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Black MBA’s love meeting in Atlanta

Hal Lamar | 8/16/2014, 1:03 p.m.
The 44 year-old National Black MBA Association will convene its 36th annual meeting in Atlanta September 16-20 for the fourth ...
Officers of the National Black MBAs and city officials announce the return of their annual convention at Atlanta City Hall. ( Hal Lamar) Hal Lamar

The 44 year-old National Black MBA Association will convene its 36th annual meeting in Atlanta September 16-20 for the fourth time since the group was founded 44 years ago.

The last time the organization gathered in Georgia’s capitol was 2011 and both Atlanta and the MBAs came out winners. The influx of hundreds of delegates generated $15 million to the city.

“This year, we expect to leave some $20 million,” said MBA President Jesse Tyson during an official announcement of the convention at a news conference July 24th in the atrium of Atlanta City Hall.

“People ask us why Atlanta?” Tyson continued. ”It’s Mayor (Kasim) Reed (who this year is an honorary co-chair) and the many corporations headquartered here who are also our corporate sponsors (Reed noted that Atlanta is the third most corporate intensive city in the country, behind New York and Houston). “We couldn’t do what we do day in and day out without their help. Plus, it just makes sense to be in this city.”

The theme for this year’s conference is “The art of Leadership: Inspiration, Innovation and Collaboration”. Board chair Audrey Hines Dillard, board said the city is the perfect backdrop to the theme.

“It’s home to some of the nation’s leading global corporations, colleges and universities and an unwavering pillar of the civil rights community,” Dillard said. “In our 40 year history, we (black MBA association) have grown and advanced. We chart a path that moves forward. But in one area, we haven’t changed much. We stick closely to our mission.”

“Our annual conference continues to focus on jobs and education,” she said. “This year on the 50th anniversary of the passage of the historic civil rights act, there couldn’t be a more relevant or appropriate time to talk employment and placing talent into jobs. People, job candidates, and talent of all persuasions and interests will attend our conference to learn, expand their network and leave Atlanta with a new or better job.”

This year’s conference will include a number of speakers, presenters and forum panelists to include ABC Good Morning America anchor Robin Roberts, a former Atlanta TV sportscaster (WAGA), former NBA great turned entrepreneur Earvin “Magic” Johnson; Arnold Donald, president of Carnival Cruise lines and a private, invitation-only screening of “The Equalizer”, starring Denzel Washington who convention planners say will also be in attendance.

Since its founding on the University of Chicago campus in 1970, the National Black MBA association has swollen to a membership roll of 30,000 with 147 chapters spread through the country from Washington State to the New England states, and 27 collegiate chapters. Since its founding, more than $8 million in scholarships have been donated to promising minority students at both the high school and collegiate level.

For more comprehensive details about Black MBA 2014, visit their website at nbmbaa.org.