CA Black Chamber Successfully Launched "The 2018 Ron Brown Business & Economic Summit"

The California Black Chamber of Commerce's event is named after the late U.S. Sec. of Commerce, Ron Brown, a lawyer, negotiator, pragmatic bridge builder, Chairman of the DNC & nominated by Bill Clinton to serve as the 30th Secretary of Commerce.
Phillip Sithole, Mathabo Kunene of ZA with Aubry Stone, Pres. CA Black Chamber
Phillip Sithole, Mathabo Kunene of ZA with Aubry Stone, Pres. CA Black Chamber
IRVINE, Calif. - Aug. 24, 2018 - PRLog -- Courtesy of Wright Enterprises~~~

The California Black Chamber of Commerce' Ron Brown Business & Economic Summit "Opportunities On the Horizon for Business Growth" launched successfully on Thursday, August 23, 2018 at the Hilton Hotel Irvine.  California Black Chamber President Aubry Stone of Sacramento, officiated over day one's, "Women's Symposium: Women Succeeding in Technology."

The summit's kickoff was packed with powerful presentations and attendees from as far as South Africa.   Author of  "Girl Make Your Money Grow," Gail Perry Washington of Detroit, kicked off the day with practical financial advice and personal stories of wealth building.  Keynote luncheon speaker Elana Butkus of Chicago, CA Government Affairs, Aetna Corporation, shared her inspirational story of early challenges to triumphs in the health arena including working with President Barack Obama when he was Senator of Illinois to achieve health care policy that was the ground work for the nation's Affordable Care Act.

Aimee D. Griffin, Managing Attorney of Washington D.C. firm The Griffin Firm, PLLC was the afternoon speaker covering "Financial Planning Strategies for Professional Women," highlighting the importance of trusts and wills to protect wealth to transfer generationally.  Griffin spoke about the unfortunate cases of Prince and Aretha Franklin whose estates lost funds for generations of their families and charities due to the probate process.

Several breakout sessions were held. Women in Technology-Challenges & Success included panelists, Tara Lynn Gray, President of the Fresno Metro Black Chamber of Commerce; Valerie Bell, VP of IT Infrastructure & Operations, PGE; Michelle Fang, Chief Legal Officer TURO; Virginia Grebbien, Chief of Staff Parsons Corporation; and Tamara Armstrong, Deputy Director CA Dept. of Technology.

The summit had input from international delegates as panelists from South Africa and Ghana are attending the economic summit through Saturday.   Matilda Ahrin, now based in Atlanta, President of the Ghana International Chamber of Commerce moderated the panel "Importing/Exporting to Africa (Trade Free Zones) with panelists Phillip Sithole, Deputy City Manager of Durban, Eric Apelgren, Executive Director of International Relations for the City of Durban, and Mrs. Mathabo Kunene, Managing Trustee of the Mazisi Kunene Foundation in Durban.  Mrs. Kunene and her late husband, UCLA Professor, Mazisi Kunene lived in exile during the apartheid years for over 20 years in Los Angeles.  Mrs. Kunene appealed to the audience to "please take part in the fruits of your labor in South Africa.  Black Californians led by Ron Dellums and others were instrumental in breaking the grip of apartheid," said Kunene.  Sithole and Apelgren shared powerful video presentations about Durban's economic strengths and reinforced the theme that "South Africa is Open for Business" in accordance with an appeal made in New York, Houston and Los Angeles in March by Durban's Trade and Investment KwaZulu-Natal (

Two upcoming South African trade-related notices include the October 1-5, 2018 KwaZulu-Natal Export Week in Durban and the November 7-9 2018 African Development Investment Forum in Johannesburg.

The Women's Symposium laid the ground work for Friday's agenda that includes: Dr. Anthony Samad of the Mervyn M. Dymally African American Political & Economic Institute at Cal State Dominquez Hills; Julius Robinson, CEO MUFG Union Bank Foundation; Antwayne Ford, CEO/President & Co-Founder Enlightened, Inc.; and Madame MC Townsend, President/CEO Regional Black Chamber of Commerce.

Saturday's Youth Entrepreneur Summit includes speakers: Angelice Ferrell, Coordinating Supervisor of College & Career Programs U-Can; Cat Packer, Executive Director & General Manager, Los Angeles Department of Cannabis Regulations; Gerry Foster, CEO Gerry Foster Branding; Kevin Hicks, Partner with Blackman and Associates; and Kevin Bracy, Your Greatness Coach."

Slated to be Saturday's keynote speaker was Cllr Zandile Gumede, Mayor of Ethekwini Municipality, KZN Province.  Due to critical city business, Gumede, the first female mayor to lead one of the key metros in South African with a budget of R45.8 billion for more than 3.7 million residents, will not be in attendance.  She will be well represented by South African delegation.  International businesswoman, Mathabo Kunene will present the keynote speech at the summit's awards dinner.  Dia Poole, Sacramento legislative advocate and communications liaison with entertainment, will emcee the evening.

The award recipients are: Wells Fargo Bank, President's Outstanding Corporate Community Leadership; Minuteman Press, Small Business of the Year (Northern Region); Twinstar Arts Productions, Small Business of the Year (Southern Region); California Black Media, African American Press; Diversity & Procurement Outreach Public: Department of General Services; Private: Pacific Gas & Electric; and Solano County Black Chamber Affiliate of the Year.

Carmen Jones and the Deja Vue Band will provide entertainment for the evening.

Major sponsors of the California Black Chamber of Commerce 24th Annual Ron Brown Business and Economic Summit include: Altria; Aetna; AT&T; Bank of America; Charter Communications; Citibank; Comcast; Covered California; Department of General Services; JP Morgan Chase; Pacific Gas and Electric Company; SDGE/Sempra Energy; Southern California Edison; Turo; Verizon; and Wells Fargo Bank.

For more about the California Black Chamber of Commerce, visit  The 2019 "Ron Brown Economic Summit is slated to be held in San Francisco.

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