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Two Phoenix minority business organizations envision a brighter 2014

The Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce and the National Sales Network had their annual meetings Feb 21-22, 2014. Here Kerwin Brown, Pete Hemingway and Gerald Richard conversed before the GPBCC dinner at the Phoenix Convention Center.
The Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce and the National Sales Network had their annual meetings Feb 21-22, 2014. Here Kerwin Brown, Pete Hemingway and Gerald Richard conversed before the GPBCC dinner at the Phoenix Convention Center.
Hassan Kareem

As Phoenix starts to recover from the recession, the fortunes of those associations and non-profits, that promote small businesses, have begun to improve, as well. This week, two groups—The Greater Phoenix Black Chamber of Commerce (GPBCC) and National Sales Network (NSN)—had successful annual meetings, which inspired and were appreciated by, minority-owned businesses, which were hit hardest by the economic downturn in Phoenix.

There are many challenges facing minority-owned businesses, which the GPBCC is addressing through the five pillars described by its CEO/President Kerwin Brown at the 2014 Annual Awards Banquet at the Phoenix Convention Center on February 21, 2014. Black-owned businesses, especially, are disadvantaged and underserved in advocacy access to capital, contracting, entrepreneurial training, and business development. GPBCC will be providing training, workshops and assistance in these areas in 2014.

GPBCC presented awards to businesses, which are excellent role models. This year, the winners were former Phoenix Councilman Michael Johnson, who facilitated much of the recent development in downtown and south Phoenix; Arizona State Senator Leah Landrum, who is in the last year of her tenure; and Anthony and Kim Gathers, owners of Ageez Hair Center. GPBCC also unveiled its new interactive app, donated by Geoperks.

“It’s always great to see this eclectic mix,” said Brown, looking out over the 300 attendees, “Of everyone from politicians to corporations to small businesses. I am proud GPBCC is providing value to all businesses.”

The very next morning, on February 22, a partner organization—NSN—had its State of the Organization Jazz Brunch—at the Sheraton Downtown. The Phoenix chapter of this diverse, national organization was founded in 2006 to meet the professional and development needs of salespeople. This year’s theme was Creating Sustainable Growth by Influence and Negotiation through Sales. The audience was inspired by the speeches of President Curtis Johnson, and keynote executive and author Sonia Jackson Myles, who focused on the importance of relationships in delivering exceptional results in sales.

Ironically, the Tea Party, Heritage Foundation, Citizens United, Impeach Obama, and other conservative groups populated the ballroom next door to GPBCC’s. Economic recovery in Arizona may also be threatened by SB 1062, the new bill, which would allow discrimination, based on religious beliefs, and has sparked protests. In the face of such divisiveness, both the GPBCC and NSN boast aggressive 2014 agendas, which will unify diverse entrepreneurs and businesses to enhance needed economic development for everyone in Phoenix.