This week I had the pleasure of joining Clark Atlanta University (CAU) and PNC Bank for the launch of their National Center for Entrepreneurship, and the first of a speaker series that I’ll be leading at the school where I serve as both the institution’s first Entrepreneur in Residency and a member of the Board of Directors.

To kick off the series, I gave a historical review of The Freedman’s Bank which helps contextualize Operation HOPE’s work and our various initiatives including Financial Literacy for All (FL4A) and One Million Black Businesses (1MBB). I shared my vision for the future and my fundamental belief that Black entrepreneurs hold the key to transforming our communities through ownership and improved financial wellness. The event was indeed a celebration of my, CAU, and PNC’s shared commitment to advancing Black entrepreneurship and brought together nearly 100 students, alumni, business experts and community leaders. 

As CAU School of Business’ first Entrepreneurship Scholar in Residence, one of my chief aims is to serve as an incubator and inspiration for developing the next generation of leaders at the Historically Black College and University (HBCU). What better place to inspire some of the best and brightest of our community to consider ownership and entrepreneurship as potential paths for their lives?

During my residency, I will lead an ongoing speaker series on a range of topics such as managing financial risk, negotiating deals, and the importance of FICO scores, among others. It’s crucial and vital to this Third Reconstruction period that we provide our students, at every level, with the tools, exposure, and resources they need to succeed and have a solid foundation on which to launch and grow in their financial journey. 

Dynamic partnerships, like the ones between CAU, PNC, and myself (and Operation HOPE by extension) show how we can all do our parts to help uplift our community and ensure success and wealth are expectations for the generations to come—if they work hard for it and are given the opportunity to succeed.

I’d like to thank President French of Clark Atlanta University, Dr. Sylvanus Udoka, Dean of Clark Atlanta University School of Business, and Sam D. Burton, VP of External Affairs for their leadership and belief in our mission. I’d also like to thank longstanding HOPE partner, PNC Bank, and their leadership including Eddie Meyers, regional president of Georgia for PNC Bank, Erin Horne McKinney, Executive Director for PNC National Center of Entrepreneurship.

Stay tuned for more and stay in the light!

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