By Micha Green, AFRO Washington, D.C. Editor, email@example.com
As part of their annual celebration to recognize businessmen of color, on March 28 the Washington Business Journal gathered distinguished guests at the MGM National Harbor for an evening of merriment celebrating the 12th Annual Minority Business Leader Awards.
The evening began with a networking reception, leading to an MGM ballroom for dinner and the reason why the hundreds of guests came out, to honor business leaders of colors. While most people in the room were heavy hitters in business, banking and more, notable guests included Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks and District of Columbia Council member Brandon Todd (D- Ward 4).
“Tonight we’re here to acknowledge the accomplishments of a dynamic group of our business leaders, who have blazed the trail in business and left an indelible mark on the community. Our region is better as a result of the 25 possessing that formidable combination,” Thomas Penny II, president of Donahoe Hospitality Services and 2010 Minority Business Leader awardee told the crowd.
As Women’s History Month wound down, Penny also noted the many women who were being honored. “When I shared the list of honorees with my wife and my 23-year-old daughter, they were especially pleased to see so many women represented in tonight’s class of honorees.”
Some of the standup women included Tashni-Ann Dubroy form Howard University, Leslie Hale from RLJ Lodging Trust, Viola Llewellyn of Oyamaba Solutions and Letiti Procter from Donohoe Hospitality Services.
In addition to the 25 honorees, three rising starts were also highlighted, including, Clear Cloud’s Dr. Charles Thomas Jr., Brllnt’s Julie Weber and Angel Rich, founder and CEO of The Wealth Factory.
“All the men in my family served in the military and for the most part a lot of the women in my family have been entrepreneurs. Specifically, my mother was an entrepreneur and it provided a lot of influence for me- traveling around the country with her as an entrepreneur. So it was always expected of me to become an entrepreneur,” Rich said in a video, which played as she accepted her award.
“One of the greatest days in my family is when I actually quit my job. My mother was actually more proud of me when I quit my job, than when I got my job. So entrepreneurship is definitely in my blood,” Rich added.
The title sponsor of the Minority Business Leader Awards was Holland & Knight, with gold sponsors including, Bank of America, Pepco and Howard University and gold non-profit sponsors Goodwill of Greater Washington, all of whom had representatives from organizations speak on behalf of the business and give awards to the special honorees. Further, each sponsor emphasized the importance of continuing uplifting diversity in business.