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Celeb Entrepreneurs Bell Biv Devoe, Karamo Brown, Draya Michelle, Gizelle Bryant Join ESSENCE’s New Voices Entrepreneur Summit

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Clockwise from top left: Karamo Brown, Gizelle Bryant, Draya Michele and Bell Biv Devoe join a star-studded lineup of celebrity entrepreneurs for ESSENCE's virtual Entrepreneur Summit. Photos (clockwise from top left): Austin Hargrave / ESSENCE / Innovative Comedy / Getty Images.

NEW YORK, N.Y. — // Source: ESSENCE // At the close of a year where an unprecedented pandemic, economic disparity and record-breaking unemployment disproportionately affected millions of Black women and communities, ESSENCE reinforces its 50-year commitment to equipping Black women with the resources they need to thrive. On Wednesday, December 9, from 6PM–9PM ET, ESSENCE—the number one media, technology and commerce company dedicated to Black women and communities—will host the ESSENCE + New Voices Entrepreneur Summit focused on providing information and insights to support the dynamic career and entrepreneurship aspirations of its community. During this robust virtual experience that will be streamed on ESSENCEStudios.com, attendees will have access to enlightening conversations, interactive sessions and more.

With a critical understanding of the varying challenges faced by Black-owned businesses in 2020, ESSENCE will unite business owners at all stages to share their experiences and advice on how brands can reach greater success in 2021.

“Even in the midst of one of what many would consider to be one of the most tumultuous years in our lifetime, we believe that there are brighter days ahead—especially for Black women as they pursue economic and financial equity in the workplace and in business,” said Caroline Wanga, Interim CEO of ESSENCE. “The ESSENCE + New Voices Virtual Entrepreneur Summit will provide the tools, insights and even secrets from foremost business leaders who will empower and position our audience for success in 2021 and beyond. From the White House to the boardroom, we know that Black women are poised to win, and ESSENCE will be there to chronicle their wins and to support them every step of the way.”

“2020 birthed an unprecedented global uncertainty. Even so, the resilience and agility that Black women leverage to thrive is alive and well, and equity in our lived experiences is still of utmost prominence on the economic, health, safety, and racial societal agenda.” said Caroline Wanga, Interim CEO of ESSENCE. “The ESSENCE + New Voices Virtual Entrepreneur Summit will commemorate and honor, spotlight & strengthen and position & prepare Black women for the next phase of economic inclusion and growth—through the voices and insights of the best leaders in business and enterprise in a way that only ESSENCE can deliver.”

Summit workshops will include:

  • Power Moves with Power Players: A reflective and forward-looking conversation on finding lucrative success as thriving entrepreneurs in and outside of the entertainment industry.
    • Bell Biv DeVoe (BBD)
      • Michael Bivins, CEO, Sportyrich Enterprises & Music Mogul
      • Ronnie DeVoe, Owner, DeVoe Real Estate
      • Ricky Bell, CEO, RNB Entertainment
    • Chauncey Hamlett, VP/CMO, South Division, Pepsico Beverages North America
    • Michele Thornton Ghee, Visionary Leader, Speaker, Author, CEO, Stratechic, LLC
  • Hustle & Hollywood: Finding Success As A Celebrity Entrepreneur: Following business dreams despite demanding schedules, busy family lives, and the constant watch of the ever-critical public eye.
    • Karamo, Co-founder, MANTL
    • Gizelle Bryant, Founder, EveryHueBeauty
    • Draya Michele, Founder, MintSwim
    • Caroline Wanga, ESSENCE Interim CEO
  • Show Me the Money: Business pioneers sharing their experiences and advice on securing venture capital funding to grow to the next level.
    • Ashlee Ammons & Kerry Schrader, Founders, Mixtroz | New Voices
    • Kimberly Bryant, Founder & Executive Director, Black Girls CODE
    • Pinky Cole, Founder, Slutty Vegan
    • Yvonne McNair, CEO and Founder, Captivate Marketing Group
  • Next Generation Boss: A roundtable of next-generation leaders and Black business owners – under the age of 18 – on what entrepreneurship looks like in a new era of possibilities.
  • Advancing Black Entrepreneurs by Chase for Business: The Power of Capital – Start, Run, Grow: JPMC experts on the power of capital through the business lifecycle, including thinking strategically about cash flow, credit options, SBA/business banking loans, and more.
    • Tosh Ernest, Head of Wealth, Advancing Black Pathways, JPMorgan Chase & Co.
    • Racquel Oden, Managing Director, Head of National Sales & Support, JPMorgan Chase & Co.
    • Renae Bluitt, Creator & Executive Producer, “She Did That”
    • Lavonda Davis, Vice President, Business Relationship Manager, Chase for Business
    • Leyonna Barba, Executive Director, Middle Market Banking, Technology & Disruptive Commerce, JPMorgan Chase & Co.
  • Transform to Thrive in a Digital World, Presented by Microsoft: Reimagining ways to stay on the leading edge to thrive in the digital world – whether learning new skills, partnering for success, or digitizing marketing. This panel to share how to use technology to elevate your business.
    • Amie Seisay, Founder and CEO, Seisay IT Solutions
    • Tina Eskridge, Sr. Director of Marketing, Microsoft
    • Sandee Kastrul, President and Co-founder, i.c.stars
    • Samantha Thompson, Search Engine Marketing Strategist
  • Aveeno®: Perfecting Your Pitch, Presented by Aveeno®: Have an idea, a product or a vision that could use a boost to bring your entrepreneurial dreams to life? Skin health and beauty industry experts to share best practices on how to present yourself and perfect your pitch to spark interest in you and your business.
    • Alfred A. Edmond Jr., SVP/editor-at-large of BLACK ENTERPRISE
    • Abena Boamah, CEO, Hanahana Beauty
    • Tonya Thompson & Sharie Wilson, Founders, DreamGirls
    • Cameka Smith, Founder & CEO, The BOSS Network

The Summit culminates the ESSENCE Level Up & Thrive Virtual Event Series, which was designed to help entrepreneurs and business professionals put their 2021 career goals in motion. It kicked off on December 3 with the ESSENCE E-Suite: The Art of the Pivot.

Sponsors for this event are Advancing Black Entrepreneurs by Chase for Business, Aveeno®, Walmart, Pepsi and Microsoft.

For more information or to register for the ESSENCE + New Voices Virtual Entrepreneur Summit, visit ESSENCE.com.

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Florida House Democratic Leader-Designate Fentrice Driskell Announces Leadership Team

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida House Democratic Leader-Designate Fentrice Driskell (D-Tampa) today announced the appointment of the following Democratic Representatives to serve on the House Democratic Caucus leadership team for the 2022-24 legislative term:

  • Leader Pro Tempore: Representative Dotie Joseph (D-Miami);
  • Policy Chair: Representative Kelly Skidmore (D-Boca Raton);
  • Floor Leader: Representative Michael “Mike” Gottlieb (D-Davie); and
  • Whip: Representative Christine Hunschofsky (D-Parkland).

“The House Democratic Caucus is made up of some of the strongest, most fierce champions of the people in the entire state,” said Leader-Designate Driskell. “It is an honor and great pleasure to work with these individuals in this new capacity, and all of them are prepared to lead the Caucus in the face of the challenges that lie ahead of us.”

As Leader Pro Tempore, Representative Joseph will assist the Democratic Leader in carrying out designated responsibilities and perform such Leadership responsibilities as are assigned, including stepping in for the Leader as needed.

“I have had the distinct pleasure of knowing Representative Joseph for over 20 years. From the time we were at Georgetown Law to now, she has always been a consistent champion for justice. The issues she advocates for on behalf of all Floridians makes Representative Joseph an invaluable asset in defending Floridians against extremist Republican policies,” said Leader-Designate Driskell. “I look forward to Representative Joseph’s leadership as a key member of my team over the next two years.”

In her role as the Caucus Policy Chair, Representative Skidmore will be responsible for ensuring the Caucus continues to champion legislation that positively impacts all Floridians, and will lead discussions about bills before the House at Caucus meetings.

“As the previous Policy Chair for the Caucus, I know what is needed to do this job. Appointing Representative Skidmore as Policy Chair was an easy choice,” said Leader-Designate Driskell. “She stood out as a prime member in understanding policy during the last legislative term. Representative Skidmore also brings with her a wealth of experience as both a former House and Senate staffer and House member. Applying her unique skillset to this new role will benefit the Caucus and all Floridians.”

In his role as Floor Leader, Representative Gottlieb will be responsible in interpreting the House Rules, ensuring the Caucus adheres to the agreed upon rules, and working with his Republican counterpart in advocating for fair amounts of time be allotted to the Caucus in debating different pieces of legislation.

“Two things I greatly appreciate about Representative Gottlieb are his refreshing candor and strong fortitude,” said Leader-Designate Driskell. “As the minority party in the Legislature, we’re aware of the challenges that lie ahead of us. What we need right now is someone who is unwavering under extreme pressure to help guide our Caucus during difficult moments. Representative Gottlieb is perfectly suited for this role.”

As Whip, Representative Hunschofsky will be responsible for keeping all Democratic Caucus members apprised of Caucus policy on any bills or issues before the House.

Representative Hunschofsky has an amazing ability to get things done,” said Leader-Designate Driskell. “Not only does Representative Hunschofsky possess a wealth of knowledge due to her experience as the former mayor of Parkland, Florida, she is also a champion of many initiatives close to Floridians’ hearts, such as expanding access to quality mental health care. I know Representative Hunschofsky’s knowledge and ability will help prepare our Caucus for the challenges of the next two year.”

The Florida House Democratic Caucus will convene during Organizational Session taking place Nov. 21-22, 2022 in advance of the 2023 Legislative Session scheduled to begin on March 7, 2023.

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VIDEO: State Rep. Dianne Hart elected chair of the Florida Legislative Black Caucus

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ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN) – State Representative Dianne Hart (D-Tampa), incoming Chair of the Florida Legislative Black Caucus, talks briefly with Florida National News on the importance of the Florida Blue Florida Classic at Camping World Stadium in Orlando Saturday. The Florida Classic is an annual college football rivalry game between Bethune–Cookman University and Florida A&M University.

Hart’s Twitter Statement:

Hart’s statement: “I’m honored to have been elected as the Chair of the Florida Legislative Black Caucus.” “I’m grateful to my colleagues for their support and for trusting me to move this important caucus forward.”

During the 2021 and 2022 Legislative Sessions, Rep. Hart served on the following House committees, including Democratic Ranking Member of the Infrastructure and Tourism Appropriations Subcommittee, Judiciary Committee, Joint Committee on Public Counsel Oversight, Ways & Means Committee, Criminal Justice & Public Safety Subcommittee, State Legislative Redistricting Subcommittee and Select Subcommittee on Authorized Gaming Activity.

Hart was first elected to the Florida House of Representatives in 2018. She is also the CEO of the East Tampa Business and Civic Association.

 

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Former State Rep. Bruce Antone Ready To Rejoin Florida House

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Former State Representative Bruce Antone respond to questions by CFABJ, NAACP, and the Florida Voters League panel during a candidates forum in Orange County, Thursday, October 19, 2022. (Photo by J Willie David, III / Florida National News)

ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN) – Former Florida State Representative Bruce Antone served 12 years (six terms) in the Florida House of Representatives and defeated incumbent Democratic Rep. Travaris McCurdy during the August primary election to represent Orange County in the newly draw District 41 House seat.

CFABJ, NAACP, and Florida Voters League held a candidates forum for candidates seeking county, state and Congressional seats in Orange County, Thursday, October 19, 2022. (Photo by J Willie David, III / Florida National News)

CFABJ, NAACP, and Florida Voters League held a candidates forum for candidates seeking county, state and Congressional seats in Orange County, Thursday, October 19, 2022. (Photo by J Willie David, III / Florida National News)

Antone was among eleven candidates seeking election to county, state and Congressional seats participating in a candidate forum hosted by CFABJ, NAACP and the Florida Voters League, Wednesday, October 19, 2022.

Green Party nominee Robin Denise Harris is the only potential road block in Antone’s return to Tallahassee and faces off with him in the November general election. The District 41 House seat has an overwhelmingly Democratic voter base.

During his time in the Florida House, Antone was elected by his colleagues to serve as the Chairman of the 29-member Florida Legislative Black Caucus.

The general election is Tuesday, November 8, 2022.

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