What I Never Knew: My First @CBCFInc ALC 2016 Experience

4:50 PM

Last week I attended the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation's Annual Leadership Conference in Washington, D.C. held at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. I was my first time attending the conference and I really am glad that I was talked into going. One, I learned a lot about diverse plights of Black people from all over the globe, as well as a few terms and organizations that I had never heard of before. Below I am going to give a quick recap of the workshops I attended and (where available) link them to their livestream. I am also going to link some of the new phrases and organizations that I learned about during the conference. Let's get started.

The ALC is structured in tracks that an attendee can follow, but it's not required. So if your interest is in Education then that track will highlight all the workshops surrounding that industry. Otherwise it's pretty much a free-for-all. I didn't follow any track and decided to attend whatever peaked my interest.

Last year it was reported that Black women were the fastest growing group of business owners in the U.S.,  and this workshop made sure that all those that are inspired to start their business or are already deep in the trenches know where and how to get the support (financial and otherwise) that they need in order to have a business that will last and flourish.

Here is what I learned I never knew from this workshop: 
  • Minority Business Development Agency - an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce that work throughout the Nation to link minority-owned businesses with the capital, contracts, and markets they need to grow. 
  • Women's Chamber of Commerce Certification -  One of the panelists discussed how the certification opened her business to a mentor/protegee program offered by the organization and how that helped to grow her business 
Here are the gems that I received from the panelists: 
  • Not a hobby or a quick fix: It was stated that many women end up finding themselves outside of the workforce for one reason or another and decide that they then want to start their own business. The only problem is a good number of those businesses are lifestyle based and aren't built or maintained for perpetuity, which can make it hard for mentors or financial institutions to invest in. If you are building a business are you doing it because you have nothing else to do anyway? 
  • All money ain't good money: The direct quote was "Think like a customer when you are borrowing" Just because someone is willing to give you what you are asking for make sure that you agree with all that comes with that money. You also have the option to say no. Remember, it is possible to build a profitable business with no debt. 
Quote to Remember: 

Panelist Janice Howroyd  quotes her father when she complained about having old school books with the pages missing:
"Read the pages, you're smart enough to figure out what's missing. Then, write what's missing and tape it in for the next student"

Thursday: Prosper - Sustainability in Underdeveloped Communities
This workshop was really cool, and a bit of a hodgepodge of ideas, from the healthcare industry, to environmental sustainability, to energy efficiency, and economic development, this gave a pretty well-rounded view of what our communities need in order to build, grow, and well...prosper. The livestream of this workshop doesn't seem to be available, but here is the site to download the presentation materials. 

Here is what I learned I never knew from this workshop: 
  • Social Care- I keep trying to find something concrete on this term as it was used a lot by the panelists, however, it appears to mean working with community based organizations. If there is anyone out there that is more knowledgeable on the topic I invite them to comment. 
  • Community Reinvestment Act- The Community Reinvestment Act is intended to encourage depository institutions to help meet the credit needs of the communities in which they operate, including low- and moderate-income neighborhoods, consistent with safe and sound operations. 
 Here are the gems that I received from the panelists: 
  • Laws of Attraction: The question was asked, "what attracts businesses to the underserved communities?" And I asked myself, what are the factors of that attraction? What are the laws in place that protect the people of that neighborhood of attraction? 
  • Mental Detour: Veronica Smith of the City of Sacramento's SEED Corporation presented the challenge of redirecting our thought process on how we build policies and the policies of the entities that serve the basic needs of our communities. She made the point that subsidies with no opportunity to get our of that situation (that is causing them to need a subsidy in the first place) is not working. (She had me on the edge of my seat)
Quote to Remember:
"When you think about development policy think about where people live" 
-Dr. Greg Buchert Chief Medical Officer California Health Net

Friday: U.S. and Caribbean Relations - Correspondent Banking: The Effects of De-Risking

This workshop doesn't appear to have a livestream that I can find, but it was the one that I have taken back with me so strongly. It introduced to me the Correspondent Banking industry. I had never heard of it, and now that I know it exists and what role it plays in building Black wealth, I am going to do a more researched post on the topic. In the meantime here is my recap. 

Here is what I learned I never knew from this workshop: 
  • Correspondent Banking -  When financial institutions provide services on behalf of another, equal or unequal, financial institution. 
  • De-Risking - the phenomenon of financial institutions terminating or restricting business relationships with clients or categories of clients to avoid, rather than manage, risk.
  • Trade Diversions - occurs when tariff agreements cause imports to shift from low cost countries to higher cost countries.
  • Regional Advocate - helps to identify regulatory concerns of small business by monitoring the impact of federal and state policies at the grassroots level.
 Here are the gems that I received from the panelists: 
  • Lend on Me: Approximately 3'700 banking groups depend on correspondent banking
  • You're Money's No Good Here: A country is kept in a state of poverty when they can only use their currency inside their own country. Imagine if you could only spend the dollar from California to Maine. 
  • I'm the Captain Now: Understanding how trade diversion helps growing economies willing to invest in smaller economies, that larger economies are not willing to invest in, gain global power and influence. Like building an economic brand loyalty is the way I make sense of it.
Quote to Remember:
"We don't have a penny in that dollar" 

Friday: Africa Brainstrust (Part I) (Part II) (Part III)

Facilitated by Congresswoman Karen Bass, the Africa Braintrust was an all-day seminar with three different panels, Economic Progress and Challenges on the Continent, Building the African Health and Education Infrastructure, and Examining Security and Democracy in Africa. Each panel featured a keynote speaker. I was able to attend the last two panels on Health and Education, and Security and Democracy. I am going to go back and watch the first panel soon. I will admit I spent more time listening than I did taking notes, the subject matter and perspectives were so diverse that taking notes seemed more like a distraction than an asset.

Here is what I learned I never knew from this workshop:
  • Agenda 2063 - Africa’s endogenous plan for structural transformation and a shared strategic framework for inclusive growth and sustainable development
  • Sa-hel Region - semiarid region of western and north-central Africa extending from Senegal eastward to The Sudan.
 Here are the gems that I received from the panelists: 
  • Jet Set: I had heard talk of this before of alleviating the issues of intra-continental travel. Think of it like with the European Union and easy travel among the member countries, but as simplistic. The idea of an African passport had been mentioned. 
  • Implementation: When discussing the execution of select initiatives no matter the proposing organization, it was brought up that the two largest obstacles were lack of clarity, and a lack of financing. 
Quote to Remember:
"How do you reconcile this rich Africa with poor people?" 

-Panelist Panel II

(Disclaimer: This particular recap is in no way an endorsement for any specific candidate or political party, this is my recount of events that took place and can be easily viewed at the link above) 
This particular workshop was filled to capacity, and since I wasn't on time I ended up sitting on the floor. I am so glad that I did though. Featuring Donna Brazile, this panel was a great eye opener for Black voters. Though I grew up in the battleground state of Ohio (Cleveland to be specific), I never really paid much attention to a lot of the election hoopla that goes on. It honestly wasn't until after 9/11 that I began to take even the slightest interest in my politicians, or anything else surrounding the laws that governed my life. I truly recommend that all people watch this session, and no matter your party choice inform yourself regarding the voter registration laws in your state, county, and city. 

Here is what I learned I never knew from this workshop:
  • The 242 - The Blue Wall - The 18 states that have voted Democrat in the past 6 elections. These particular states combined equals 242 electoral votes.  
  • IWillVote.Com - Where you can register, update your registration, and check your status as a registered voter
Here are the gems that I received from the panelists:
  • Youth Matters: There was a young man on the panel that gave great gems for those of all generations. From dealing with the youths one-on-one to help dispel generational fear, to the necessities of partnership to feel as if they have a cause, stating that their fight in the Obama campaign made them feel as if they had a cause. 
  • Poll Taxes: Knowing the ways in which states are making it difficult to vote is vital, and many of the questions dealt with specific issues around difficulties with voting. Even something like parking tickets on your record can keep you from the polls in some states. 
  • Filling in the Gaps: There were questions about where to find comprehensive information on each candidate's stance on specific issues, especially a side-by-side comparison. Residents of non-battleground states were told that it would take extra effort and maybe even them creating the materials themselves to have more comprehensive information regarding the candidates, especially for national elections. 
 Quote to Remember:
"There is no more powerful person than a 24 yr old in Cleveland...that person in Cleveland determines who becomes president." 

-Male Panelist

So there we have it! Feel free to take a look at the videos, and any others on the CBCF Channel on YouTube that may be of interest to you. I truly enjoyed my experience and I anticipate attending again next year.

Happy Enlightenment!

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