he/him) DJ, content creator + investor Mick Batyske (p/k/a/ MICK) is a Brooklyn-based DJ, content creator + investor. Forbes said “Mick walks a tightrope between entertainer + entrepreneur.” And Drake once said MICK's mixes were “pivotal” in his life. He has performed for clients such as Complex, GQ, Jay-Z, Michelle Obama, The NBA, Prince, Spotify + Vanity Fair.
(she/her) Producer and Host, Pitch Your NonProfit Show
(he/him) Distinguished Engineer, Master Inventor, and Chief Architect, IBM Mike Hollinger is Chief Architect for Applied AI and Solutions in IBM Sustainability Software. As an IBM Distinguished Engineer, he is responsible for leading an organization to create software that leverages AI and sensor data to address business needs in a variety of industries. Mike spent two years in Taipei, Taiwan as Lead Software Architect for IBM’s Power Systems Taiwan firmware development team. Mike's also an IBM Master Inventor, recognizing his contributions to the IBM intellectual property portfolio and has authored or co-authored more than 60 patents. Mike has been featured in multiple podcasts and publications at the local and national level, and is both a mentor and coach for both business and technology leaders. His most recent product launch has grown to multiple tens of millions of dollars of combined software and hardware revenue and has a global footprint. He's also an invited author featured in the 2023 edition of the Springer Handbook on Automation. Outside of work, Mike’s often found running on a trail in Austin, TX alongside his husband, or playing with and reading to their daughter.
SP The Plug
SP The Plug (he/him) Artist Located in the Washington, DC area for much of his career as an artist, graphic designer and illustrator, Shawn Perkins has worked with a number of non-profits, associations, universities and federal agencies to provide graphic recording services. These experiences gave him the ability to quickly visualize complex concepts that translate across a broad scope of audience. Combined with good listening skills, natural curiosity, and using images to communicate the conversation, Shawn's work makes for engaging and memorable graphics.
(she/her) Former Houston Council Member Amanda K. Edwards is an attorney with a passion for empowering communities. Amanda is the President of The Community Based Solutions Firm. Amanda is currently a candidate for mayor of Houston. While Amanda served as an At-Large Houston City Council Member, Amanda initiated and led the Mayor’s Technology & Innovation Task Force to cultivate a stronger innovation economy in Houston. Her work led to the creation of Houston’s new innovation district. While Amanda has received many accolades for her legal and community work, she finds empowering communities to be her greatest reward.
Joy M. Hutton
(she/her) Founder, on the go GLAM Joy M. Hutton is a native of Chicago, Illinois but has made Houston, Texas her second home. Joy is the Founder of Joy of Consulting, a management consulting firm and on the go GLAM™, an on demand platform that delivers beauty services to men and women in the comfort of their home, office, or hotel. Joy serves on a number of small business councils and works with organizations that develop female entrepreneurs. Joy was honored by the City of Houston for her leadership in entrepreneurship. February 4, 2020 was named “Joy M. Hutton” Day. In honor of this day, she launched the LeadHERship Fund, a micro grant fund for female entrepreneurs. She was also named as one of the dynamic women on Inc. Magazine’s 2022 Female Founders 100 List.
(he/him) CoFounder, Gauge CEO of The Inexorable and Co-founder of Gauge Brandon Andrews spent time as a US Senate staffer, has led casting for television business shows including Shark Tank and Bet on Black, and traveled the world supporting economic opportunity. He served as Political Action Committee Chair for the NAACP’s Washington, DC Branch where he led voter registration and GOTV work. He also helped lead nationwide engagement and impact campaigns for ‘John Lewis: Good Trouble,’ ‘All In: The Fight for Democracy,’ and other content.
(she/her) Comedian Lea’h Sampson is a stand out - rising stand up comic who’s name is spreading rapidly though the industry while she’s based in Austin Texas. Sampson broke out first by placing in stand up competitions in Austin which led her to performing in festivals such as Moontower JFL, Moontower Comedy Festival, Out Of Bounds Comedy Festival and Come and Take It Comedy Festival. Lea’h has been mentioned in The Austin Chronicle as “ Comedian to Watch” while also headlining local Comedy Clubs all over the country. She has toured and opened for entertainers such as Julio Iglesias, Michael Blackson, Mike Epps, Adele Givens, Beth Stelling, Dulce Sloan and more. Lea’h is highly requested when out of town acts come in as her comedy has been described as “witty” “dark” “unexpected “ honest” “ & “ brilliant”. Lea’h is also an actress who’s been nominated for “ Best Actress” & “ Best Supporting Actress” in many films that have been featured in Film festivals such as Austin Film Festival and others that have taken place in Mexico, California & Japan. While in Austin Lea’h runs three stand up shows including her top show “Hear Me Bitch” You can watch her being featured on DONT TELL COMEDY YouTube series & Kevon On Stage Keep Your Distance Comedy series streaming on all platforms.
(she/her) Founder, 1000 More D’Seanté Parks is the founder and CEO of 1000 MORE. Her passion for civic engagement started young, growing up in a low-income, underserved community in Forth Worth, Texas. After graduating from Louisiana State University with a degree in political communication, she started a decade-long career in communication and political strategy for public, private and non-profit organizations. She has worked on federal, state and local elections, including on U.S. Senate campaigns for Senators Mary Landrieu and Kamala Harris. She completed a Master of Public Policy degree at the Harvard Kennedy School and has contributed to several published works about the roots of propaganda in America and combatting misinformation.
(he/him) President, Gamers First Inc. One of the youngest professionals in esports, LJ founded the Kansas City Pioneers at the age of 17. By the age of 20, KCP was a renowned esports organization that had a valuation of nearly $20M. Throughout his time at KCP, LJ worked with some of the biggest names in esports to launch successful campaigns for some of the most notable brands in the world. His experience and expertise led him a new venture in 2022, joining Gamers First as their President & Director of Esports alongside former NFL safety Kenny Vaccaro. The organization has since entered titles Rocket League & Track-mania and continue to drive value with content creation and other ventures.
(he/him) Founder/CEO, Xodus Technologies Jelani Sutherland is the Founder and CEO of Xodus Technologies, Inc. Xodus is a digital neo-banking solution specifically designed for the diaspora. Xodus leverages technology to offer digital banking solutions to the historically unbanked and underserved markets. We do this by partnering with local banks across continents to innovate and offer customer-centric financial products
(he/him) Global Program Manager, Apple Marcus joined Apple, Inc. as the financial analyst for Global Business Solutions in October 2017 where he was focused on budgeting forecasting and planning. He currently serves as a Global Program Manager for WPC (Wallet, Payments & Commerce - within Services) for the Evolve Program. Having been an active member of Black@Apple since joining the company, Marcus is very passionate about helping identify and assist diverse talent find their way across the Apple landscape. Prior to Apple, Marcus worked for Lockheed Martin in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, northern California and Washington, DC for almost 6 years and spent some time in higher education and banking in years prior to his time at Lockheed Martin. Born and raised in Austin, TX Marcus is a proud graduate of THE University of Texas at Austin where he graduated with a BA in Economics and was a scholarship member of the 2005 National Championship football team. He also holds an MBA from the University of Texas at Arlington. He still enjoys everything related to football (and all sports especially the Texas Longhorns...Hook Em!). He also serves on the board of a non-profit (the Natasha Hastings Foundation), is a big time sneakerhead, enjoys playing fantasy football, loves to cook, grill, travel and spend time with family and friends.
(She/her/hers) Founder/CEO, Tribal Good As an accomplished executive with two decades of strategic brand, multicultural and experiential marketing expertise, Twanna now utilizes her experience and unapologetic activism to parter with brands, philanthropic initiatives and other storytelling platforms to amplify content that provokes positive social change. She realizes the significant impact of equipping creatives, innovators, athletes, and activists with the knowledge and resources they need to avoid the harmful and predatory practices of their respective industries, while simultaneously bringing them to the front lines of using their own platforms to help find solutions to the world’s greatest challenges. She is the mother of four children and lives in Atlanta with her husband Will. Twanna, who also professes to be ‘obsessed with data’, is relentlessly debunking current narratives and constantly strives to defy the status quo.
(she/her) COO/Co-Founder, Xplosion Technology Isis Ashford-Swain, COO and co-founder of Xplosion Technology, has served as senior personnel in two NSF SBIR Phase I grant proposals and overseen a combined budget of $520,000 in federal funding. She is an innovative digital health technologist and health tech entrepreneur with a penchant for fusing data analytics insights, wearable tech, and content into game-changing products and solutions. She has developed and designed the software for mobile and web applications for major college athletic programs, including the University of Miami and Delaware State University. She currently works with Children’s of Alabama high-risk patients. Her passion is creating digital health solutions to reduce health outcomes for populations that are typically overlooked and underserved. She is a serial entrepreneur who has produced $500k in sales in 6 months for her e-commerce business.
(he/him) CEO/Co-Founder, Xplosion Technology Kehlin Swain, CEO and cofounder, of Xplosion Technology, is a software engineer by trade and created a suite of digital health products in the rehabilitation, diabetes, and obesity management sector. Kehlin has served as a PI with multiple NSF SBIR Phase I award and has 2 formal patents. He has raised half a million dollars in non-dilutive funding for his start-up in the last two years. Throughout his training from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and Intel corporation, he has become a thought leader on using Machine Learning to give payors and providers actionable insights to reduce chronic health outcomes. He studied computer engineering from Prairie View A&M University and resided in Birmingham, Alabama.