Future of Diversity in Small Business with Ron Busby & Lisa Mensah – The Washington Post

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Small business continues to be the backbone of the American economy, despite a brutal 2020, where over 400,000 small businesses failed in the first three months of the COVID-19 pandemic. Minority-owned businesses were particularly hard hit. Join Washington Post Live on Thursday, July 22 as business leaders explore the future of diversity in small business, the challenges minority-owned businesses often face in raising capital and how government and the private sector can work to keep these critically important enterprises thriving.

Provided by US Black Chambers, Inc.

As President/CEO of the U.S. Black Chambers, Inc. (USBC), Ron Busby, Sr. brings business management skills as well as a lifetime of community development experience to the organization. Mr. Busby is a former successful business owner himself, and he has been recognized as one of the nation’s best CEOs. Ron grew his first company, USA Superclean, from $150,000 annualized revenue, to over $15 million in only 10 years. Early on in his career, USA Superclean was recognized as the largest Black-owned janitorial firm in the country. Mr. Busby has also started and grown two other janitorial firms, both resulting in over $4 million in annualized revenue.

As a graduate with honors, from both Florida A&M University and Clark Atlanta University, Busby frequently extolls the importance of higher education. He continued to advance his own scholarly pursuits by attending the Amos Tuck School of Business Administration, a Dartmouth College graduate programfor minority and women owned businesses.

Currently, Ron serves on the Pfizer Small Business Council, National Newspapers Publishers Association Foundation Board of Directors, and White House African American Leadership Council. He has also formerly served on the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Council on Underserved Communities. Trained by some of the country’s leading corporate executives, Ron developed his skills at some of the nation’s largest corporations including; Exxon, Xerox, IBM, and Coca-Cola USA. While in corporate America, he was recognized as National Sales Person of the Year. Ron also has chamber experience as he was previously the President of the Greater Phoenix Black Chamber of Commerce for five years.

A native of Oakland, CA; Ron has dedicated himself to the empowerment of the Black community. Ron is also a member of Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity. Ron has two sons and currently lives in the Washington, DC area.

Provided by Opportunity Finance Network (OFN).

Lisa Mensah is President and CEO of Opportunity Finance Network (OFN), the nation’s leading network of Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs). Under her leadership, OFN helps CDFIs leverage public funding and private investment to bring affordable, responsible capital to rural, urban, and Native communities underserved by mainstream finance.

Since joining OFN in 2017, Mensah has attracted new visibility and investment to the CDFI field through programs like the Grow with Google Small Business Fund and OFN’s Finance Justice Fund, a $1 billion socially responsible investment with Twitter as the Fund’s first investor. Widely considered an expert on access to capital in low-wealth communities, Mensah frequently testifies before Congress. And recently, Forbes and Morning Joe recognized her as one of five women safeguarding America’s small businesses.

Prior to OFN, Mensah served as Under Secretary of Agriculture for Rural Development in the Obama Administration. Other career achievements include being the founding Executive Director of the Initiative on Financial Security at the Aspen Institute, managing the country’s largest philanthropic grant and loan portfolio of investments in rural America at the Ford Foundation and serving as a commercial banker at Citibank. She serves on multiple boards and advisory committees and holds an M.A. from the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies of The Johns Hopkins University and a B.A. from Harvard University.

The following content is produced and paid for by a Washington Post Live event sponsor. The Washington Post newsroom is not involved in the production of this content.

In a segment presented by U.S. Bank, Greg Cunningham, Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer will discuss the long-standing racial and economic equity gaps among Black Americans and the commitments they’ve made to address the inequalities, the challenges that small business owners of color are facing, and the internal changes U.S. Bank is making to help firms come back from the pandemic.

Greg Cunningham is Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer for U.S. Bank. He joined the bank in 2015 as Vice President of Customer Engagement. Greg’s mission is to make diversity, equity and inclusion a business imperative. In order to do this, he focuses on workplace culture, customer loyalty, supplier diversity, and community outreach. His diversity, equity and inclusion expertise has been showcased in national and regional media outlets, including Fortune, Bloomberg, American Banker and the Minneapolis Star Tribune. A recent profile of Greg in the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal received a national journalism award. And Ebony Magazine included Greg on its Power 100 list in 2018.

Greg spent the previous sixteen years at Target Corporation where he most recently led Lifestyle Marketing. He helped grow Target’s business and drove brand differentiation through cultural leadership. A few wins under Greg’s guidance include leading the marketing efforts for Target’s first entry into Manhattan, building multicultural expertise, and leading sports marketing for the organization.

Greg’s leadership vision asks: What’s remarkable about it? He places heart before head and brings vision, creativity, and relatability to those he meets. Colleagues call him a respected bridge builder and visionary. A current employee would say the organization is better because Greg’s here.

His non-work engagements are a reflection of his worldview. Greg is a member of Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity (the Boule’) and serves on the National Board of Directors for the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) the nation’s largest and most effective minority higher education organization.

Greg has a BA in marketing from UNCF member school Clark-Atlanta University and an MBA from Fordham University. He is a Pittsburgh native whose interests include writing, sports, social media, volunteering, exercising, and consuming “pop” culture.

Greg chooses to spend as much time as possible with his amazing wife Jacqueline Lloyd Cunningham and their two children, Myles and Whitney.

His personal brand tag line: “I Bring Life to Brands.”

Jeanne Meserve is a homeland security expert and analyst, moderator, and award-winning journalist. She is currently a Security Expert for Canada’s CTV News and co-host of the SpyTalk podcast. While a correspondent and anchor at CNN and ABC Jeanne earned her profession’s highest honors, including two Emmys and an Edward R. Murrow Award. She also contributed to two CNN Peabody Awards.

Jeanne is a member of the Homeland Security Experts Group and the Transatlantic Commission on Election Integrity, and serves on the board of the non-profit Space Foundation.

She moderates discussions on topics ranging from technology and security, to medicine and the environment. Her clients include AtlanticLIVE, Washington Post Live, the Munich Security Conference, the Halifax International Security Forum, and the global conferences of the International Women’s Forum.

At CNN Meserve created the homeland security beat, covering intelligence, law enforcement, cyber, aviation, border and port security. She anchored worldwide coverage of the Yitzhak Rabin assassination and the death of Princess Diana, and was the first to report on the devastating flooding in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. She was a key member of the CNN political team during the 1996 and 2000 elections. While at ABC News she covered the State Department and reported from the Middle East, Asia and Europe.

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