The Black Professional Summit assembled people of different career industries in one place to network and empower each other. The team behind the summit exposed attendees to political candidates and management leaders. Conversations about career development and entrepreneurship happened throughout the multiday conference. The purpose is to not only provide local professionals the resources they need to excel, but also equip them with the right material for them to maximize their 2020 vision.

“We are going into another decade. Do we want to see our community in the same position it was for another 10 years?” said Kenasha Paul, founder and president of the Black Professionals Network. “For me, it was important for us to get our vision into focus and not going into another decade with the same patterns and beliefs of what life should be.”

The Black Professional Summit took place on Oct. 17-20 at Kovens Conference Center in North Miami. Over 250 people registered to attend. This is the fifth year of the summit. Previous years, the summit has attracted individuals such as Alfred Edmond Jr. of Black Enterprise, Felecia Hatcher of Code Fever, and politicians Andrew Gillum and Ron DeSantis to speak to attendees. This year, the summit hosted Jamal Sowell, Florida Secretary of Commerce; Erika Bennet, global head of Marketing for YouTube; and Benoni Tagoe, head of business development for Issa Rae Productions and founder and CEO of Noni Bizz.

“I hope people leave motivated to go out and do whatever they are setting out to do. Everything I have done in my career, for the most part, has been something that didn’t exist before I tried it and it worked out,” said Tagoe. The Black Professional Summit has expanded from a single day career fair to a four-day conference. Outside of the speeches and workshops, Paul and the team organized Taste of the Diaspora and a Meet the Candidates symposium. Taste of the Diaspora was a family-style Caribbean dinner catered by Chef Irie. The candidates’ symposium was a mixer where summit guests were able to meet the individuals running for civic positions in Miami-Dade County.

The first two days of the Black Professional Summit was dedicated to entrepreneurship and business development. One particular conversation that was well attended was the Hustle and Grit panel.

“When I heard the title of the panel, that was the perfect space for me,” said David Castro, CEO and founder of Complex Apparel LLC. Castro was a part of the panel. He shared what it took for him to get into a place of 100-focus on his company. Castro elaborated on the difference between a good entrepreneur and a great entrepreneur.

“A good entrepreneur will find a need and fill it. A great entrepreneur creates a need. That’s inventing something new and bringing it to the market that no one has experienced before. When they do experience it, they know they want it and they want more,” Castro.

The Black Professional Summit delivered a lot of information on career and business. Numerous aspects of the two were covered through the workshops that were scheduled.

The summit is creating a comprehensive job board and connecting more business owners in Miami-Dade with each other. The biggest reward Paul and the Black Professional Network receive from this endeavor is the testimonies they hear from attendees.

“I hear testimonies of people meeting someone at the conference and now they are helping them with their international project. It’s very rewarding to hear we are connecting people. They are falling in line with my vision of people leveraging their social and intellectual capital,” said Paul.

Miami Times Contributor

Clayton Gutzmore is a freelance journalist from South Florida. He has bylines in The Miami Times, The Atlanta Voice,The Miami Herald and Variety Magazine. Clayton has a background of covering business, entertainment and local community news.

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