100 Black Men of America recognizes women entrepreneurs
Washington, DC and Baltimore chapter members of the Women Presidents' Organization receive awards
Three women who lead IT firms were among eleven women entrepreneurs of color honored by the Baltimore and Washington, DC chapters of 100 Black Men of America (BMOA, www.100blackmen.org) in June. The awards were presented during the Women in Business conference of the Women's Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC, www.wbenc.org).
All eleven honorees are members of the Washington, DC and Baltimore chapters of the Women Presidents' Organization (www.womenpresidentsorg.com). WPO is a national organization for women owners of companies with million- and often multi-million-dollar revenues. Black Men of America focuses on mentoring black youth and other areas important to the African American community.
A new collaboration
The event was the first collaboration between 100 Black Men and WPO, and Ray Lucas, president of 100 Black Men of Maryland, says it won't be the last. "We hope to make this a yearly event," he told Diversity/Careers' editor-in-chief Kate Colborn, who was there covering the event.
Dr Marsha Firestone, president and founder of the national WPO, agreed. "We hope this idea will spread to other areas of the country," she says. She was specially pleased by the partnership with 100 Black Men because "We have always hoped to see more women of color in WPO."
Also attending was Julie Lenzer Kirk, CEO and "chief muse" of the Path Forward Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (www.pathforwardcenter.org). This newly formed nonprofit supports women entrepreneurs, including some of the honorees. Kirk noted that she hasn't seen many women with technical backgrounds interested in starting their own companies, and she hopes to change that.
"What they see is what they'll be"
Ray Lucas reports that the event was the brainchild of local WPO and BMOA chapters. "We wanted to show the black youth we mentor that success has no gender," he declared. "What they see is what they'll be!" is one of BMOA's organization's mentoring mantras.
The women were acknowledged for their commitment to economic empowerment within the community, and their personal success in building their companies. As Firestone points out, "These women demonstrate outstanding leadership qualities, running multi-million-dollar businesses and lending their time to local charities. They are truly role models for young women throughout the country."
Meet the honorees
Linda Folsom Jackson is president of InfoAge Solutions (Washington, DC), a full life cycle IT firm. Conni Evans leads Ancon (Washington, DC), which provides information design, security and technology services as well as event management. Rozita Washington is president of Leading Through Change (Largo, MD), an IT and training firm.
Other honorees included Angela Bradley, BTI Security (Silver Spring, MD); Beneak Hargrave, Mahogany Interiors (Washington DC); Jacquannette Lewis, Global Advertising First (Washington, DC); Dr Marlene N. Mahipat, Mediquest (Randallstown, MD); Carolyn Sawyer, Tom Sawyer Co (Washington, DC and Columbia, SC); Deborah Stallings, HR Anew (Columbia, MD); Shelonda Stokes, GreiBO Entertainment (Baltimore, MD); and Annette Smith-Rich, Rich Roofing, LLC (Baltimore, MD).
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