celebration of black excellence:


WEEK 2021:

Every year during Black History Month, the Coalition for Black Excellence hosts CBE Week – a premier event that unites industry leaders, Black professionals, and Black entrepreneurs. This empowering week draws talented Black professionals from across different industries by offering access to distinguished speakers and panelists, as well as a trusted environment to network, explore recruitment opportunities, celebrate excellence among our peers, and share innovative practices to advance the Black community.

Given COVID-19’s ongoing impact on the Black community and the forthcoming transition of power in Washington, D.C., CBE Week could not be timelier. Whether you are exploring new business ventures or looking to develop and ascend in your field, it helps to have a village behind you. Under the theme “Thrive Together,” CBE Week 2021 will offer four professional tracks that are essential to furthering the Black community while helping to manifest the true potential of your business and your talents.


  • Meet other Black professionals and strengthen professional networks that could open the doors to new career opportunities
  • Engage with Black businesses across different industries and capitalize on the wealth of human and financial capital from fellow participants
  • Gain professional and personal development through a host of unique educational experiences


and more!

CBE Summit '21 covers four professional tracks, featuring vibrant keynotes and panels with Fortune 500 executives and board members, government officials, leading activists, health professionals, and entrepreneurs.

COVID-19 has revealed countless health disparities in Black communities and elevated the significance of mental health and wellness. This track is focused on working collectively to improve mental health for Black professionals and promote wellness in the Black community.


  • Feb. 25 (5:20 PM – 6:20 PM PST) Smart Genes: Understanding the Social, Legal and Ethical Considerations of Genetic Testing:
    Awareness about genetic testing has increased as more Americans strive to make better choices regarding their health to avoid the potential risks of developing chronic genetic disorders. This session will offer guidance on best practices for interpreting genetic results so participants can make informed decisions about their personal health.


    • Dr. Janina Jeff, Senior Bioinformatics Scientists at Illumina and Host of In Those Genes Podcast
    • Yusuf Henriques, Co-Founder & CEO, IndyGeneUS AI
    • Michael Flanigan, IP Trial Attorney, Reichman Jorgensen LLP (CBE Program Committee)
  • Feb. 27 (12:30 – 1:30 PM PST) Nourishing Our Body and Mind: How Access to Healthy Food Options Can Impact the Well-Being of Black Communities: 
    Far too many Americans are forced to endure the discomfort of living in food deserts. This urgent matter inspired Michelle Obama to launch the initiative “Let’s Move” to promote healthy and affordable food options for communities with limited access to grocery stores. This session will examine the injustice of food deserts and the damaging impact that poor nutrition has on the health and well-being of Black communities.


    • Koya Webb, Internationally recognized yoga teacher, celebrity holistic health coach 
    • Dr.  Kimberly Benton, DDS, MPH, Owner, Vista Pacific Dental
    • Shelley Dyer, Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corp, Yoga Instructor, and Chef
    • Joe Holder, Founder, The Ocho System 
    • Robyn Cross, Workers’ Compensation and Wellness Consultant, ABD (CBE Program Committee) 
  • Feb. 27 (3:45 PM – 4:45 PM PST) Tuskegee to COVID-19: Unraveling the Distrust in Public Health to Understand Disparities and Shape Ongoing Recovery Efforts:
    The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a major toll on Black communities and revealed countless racial and public health disparities. And present-day vaccination efforts are forced to confront decades of distrust stemming from the Tuskegee experiments. This session will examine the long history of cynicism and disparities that fuel COVID-19 and deepen its burden on Black communities.


    • Dr. Melissa Clarke, Emergency Medicine Physician and Black Coalition Against COVID-19 Steering Committee Member 
    • Dr. Flojaune Cofer, Senior Director of Policy of Public Health Advocate 
    • Dr. Celeste Philip, Deputy Director for Non-Infectious Diseases, Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
    • Dr. Melissa Hagen, Care and Treatment Branch Chief, Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – South Africa


Considerable gaps between Black and white wealth continue to persist as minorities bear the brunt of job losses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. This track is focused on eliminating the racial wealth gap and leaving a financial legacy to sustain and empower the Black community.


  • Feb. 26 ( 4:30 – 5:30 PM PST) Wealthy State of Mind: Acquiring the Beliefs, Habits, and Practices that Lead to a Path of Prosperity:
    Building wealth starts with believing that you can achieve your financial dreams. This session will help you navigate the everyday decisions to make the most of your money and build a lasting legacy of wealth for generations to come.  


    •  Kevin Coleman, Kingdom Development Group (CBE Program Committee)

  • Feb. 27 (12:30 PM -1:30 PM PST) Don’t Go Chasing Fool’s Gold: Spotting the Difference Between “Get Rich Quick” and Long Term Wealth:
    Building wealth requires patience and the ability to make disciplined decisions without being tempted prematurely by appealing get-rich-quick schemes. Simply put, what shines and glitters is not always gold. This session will highlight ways Black professionals can put aside their impulses and focus on conserving long-term goals.


      •  Jaisa Minor, Chief Visionary Officer, Juiceheads
  • Feb. 27 (2:30 PM – 3:30 PM PST) Moving On Up, While Bringing your Community with You: Creating Transformative and Multi-generational Wealth:
    Building wealth starts with being intentional about every transaction you make. This session will provide exclusive access to experts who have made money in a myriad of ways and altruistically used their wealth to uplift the plight of others.

     Keynote Speakers

      • John Rogers, Co-CEO & Chief Investment Officer, Ariel Investments 
      • Kneeland Youngblood, Founding Partner & Chairman, Pharos Capital Group
      • Taj Clayton, Partner, Kirkland & Ellis LLP 

New innovations are created daily to improve the quality of life for hardworking Americans while failing to produce equitable outcomes for Black communities. This track is focused on harnessing the power of innovation to advance Black communities and exploring pathways to fund it.


  • Feb. 26 (4:30 PM – 5:30 PM. PST) Where the Innovation Resides: Finding and Funding Projects Right in Our Communities:
    New innovations are created daily to help businesses and families solve everyday problems. Yet, Black communities and Black professionals are often last in line when it comes to finding and funding cutting-edge innovation projects. This session will help Black professionals discover where the innovation resides to better leverage key technological advancements for our communities.


    • Memme Onwudiwe, Founder & Executive Vice President, Evisort Inc. 
    • Kenneth Ebie, Executive Director & Chief Development Officer, Black Entrepreneurs NYC (BE NYC)

  • Feb. 27 (12:30 PM – 1:30 PM PST) Smashing Idea:…But for Who? Strategies to get Companies to Consider a Diversity of Experiences in the Design Process:
    While corporate America finally starts to grasp the economic benefits of diversity, far too many companies struggle to truly embrace diversity in facets outside of corporate and social responsibility efforts. This session will offer helpful strategies to encourage companies to pursue inclusive product designs and community-centered approaches to innovation.


    • Eva Pulliam, Partner, Arent Fox LLP 
    • George Aye
    • Brent Hawkins, Partner, Morgan Lewis 

  • Feb. 27 (3:45 PM – 4:45 PM PST) The Digital Divide Reframed: From Remote Working to Virtual Learning, How to Optimize Productivity in Black Communities:
    The COVID-19 pandemic exposed longstanding disparities within our nation’s digital divide as safety measures forced families and professionals to operate from home. This session will explore how the digital divide has focused a new lens on barriers that prevent Black communities from thriving during this greater reliance on digital resources.


    • Kwodwo Moore, Head Coach, Silicon Valley Urban Debate League
    • Erin Morrison -Sadaka, Director of Programs, PowerMyLearning 
    • Lubna Sheet, STEAM Teacher, DCP Alum Rock 
    • Maria Hunter, Instructional Coach, Downtown College Prep
    • Leslie Spencer, Partner, Desmarais LLP (CBE Program Committee)  

For the Black community to effectively wield political power, we must be concentrated and focused. This track is focused on maximizing and amplifying our political might to generate equitable policy outcomes for Black communities. 


  • Feb. 25 (5:20 pM – 6:20 PM PST) Reforming Fundamental Policies for a Brighter Golden State: Exploring Innovative Solutions to Long-lasting Challenges Impacting Black Communities in California:
    Black communities across California face a wide range of challenges that require comprehensive solutions. This session will focus on exploring the root causes and intersection of these challenges. Moreover, you will engage notable experts on the latest innovative policy reforms to address these pressing matters and how you can take action.


    • Eric Casher, City Attorney for the City of Pinole
    • Dr. Dene Starks, Founder & CEO, Diversif-I Education Group
    • Darryl Lucien, Managing Partner, Lucien Partners
    • Jovan Agee, CEO, Agee Global Solutions 
  • Feb 26 (5:30 PM – 6:30 PM PST) Building Black Political Power: Harnessing the Political Might of Black Professionals to Shape Democracy:
    The path towards progress and Black empowerment relies heavily on our ability to effectively organize our political might. Georgia recently affirmed this notion after Black voters successfully mobilized to turn the state blue and shift the balance of power in Congress. This session will outline the fundamental elements of increasing Black voter participation and political engagement, and examine  ways Black professionals can help shape the political landscape to reflect values and ideals important to our communities.


    • Antjuan Seawright, Founder & CEO, Blueprint Strategy LLC
    • Oliver Spurgeon, III Senior Government Director, Arent Fox LLP
    • Christian Menefee, Attorney, Harris County
  • Feb 27 (3:45 PM – 4:45 PM PST) Making of a More Perfect Union: The Importance of Engaging and Amplifying Black Voices to Influence Political Discourse:
    Our democracy was not meant to be a spectator sport and Black communities have too much at stake to stand on the sidelines. The making of a more perfect union that can support the dreams and ambitions of all its citizens will require Black professionals to be actively engaged on policy matters and committed to expanding the Black electorate. This session will highlight ways Black professionals can maximize our capital to boost voter registration efforts, shape political discourse, and generate equitable policy outcomes.


    • Neysa Fligor, Divison Counsel, Mayor of Los Altos
    • Marcus Champion, Founder, American Descendants of Slavery (ADOS)
    • Aisha McClendon, National Outreach Director, Vote America
    • Donald Calloway, Founder, Pine Street Strategies and the National Voter Protection Action Fund
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CBE facilitates the career growth of our membership by providing career fairs and other recruitment opportunities for our partners to engage with our members in various capacities. To register for our career fair during CBE Week 2021, please provide your registration email and upload your resume. We can’t wait for you to connect with our sponsoring companies!


Are you a Black service provider and/or Black business owner (51 percent or more of the stock or equity of the business is Black/African descent owned)? Learn how you can apply to supplier diversity programs at leading fortune 500 companies, and connect with representatives about opportunities to be hired in your industry category!


The CBE Pitch Competition began in February 2019 with an aim to minimize barriers for Black business owners and entrepreneurs and to create an ecosystem of support within the Black community. 

Participants will be judged by a group of experts and CBE Summit participants. All participants will have the following opportunities: 

  • Qualify as a winning organization that will receive a cash prize
  • Pitch to top VCs and investors throughout the country
  • Feature in CBE newsletter and social media
  • Participate in follow-up sessions with angel investors
  • Receive Google and Amazon Crowd Credit



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Email sponsorship@cbenonprofit.org for information on sponsorship opportunities.