Groundbreaking Black-Owned Investment Banking Firm Siebert Williams Shank & Co. to be Presented with the Inaugural Earl Graves Sr. Visionary Award at the Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Summit in Philadelphia
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Groundbreaking Black-Owned Investment Banking Firm Siebert Williams Shank & Co. to Receive Inaugural Earl Graves Sr. Visionary Award at the Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Summit in Philadelphia

earl graves sr 50th anniversary
As founder and publisher of BLACK ENTERPRISE, Earl G. Graves. Sr. created a vehicle to provide information and advocacy that has enabled three generations of African Americans to build wealth through business ownership, career advancement, and money management. He used his media company to open doors for the best and brightest in the global business arena.

This “Champion of Black Business" used his media outlet and service on numerous corporate boards to serve as a powerful voice for diversity and inclusion within the executive suite and supply chain as well as wealth-building efforts for African Americans. This message was delivered through a magazine; website; two television shows, Black Enterprise Business Report and Our World with Black Enterprise; and a series of conferences. Key to his mission: Creation of empowerment and aspirational vehicles like the BE 100s - the national barometer of black business - and Wealth for Life.

An inductee into the U.S. Business Hall of Fame and recipient of the NAACP Spingarn Medal, Graves had also served as chairman and CEO of Pepsi-Cola of Washington, D.C., L.P., the nation’s largest minority-controlled Pepsi-Cola franchise from 1990 and to the end of 1998 when it was sold back to the parent company. In 1997, at the time of honor, Graves owned and operated two companies on the BE INDUSTRIAL/SERVICE list: Pepsi-Cola of Washington, D.C. ranked No. 33 with gross sales of $56 million, and Earl G. Graves, Ltd., parent of BE, at No. 73 with gross sales of $30 million.

In January 2006, Graves named his eldest son, Earl “Butch” Graves, Jr. as CEO. With that promotion, Graves Jr. represents the transition to the next generation of leadership, one that will continue the mission through expansion of the franchise across various media platforms.

BLACK ENTERPRISE the nation’s number one Black digital media brand, will bring back its national Entrepreneurs Summit as an in-person event in Philadelphia at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, May 18–20.

The Entrepreneurs Summit is well established as the premier annual event dedicated to the success of Black entrepreneurs and the growth, profitability and wealth-creation potential of Black-owned businesses. In partnership with host sponsor, Nationwide, BLACK ENTERPRISE will feature high-engagement elements maximizing real-time, peer-to-peer learning, coaching, mentorship and networking opportunities for attendees.

A major highlight of the multi-day event will be the Entrepreneurs Summit Awards Luncheon on Thursday, May 19. Several outstanding Black-owned companies will be celebrated during the luncheon, led by the inaugural presentation of the Earl Graves Sr. Visionary Award to President  and CEO Suzanne Shank and Chairman Christopher Williams of the groundbreaking investment bank Siebert Williams Shank and Co. L.L.C. The Visionary Award is named for Earl Graves, the iconic founder of BLACK ENTERPRISE magazine, who died on April 6, 2020.

Nationally recognized journalist, TV and radio personality Jacque Reid will serve as emcee of the Awards Luncheon, according to a press release. Other awards to be presented to outstanding entrepreneurs include:

– Teenpreneur of the Year: Trey Brown, founder and chief executive officer of SPERGO.

– Community Champion of the Year: Derrick Hayes, president and chief executive officer, Big Dave’s Cheesesteaks.

– Business Disruptor of the Year: Kimberly McGlonn, Ph.D., founder and chief executive officer, Grant Blvd.

“The accomplishments of Suzanne Shank and Christopher Williams as innovative leaders in the financial services industry are absolutely worthy of being recognized with our first ever Earl Graves Sr. Visionary Award,” says BLACK ENTERPRISE Executive Vice President and Chief Content Officer Derek T. Dingle.

“All of our Entrepreneurs Summit honorees represent the genius, resilience and excellence that is the legacy of Black entrepreneurship in America.”

The mission of the Entrepreneurs Summit is to provide access to the connections, capital, expertise, ideas and inspiration established and aspiring Black business owners need to make money, build companies and create wealth. The Entrepreneurs Summit will feature engagement-driven, content-rich sessions, workshops and coaching designed to help entrepreneurs expand their business networks and position their companies for opportunities and growth.

Confirmed speakers for the Entrepreneurs Summit include hip-hop mogul and No Limit Records Founder Percy “Master P” Miller; Uncle Bobbie’s Coffee Shop and Bookstore Founder Mark Lamont Hill; Glamazon Beauty Cosmetics Founder and former supermodel Kim Baker; Maconomics Founder Ross Mac; SmartHustle.com Founder and CEO Ramon Ray; Buttah Skin Founder Dorion Renaud; Lobos 1707 Tequila CEO Dia Simms; Nationwide Director of Relationship Management, Supplier Diversity and Sustainability Procurement Michelle Smith; Canvas Beauty CEO and Founder Stormi Steele; Host and Style Influencer Kela Walker; and many more.

Other sessions and highlights of the Entrepreneurs Summit:

– Tapping Into the Billion-Dollar Beauty Industry.

– Procurement Equity: Getting Your Slice of the Pie.

– Cash for Content: How To Capitalize in the Creator Economy.

– Flying High: Building A Business in Luxury Travel.

– Finding Your Flavor: Building Business & Success in the Food Industry.

– Understanding the Metaverse to Power Your Business.

– Exclusive Access to One-on-One Business Coaching.

– And More!

In addition to Entrepreneurs Summit Host sponsor Nationwide, MasterCard is a Presenting sponsor; Platinum sponsors include McDonald’s, Braun and JPMorgan Chase; and Corporate sponsors include ComcastRISE, FedEx, Instacart and Walmart.

The Entrepreneurs Summit begins Wednesday, May 18, and concludes Friday, May 20, 2022. To register and find out more information, visit www.blackenterprise.com/entrepreneurssummit. Search #BESUMMIT for additional updates and information about the Entrepreneurs Summit on social media.


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