A “Red-letter Day” is defined by Wikipedia as any day of special significance. Exactly two weeks ago I had a string of Red-letter days when I attended the B.E. Entrepreneur’s Conference here in Columbus Ohio. I was brought to a level of inspiration that has not yet subsided.
On May 15th – Magic Johnson was in town and I had the opportunity to see him not only once, at my day job.
Later on in the day , I saw him again, as Mr. Clark Kellogg from ESPN had the opportunity to interview Mr. Johnson. He talked a lot about business and how to succeed in life. I was blessed to see both interviews.
On May 16th - Dr. Dennis Kimbro the author of Think & Grow Rich – a Black Choice, did a fantastic speech, mainly about the mindset of millionaires. He also talked about his new book – The Wealth Choice. His book is a journey for him interviewing over one thousand black millionaires.
I got in line to buy his book but, by the time we got to the signing table he had completely run out. I took the moment at the signing table to:
1) Shake hands with Mr. Earl Graves Sr. – the publisher of Black Enterprise Magazine. I asked him if I could interview him and he agreed as he took a moment to fix my awkward tie.
2) I also took the opportunity while standing at the book-less signing table to ask Dr. Kimbro for an interview.
A little bit later, I actually did interview Dr. Kimbro and got to inform him about a well known admirer of his first book he was unaware of until meeting me.
At lunch – Sonia Alleyne the online editor for Black Enterprise interviewed Robert Townsend. Mr. Townsend is an actor, comedian and one of the first black directors. He was both hilarious and inspiring.
One of the most inspiring stories he told was the story of his trip to Africa to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro. He talked about what his mountain guide, a gentleman by the name of Future, who taught him lessons about how to climb the mountain as well as how to get through this journey called life.
After lunch I went to a session that was focused on internet and startup entrepreneurs. I had the opportunity to meet all 3 of the speakers. One - Tanisha Robinson – I had already met previously as she is a Columbus native. However, I had the opportunity to meet Jon Gosier of Metalayer and Frederick Townes of w3-edge.
After that session, I went home, took a break and prepared for the Elevator Pitch competition later on that evening.
The pitch competition was hosted by Robert Townsend. He cracked jokes throughout and eventually the winner of the competition was a lingerie product for larger women. To my surprise the founder used to be a larger woman but, after working on her business for a year she lost over a hundred pounds.
May 17th – I arrived early so I could get my interview with Mr. Graves.
To my dismay I was told he would not be arriving until much later that morning.
So I networked and then watched an excellent presentation by Frans Johannsson. An author who touched briefly on his Swedish and black background and then went on to present the ideas brought forth in his book the Medici Effect. It was a great presentation; he was one of the few presenters I did not have the opportunity to meet.
After the morning speaker, I attended a session on alternative, primarily online ways, to finance your business.
The speakers were very diverse and interesting.
I then proceeded to look around for Mr. Graves before the next session began. Still no luck.
I then skipped the next session and took an early lunch with a new connection.
We took our lunch back to the convention center and when we arrived back. We saw Bob Johnson- the founder of BET – enter the convention center.
I videotaped a little of it and I wanted desperately to shake his hand. Unfortunately I missed the opportunity as he and his entourage was on power walk mode while I was on Ohio walk mode (a much slower version of walking).
A few moments later, Bob Johnson came on stage and gave an hour long talk about his entrepreneurial journey. I was elated to be the first to ask him a question.
That afternoon I went to a session on social media. It was a great session and I got a chance to talk to all of the speakers except one. – The Small Biz lady.
After the session I spotted Mr. Earl Graves Senior and jumped at the opportunity to interview him. He was extremely candid about his entrepreneurial experience.
I then went through the Small Business Expo section and learned about a lot of great businesses and opportunities within the community.
I then went home
I came back later that evening to attend the awards dinner.
As dinner was being served, I noticed Mr. Johnson sitting down out of the corner of my eye and pleaded with his people to let me just shake his hand. I shook it!
From that point on, everything that occurred during the evening was bonus.