Economic Empowerment through Enterprise Development

Monthly Archives: March 2017

13th Annual A.G. Gaston Conference Recap

The two-day conference held at the BJCC—3rd Floor East Meeting Rooms on February 14-15, 2017 had a dynamic line-up of program participants and attendees. From national renowned speakers, to millennial panelists, corporate executive women and entrepreneurs—the annual conference was nothing short of a success.



One started off with corporate executives and entrepreneurs from all over registering to be part of the two-day event aimed at “Closing the Wealth Gap through Entrepreneurship & Policy.” While Day One was mainly focused on women change makers with two panel discussions addressing both corporate and entrepreneurial matters that are important to women—headlining the group was Janice Mathis, Executive Director of the National Council of Negro Women, an organization founded in 1935 by Mary McLeod Bethune. Mathis was the luncheon keynote speaker.


At the close of Day One participants got the opportunity to attend a reception at the Carver Theatre were following a theatrical performance of A.G. Gaston: The Man, The Mogul and His Mission. The young actors of “Make it Happen” Performing Ensemble took the audience on a tour of the life of Alabama’s own A.G. Gaston. The young actors put on a standing ovation performance that left the audience inspired to learn more about the man known to many as the Black Titan.


Day Two started with an assortment of breakfast refreshments and opening panel discussion moderated by UAB Collat School of Business Professor, Dr. Anthony Hood. The panel highlighted three home grown millennials and how their innovation is shaping the renaissance of Birmingham. Informally the audience had the opportunity to ask questions while additionally adding commentary to the conversation. Birmingham’s millennial entrepreneur, Ashlee Taylor owner of Mogul Tax Solutions described the panel as “A refreshing opportunity to see peers bring to light many of the pressing issues we face as millennials right here in Birmingham, a conversation we must continue to have.”


Following the millennial panelist was veteran speaker, Dennis Kimbro. Kimbro wowed the audience by giving practical tips on leadership skills for the 21st Century. Following Kimbro’s dynamic speech business owners had the opportunity to ask pressing questions about their business and leadership skills. Kimbro was both electrifying and brought a depth of knowledge around the topic of entrepreneurship and succeeding in management.


To conclude the 13th Annual A.G. Gaston Conference was a luncheon that honored the three recipients of the 2017 Community Service Award. These awards are given annually to individuals who embody the characteristics of A.G. Gaston and recognizes to recognize the best of the best within our community. The recipients included, Dr. Stephanie Yates, Director of Regions Institute for Financial Education. Deontee Gordon, Director of Business Growth at REV Birmingham and Dr. Linda Chambers, Accounting Professor at Miles College.


Post the award ceremony was an awe-inspiring keynote speech by Ramon Ray, Smart Hustle Magazine, Editor-In-Chief. Ray addressed the audience with a charge to open their hearts to not only learn about the life of the man known as the Black Titan but apply his 10 rules of wealth building. Lastly, Ray told the audience to make a difference one must “Plan for Success”—concluding his speech he was given a standing ovation.

The Annual Conference is set to take place again February 13-14, 2018. Follow for updates.