On Friday, October 3, 2014, from 8:30am to 6pm, the Ninth Annual CUNY BMI Conference entitled, Diversity Business, and Entrepreneurship, was held at Baruch College/CUNY. The conference featured a morning keynote lecture by Terrie Williams, Principal/Founder, The Terrie Williams Agency and Author, Black Pain: It Just Looks Like We’re Not Hurting. And an afternoon keynote lecture by Joshua DuBios, Principal/Founder, Values Partnerships, Former Director, White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships and Author, The President’s Devotional.
The Ninth Annual CUNY BMI Conference also included morning and afternoon panel discussions. The general theme for the morning panel discussions were focused on the history and ongoing quest for racial, ethnic and gender diversity in business and entrepreneurship throughout the nation. The morning sessions created a foundation for the afternoon panel discussions by providing a general historical background of the nation’s diverse history of entrepreneurship with a focus on the challenges and triumphs of African Americans building businesses and institutions under segregation. Further, through several panel discussions, we examined the entrepreneurial spirit of diverse peoples, especially in New York City, that has revitalized the nation’s urban centers with each successive generation. The afternoon panel discussions, explored contemporary issues related to business and entrepreneurship such as ongoing efforts to diversify corporate America; entrepreneurship, urban development and/or other job creation strategies; and the unfortunate declines in the number of African American students, particularly males, enrolling in the nation’s professional schools. Approximately 1300 people registered for the conference and about 1000 people attended, making this the highest attended CUNY BMI conference to date. The message of diversity, business, and entrepreneurship resonated with the conference participants through the keynote lectures and was amplified during the panel discussions.