The 2016 Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Summit kicked off with the business of connectivity, responsibility, and making an impact with the “Entrepreneurship, Empowerment & Power” session featuring author, innovator, faith-leader, Founder and Pastor of Empowerment Temple AME, Dr. Jamal Bryant.
The conversation revolved around leadership. “If you are an entrepreneur than you are a leader,” explained Alfred Edmond Jr., SVP/Executive Editor-at-Large of Black Enterprise as he kicked off his conversation with Bryant.
Bryant made it abundantly clear that as entrepreneurs and as African Americans we are charged with the responsibility of lifting each other up and supporting each other wholeheartedly—not only in business, but also in social justice.
“The role of the black pastor has always been a drum major for justice,” says Bryant.
“In my bubble I thought I was a success in ministering. Freddie Gray, Tamir Rice, Trayvon Martin, these instances let me know what I was and wasn’t doing in leadership. The real importance of ministry is what you do after the benediction.”
When asked about his leadership charge to entrepreneurs to carry forward as true leaders, Bryant emphasized two specific areas that must be cultivated. Digital technology changes every 18 months, the black church changes every 20 years. We see more people online than we do in the church. How do we build an Internet sanctuary?
We have to have a diasporic perspective. We have to be globally minded. We have to have a global discussion on what we need to do for our businesses to have an impact. We have to think in terms of global trade and global economic development. We have to figure out how to have a global discussion.
In response to the lack of Africans that actually support other African Americans in business, Bryant asks for entrepreneurs to up their game. “Your character is your currency,” he states. “You have to ask yourself do you really measure up in how you do business. Remember that your network is your net worth. You’re only as viable as the circle that you’re in. We have to support each other with intentionality.”