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Please note agenda times may vary slightly. 

8:30-9 a.m. - Breakfast and Networking 


9-9:15 a.m. - Welcome, Opening Ceremony and Introduction of Emcee

  • Greg Hedgepeth, Conference Host

  • Darryl Lester, Conference Host

  • Dr. Lathan E. Turner, Emcee

9:15-10 a.m. - Setting the stage 

  • James White, Senior Vice President Operations | YMCA Of The North United Health Group Equity and Innovation Center of Excellence

10-10:50 a.m - Black Policy and Policing

Let's delve into a critical examination of the intersection between Black policy and policing in this thought-provoking panel discussion. "Black Policy and Policing" aims to provide a comprehensive exploration of the complexities surrounding law enforcement, its impact on Black communities, and the policy measures necessary for achieving justice and equity.

  • Chief Jason Armstrong, Chief of Police at Town of Apex

  • Greg Hedgepeth, President & CEO Substantial Media, LLC

  • Judge Ashleigh Parker, District Court Judge | 10th Judicial District

  • La'Meshia Whittington, President | Whittington & Staley Consulting Group

10:50-11:50 a.m - Building Black Business and Community to Close the Wealth Gap

Join us as we explore the nexus of entrepreneurship, community development, and the imperative of closing the wealth gap in Black communities. This panel brings together visionary leaders, entrepreneurs, and advocates to discuss strategies for fostering economic empowerment and sustainable growth.

  • Denisha Harris, President | North Carolina MWBE Coordinators'​ Network

  • Dionne McGee, President & CEO | DG McGee Enterprises Speaker and Author

  • Ryan Ray, Founder & Chair Triangle Entrepreneurial Leadership

  • Kemah Washington, President BRANDilly Creative Group

11:50 a.m - 1:00 p.m. Working Lunch Session: Building on the Reciprocity of Our Ancestors and Elders

Let's see if we can start to apply what we've long been discussing in settings similar to the Black Lens. Let's go from theory to actionable solutions in this compelling lunch discussion focused on strategies to build thriving Black communities. We look to discover how reciprocity, rooted in ancestral knowledge, fosters interconnectedness and resilience within communities today.

  • Darryl K. Lester, Founder/CEO | Institute for Building Communities by Design

  • Vince Bayyan, Business Owner/Human Resource Development Professional

1-1:50 p.m. - The Future of Education and Black Educators

Let's discuss the dynamic and evolving landscape of education and the pivotal role of Black educators in shaping the future. This session aims to explore the challenges, triumphs, and innovations within the educational sphere, particularly focusing on the unique contributions and experiences of Black educators.

Our distinguished panelists, comprised of educators, scholars, and thought leaders, will engage in a thoughtful dialogue on various aspects of education, including curriculum, diversity, equitable access to quality education, and the empowerment of Black students.

  • Dr. Melvin Jackson, Assistant Vice Provost for Faculty Engagement Office for Institutional Equity and Diversity | NC State University

  • Leshaun Jenkins, Principal | W.A. Pattillo Middle School

  • Dr. Jameco McKenzie, Director of Multicultural Student Affairs | NC State University

  • Jasmin Spain, Assistant Vice President of Student Support | Pitt Community College

  • Tamika Walker Kelly, President | North Carolina Association of Educators

1:50-2:50 p.m. - Healing from Hate and strengthening Black Mental Health and Well-Being

In a world where hate and divisiveness persist, join us for an inspiring and informative panel discussion that addresses the critical need to explore the impacts of hate. This will be a compassionate exploration of the impact of hate on individuals and communities, offering insights and strategies for fostering personal and collective healing.This panel of experts will discuss resilience and the promotion of mental health and well-being.

  • Nikki Locklear, Director of Victim Services Programs, N.C Commission of Indian Affairs | NC Department of Administration

  • Kiricka Yarbough Smith Founder & CEO | KYS Consulting Group

  • Deborah J. Sheppard, Program Director | The Power of U and Executive Director of HeARToscope Inc.

  • Cornell Wright, MPA Health Equity Advisor General Dynamics Information Technology, Federal Health Sector

2:50-3 p.m. - Farewell and Next Steps!

We not only want you to leave inspired, we want to find ways to build on what we've discussed and develop a real plan to address the needs of our community. 

  • Dr. Lathan E. Turner, Emcee

  • Greg Hedgepeth, Conference Host

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