Black Boss Summit Showcases Black Excellence in Business

Black Boss Summit Showcases Black Excellence in Business

On Saturday, September 7, 2019, dozens of Denver’s Black business leaders and aspiring entrepreneurs met on the University of Colorado’s South Denver campus for an immersive and inspiring all-day conference to celebrate Black excellence with encouragement, education, and opportunities for ongoing success. The Black Boss Summit, hosted by the Black Business Initiative of Denver, was an exclusive gathering of local and national achievers willing to share, teach and inspire their peers, and it was a great success.

In its 3rd and most successful year to date, the 2019 Black Boss Summit featured an impressive lineup of speakers who have made significant contributions in their communities while building and maintaining reputable businesses in a changing economic landscape.

The event kicked off with an energy-filled early morning welcome by mistress of ceremonies, Ms. Shay J, followed by an introduction and opening words from Jice Johnson, Founder and CEO of the Black Business Initiative. Johnson, recipient of the “40 Under 40” 2018 CBWPA Emerging Leader Award, is a highly-regarded visionary who will be honored at the 2019 Urban Leadership Foundation’s Annual Gala for her business leadership and efforts to empower others. She spoke about accountability in Black entrepreneurship before reminding audience members of their responsibility to defy the odds and stigmas associated with doing Black business, and the need to set new standards for growth and collective partnering.

Speaking directly about the challenges of entrepreneurship and what it really means to be a boss in business, local leaders Dr. Ryan Ross, Danielle Shoots, Delroy Gil, and Tia Jones discussed their own professional accomplishments and gave unique insights from their experiences at all levels of entrepreneurship. Their messages were filled with relevant information and resources, including tips for brand development and customer service strategy, tools for successfully scaling a business, and methods for increasing value while building a stronger customer base. Audience members were engaged and inspired by the sincerity of each speaker, who spoke from the heart and most importantly, from a place of shared understanding. “Beyond the incredible base of knowledge that was shared, there was a realness that you don’t always get from people in high positions,” says guest Cherie M., “I personally appreciate the genuineness each speaker brought to the stage.” By the end of the forum, priceless information had been distributed to community members who were urged to share what they’d learned within their personal and professional networks.

The Black Boss Summit was supported by city leaders, with Denver’s Mayor Michael Hancock and Aurora mayoral candidate, Omar Montgomery, in attendance. Both men entered the room to upbeat music and delivered words of support and encouragement to Colorado’s Black business community.

Attendees of the Black Boss Summit received a powerful keynote address from digital media marketing strategist, philanthropist, and best-selling author, Karen Civil, who is known for her business savvy and remarkable way of connecting culture to consumers, boosting brands, and revolutionizing social media to increase sales. Civil gave advice from her experience as a motivational speaker, her influence in the successful postmortem retail efforts of late rapper, Nipsey Hussle, and work with Hilary Clinton’s presidential campaign, encouraging the audience to stay dedicated to their goals while implementing effective strategies for success.  

Throughout the event, 7 local Black businesses were highlighted for their “Boss Excellence,” with video segments describing their work and accomplishments. Those celebrated were Regina Edmundson of CME Catering, Charles Gilford of Denver African-American Philanthropists (DAAP), Fathima Dickerson of Welton Café, Millete Birhanemaskel of Whittier Café, Danielle Shoots of The Daily Boss Up, Timothy Pitts of Buzz Barbershop, and Michael “Magic” Butler of Buzz Barbershop.

In addition to hearing useful words of wisdom from the event’s speakers, guests had the opportunity to network with business leaders from around the state at a fabulously adorned reception, while VIP ticket holders met briefly with Civil.

The Black Boss Summit was presented as a premiere event; it dripped with opulence, and the exclusive setting made each guest feel honored. The entire affair, from the beautiful decorations and music, to the incredible lineup of business leaders, supported the theme of Black Excellence while speakers gave a successful crash course in creating excellence in business. The substantive and engaging content solidified the annual conference as a must-attend event for Denver’s Black community.

The Black Business Initiative, established in 2015, is an economic revitalization program committed to growing a stronger business presence within the Black community. With Colorado’s Black community being increasingly dispersed throughout the state, events like the Black Boss Summit are an opportunity for everyone to convene, check in, and determine how our individual progress can work together to create community advancement. The organization is excited about the success of this year’s event and looks forward to building partnerships with local businesses to increase the impact of the event in years to come.

Editor’s note: For more information on the Black Business Initiative, email, call 303-900-7780 or visit