Michael Vick, Tristan Walker, and Other Leaders Kick Off the Black Men XCEL Summit

BLACK ENTERPRISE’s 4th annual Black Men XCEL summit kicked off on Thursday with a variety of sessions, workshops, coaching, and virtual activities designed to train, equip, develop, and inspire leaders across a broad array of endeavors. Not only was the virtual summit created to help Black men advance in their respective careers and industries, but the two-day event also focused on helping attendees level-up mentally, financially, and holistically.

Sponsored by FedEx Express, Black Men XCEL (BMX) gave participants access to some of today’s most successful business and executive influencers as well as major corporations eager to recruit ambitious men of color for high-level opportunities. The summit, which was also facilitated in partnership with presenting sponsors AT&T and JPMorgan Chase, provided attendees with the opportunity to conduct live chats with speakers, experts, mentors, and fellow attendees.

“The motto for this year’s BMX is celebrating the best of who we are,” said BLACK ENTERPRISE President and CEO Earl “Butch” Graves Jr. in his opening remarks. “It is a celebration of Black men’s collective achievement, resolve, and resilience during one of the most challenging periods of our history. We meet under the cloud of COVID-19 and a crippled economy. We are nearing the end of a divisive, racially-charged election, and Black men are under assault at all levels.”


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Day one of the leadership development conference included several leaders in business, tech, and sports like Walker Co. & Brands founder and CEO Tristan Walker, who delivered a powerful one-on-one conversation with Graves. During their session, Walker talked about how he built and positioned Walker Co. & Brands for its merger with Procter & Gamble as well as his journey from a Twitter intern to serving on corporate boards of Footlocker and Shake Shack. He also opened up about the obstacles he had to overcome and how his company has grown amid COVID.

“The reason why I think we’ve been able to thrive as Walker and Company is because we had established that relationship from the very beginning. We were digitally native from the very beginning. So by the time COVID hit, we were prepared for this outcome,” said Walker during the session.

Former NFL quarterback Michael Vick also appeared at the conference where he opened up about his 21-month sentence in prison in 2007 for his involvement in a dogfighting ring, which overshadowed the rest of his career.

“When I came home from prison, I felt the pressure. I felt like I was living in a bubble,” admitted Vick. He went on to say that his road to redemption began while he was still behind bars. “I set goals while I was in prison. I accomplished almost everything that I wanted to accomplish and then some. That was the ultimate confirmation that I could do anything that I wanted to do in my life.”

Other speakers who appeared on Thursday included BCT Partners Chairman & CEO Randal Pinkett, AT&T Chief Development & Diversity Officer Corey Anthony, TV Host and Daddy Duty 365 Founder Shannon Lanier.

On Friday, former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is scheduled to address the 2020 election during a keynote session with BLACK ENTERPRISE SVP and Chief Content Officer Derek T. Dingle. Former NFL Player Tiki Barber, PayPal Head of Global Financial Compliance Investigations Art Taylor, CNN contributor, attorney, and author Bakari Sellers, and former NAACP Youth & College Division National Director Rev. Stephen A. Green are also set to appear Friday.

Click here to register for Black Men XCEL and use the hashtag #BMXCEL for additional updates and information about it on social media.