"Preserving the History of Black Enterprise"
President & Founder
Dr. Bessie House-Soremekun is an award-winning author, administrator, inventor, entrepreneur, and expert on Black entrepreneurship and Black economic development. She is the President, Founder, and CEO of the newly-created International Black Business Museum (www.theibbm.org) which is the only museum in the world whose mission is to preserve the history of black enterprise and honor the ingenuity, genius, business success, and inventions of Black entrepreneurs in the United States and in other countries of the world. She is also the Executive Director of the National Center for Black Businesses, a division of the International Black Business Museum, whose mission is to build entrepreneurial capacity of black entrepreneurs in Cleveland, Ohio.
She is an institution builder who has created and exercised oversight of five entrepreneurial centers which include the National Center for Entrepreneurship, Inc., the Center for the Study and Development of Minority Businesses at Kent State University, the Entrepreneurial Academy of the Cleveland Empowerment Zone, the Entrepreneurial Academy of Youngstown, Ohio, a spin off center, and the Center for Global Entrepreneurship and Sustainable Development at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. Collectively, these centers have produced award-winning research and provided business training classes using a business training module that she created to more than 400 individuals. Through the work of these centers, more than 50 businesses were established and/or expanded in Northeast, Ohio.
She has served as the author or editor of 8 books, including the award-winning book, Confronting the Odds: African American Entrepreneurship in Cleveland Ohio, 1st Edition (Kent State University Press) and is currently completing her 8th book, African American Entrepreneurship: Philanthropic Giving, Self Help, and the Struggle for Economic Empowerment (Indiana University Press). This is the first comprehensive book ever written on black business philanthropy in the United States. She has written and received more than 25 grant awards totaling almost $1.5 million dollars.
She has received more than 50 honors, accolades and awards for her academic work, research, teaching, community and civic engagement, and organization of international conferences. She is the President and CEO of Dr. House Enterprises (www.drhouseenterprises.com), a company which sells products that help customers to connect with beauty, elegance, style, and functionality. She is the President and CEO of BHS Creations (www.bhscreations.com)
Mr. Michael Grant currently holds the position as President of United Security Financial Corporation, Inc. located in Salt Lake City, Utah. Grant is the former president of the National Bankers Association where he served for over nine years. He was also board secretary for the MinBanc Scholarship Fund for minority banks. Grant received his juris doctorate degree from Howard University School of Law in 1983.
Recognized today as a leading proponent for Black economic empowerment, Grant has spoken to audiences all over America, in the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and Jamaica. As a corporate consultant for fifteen years, Grant provided leadership development training for some of America’s best known companies including, Marriott and Ritz-Carlton Hotels, McDonalds Corporation, Harrah’s Casinos, the Cracker Barrell Corporation and many others.
The author of two books: Beyond Blame (1994) and Your Marvelous Mind (2000), Grant also served on the Commission for the Future of the Tennessee Judicial System, president of the Nashville Branch of the N.A.A.C.P. and was co-founder of the Greater Nashville Black Chamber of Commerce. Grant has been the recipient of numerous awards and citations which include the following: the Minority Business Development Agency’s Lifetime Achievement Award, Ebony Magazine’s 50 Top Leaders of Black Organizations and Who’s Who in Washington, D.C. Grant presently serves as a founding member of Black Wealth 2020, a coalition of national Black organizations. The overarching goal of Black Wealth 2020 is to increase the collective wealth of Black America by 2020.
Mr. Michael Pugh is President and Chief Executive Officer of Carver Bancorp, the holding company for Carver Federal Savings Bank, a federally chartered savings bank and the nation’s largest publicly traded African and Caribbean-American operated bank, with approximately $600 million in assets and 140 employees.
A banking veteran of more than 25 years, Mr. Pugh has led teams of up to 600 associates in retail, business banking, commercial and residential lending, and call center operations. He has also been a critical leader in bank technology integrations, launched new lines of business, and executed new growth market strategies.
Prior to joining Carver on August 2012, Mr. Pugh worked at Capital One, N.A., as Senior Vice President, Regional Executive and Market President of Eastern Maryland, Delaware, and Washington, D.C. Mr. Pugh was responsible for revenue production, customer service, and bank operations for approximately 75 banking centers and $3 billion in deposits. Also, he led the bank’s community development strategy for 1,200 associates and eight counties.
Before his tenure at Capital One, Mr. Pugh was a Senior Vice President, Retail Banking Executive for Citizens Financial Group, Charter One division. He led retail banking teams in the Michigan and Indiana markets with up to 67 banking centers. Mr. Pugh’s accomplishments included organically growing a new market by $400 million in deposits and leading a team to become the number one Small Business Administration lender in Indiana.
Mr. Pugh is a board member of Carver Bancorp, Inc. (Consumer Compliance and Executive Committees) and Pursuit (Audit, Compensation, Executive, Governance and Nominating, and Loan Committees). He also serves as a board member of several non-profit organizations, including the Society for Financial Education and Professional Development (Board Chair, and Finance and Investment Committee), Community Development Bankers Association (Chair of the Membership Committee), and Madison Square Boys and Girls Club (Board Development and Youth of the Year Committees).
Mr. Pugh worked as a bank teller while earning a Bachelor of Science in Health Administration from Eastern Michigan University and followed the program of M.S. in Financial Management at the University of Maryland Global Campus. Pugh received certifications from the Babson College and The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, Executive Leadership Programs.
International Board of Directors
Mrs. Cynthia Bates is a successful entrepreneur who can be described as a servant-leader. She holds a B.A. degree and an MB.A degree. She is the President, Founder and CEO of the Jewell Center, a multi-purpose center which provides facilities and programming for meetings, weddings, anniversaries, parties, mini-conferences, and other events. It also provides business office space to several entrepreneurs.
She served as the President and CEO of the Madam Walker Theatre Center for several years. Under her leadership, the center underwent an important metamorphosis as she was able to restore it as a major attraction for the city of Indianapolis, where numerous celebrities came to perform. Some of these celebrities included Patty LaBelle, Kirk Whalum, Savion Glover, and Kenny "Babyface" Edmonds. She is a member of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority and a Founding Member of The Links Circle, Indianapolis City Chapter. She is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Indianapolis Jazz Foundation.
Mr. Samuel W. Black is the Director of the African American Program at the Senator John Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He is a former President of the Association of African American Museums (2011-2016, AAAM) and served on the Executive Council and the Advisory Council of the Association for the Study of African American Life & History (ASALH). He is the recipient of the Dr. John E. Fleming Award of the AAAM in 2016, a 2018 graduate of the Jekyll Island Management Institute of the Southeastern Museums Conference (SEMC) where he was the recipient of the Jon Kinard Scholarship offered by the AAAM and Smithsonian Institution National Museum of African American History and Culture, and was recently awarded a 2019 Fulbright Germany seminar placement of the Smithsonian Institution and Leibniz Association.
At the Heinz History Center, Black has curated: “Soul Soldiers: African Americans and the Vietnam Era” that travelled to seven cities and was the recipient of four awards including the American Association for State and Local History Award of Merit and the Pennsylvania Federation of Museums and Cultural Organizations, S.K. Stevens Memorial Award. Other exhibits include, “America’s Best Weekly: A Century of the Pittsburgh Courier” and “From Slavery to Freedom” that received a U.S. Department of Education Underground Railroad Educational and Cultural Program grant, as well as the AASLH Award of Merit (2013), the African Diaspora World Tourism Cultural Exhibit Flame Keeper Award for dedicated service in cultural tourism (2013), and the PA Museums President’s Award and S.K. Stevens Award (2014).
Black is the editor of Soul Soldiers: African Americans and the Vietnam Era (2006) and co-author of Through the Lens of Allen E. Cole: A Photographic History of African Americans in Cleveland, Ohio (2012) Kent State University Press, and editor of The Civil War in Pennsylvania: The African American Experience (2013), the recipient of the AASLH Award of Merit for 2014.
Mr. William Penn House, Jr. is a successful entrepreneur who resides in Coral Springs, Florida. He owns and operates several businesses which focus on the areas of entertainment and real estate ventures in the state of Florida. He is a certified MBE with the state of Florida. He has been in business for more than 20 years and serves the communities of Monroe, Miami Dade, Fort Lauderdale, Broward, and Palm Beach, as well as other states in the United States. He has also provided professional serviees in other countries of the world such as Costa Rica, Japan, the Dominican Republic, and others.
He is the President, Founder and CEO of Penn House Productions, a company which performs various types of entertainment for weddings, birthdays, casinos, universities and colleges, recreational facilities, private and public events. He writes and produces music and has invented various types of equipment to enhance musical productions. He has also enhanced his real estate holdings in various parts of Florida. He is a member of the Chamber of Commerce, the Local Lodge Organization, and other business and civic organizations.
Ms. Adrianna Midamba is a Senior Procurement Analyst with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). She resides in Washington, D.C., our nation’s capital. She is responsible for supply chain management issues with regard to the supply of health care treatments in the global south.
She graduated Cum Laude with honors from Kent State University with a B.A. degree in Political Science and received her M.A. in International Affairs from Howard University with a focus on International Diplomacy, International Development, and International Security. She received a certificate in International Affairs from Georgetown University. She has expertise in project management, program development, grantsmanship, data modeling, data analytics, research, and writing.
She worked previously for Bloomberg, BNA in the area of international business as a Data Analyst and for Global Communities as a Senior Procurement Analyst. She also worked as a Presidency and Cabinet Affairs Associate in the Office of the Honorable President of Kenya.
Dr. La Francis Rodgers-Rose received the B.A. degree from Morgan State University in sociology, anthropology and history; the M.A. from Fisk University, focusing on race and culture; and the Ph.D. from the University of Iowa with a concentration in social psychology, personality development and cultural anthropology. Dr. Rodgers-Rose taught sociology and African American Studies for more than thirty years at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota (1964-1969); Case Western Reserve University (1969-1972); Princeton University (1973-1988); and Drew University in Madison from 1988-1996. She is a founding member and past president of the Association of Black Sociologists (1976). She is past president of the Association of Social Behavioral Scientists (1995); a member of the Association for the Study of Classical African Civilizations and the American Sociological Association. Dr. Rodgers-Rose is a Fulbright Fellow to Africa (1984) and a past Distinguished Sociology Scholar.
She is Founder and CEO of the International Black Women’s Congress (1983), a non-profit, grassroots networking organization, whose mission is to bring forth exemplary models of African womanhood. Over the past thirty-five years, the organization has managed more than $15 million in government and foundation grants in various areas of health, health promotions and economic empowerment. Dr. Rodgers-Rose was honored by the National Organization of Black Elected Legislative Women with their highest award, the Noble/Women International Leadership Award in 2001.
She received the Founder’s Award from the Association of Black Sociologists in 2006. In 2004, she was honored by the governor of New Jersey, the General Assembly and the Cities of Newark, East Orange, Trenton and Camden for community service. Dr. Rodgers-Rose was the 2006-2007 National Woman of the Year for Iota Phi Lambda Sorority. She received the Dr. Muriel Petioni Award from the National Health Disparities Conference, Teachers College, Columbia University in 2007.
Dr. Lutz Schlange is professor of entrepreneurial marketing at the University of Applied Sciences HTW Chur, Switzerland, He lectures and publishes research about corporate responsibility, futures studies, marketing and entrepreneurship, ecological management, and energy economics. His current research interests include entrepreneurial behavior, sustainability entrepreneurship, Corporate Responsibility, organizational learning, and energy transitions. He has done extensive consulting as a member of the Board of The Centre for Futures Research, St. Gallen. He graduated from the University of Cologne, Germany, HEC Paris and ESADE Business School. He received his Ph.D. in economics and business administration from the University of St. Gallen.
Dr. Maurice Soremekun received his Master of Science degree in Biochemistry from the University of Western Ontario in London, Canada and his M.D. degree from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. He is currently the President and CEO of Women’s Health Care, Inc. in Cleveland, Ohio, where he specializes in providing Gynecological and Obstetrics care to women of all ages. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine in London, England, a Fellow of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons. He is a member of the Ohio State Medical Association Academy of Medicine of Cleveland, a member of the World Medical Association, and a Member of the North American Society of Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology. He has served as the Past President of the Cleveland Medical Association and Past President of the Cleveland Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
Mr. Jihad R. Taylor resides in Indianapolis, Indiana and is the proud Founder and CEO of Cultrahub and has aspired to pioneer a new avenue for all consumers and entrepreneurs to Learn, Sell, and Shop. His vison and unique feature of grouping products by cultural themes distinguishes the Company in the online marketplace from any other e-commerce platform available today. Jihad has studied Business management, Branding, entrepreneurship and cultural studies, all while attaining a Post-Graduate Diploma from MIT/Columbia University for Digital Business, (B.A.), and two associate degrees from Indiana university Purdue University of Indianapolis.
He was inducted into the Center for Global entrepreneurship and Sustainable Development at IUPUI and was honored by the IUPUI Black Faculty & Staff Council and the Neal-Marshall Alumni Club Indianapolis Chapter. Jihad attends the MIT Platform strategy summit almost every year and builds connections with experts of the model. He has also earned a verified certification from Boston University’s Questrom School of Business for Platform Strategies for Business, and a certification from MIT Sloan School of Management/Emeritus Institute of Management for Digital Transformation: Platform Strategies for Success.
Dr. Juliet E. K. Walker is a professor of history at the University of Texas at Austin, where she is also the founding director of the Center of Black Business History, Entrepreneurship, and Technology. Her scholarship has provided the foundation for recognizing black business history as a subfield in African American history.
She is author of the first comprehensive book on black business history, The History of Black Business in America: Capitalism, Race, Entrepreneurship (1998). In 2009, the first half of the book was republished with a new chapter, "They Never Had a Chance: Black Business in the Crossfires of the American Civil War, 1861-1865." Her Free Frank: A Black Pioneer on the Antebellum Frontier (1983) details entrepreneurial activities of slave-born Frank (1777–1854), who purchased sixteen family members from slavery using profits from slave and free enterprises, and who was the first African American to legally plat a town in 1836. Walker's research enabled the town site, New Philadelphia, Illinois, to be named a National Historic Landmark. Free Frank was Walker’s great great grandfather.
The Smithsonian Museum of American History has a permanent exhibit on Free Frank. She is also the editor of the Encyclopedia of African American Business History (1999) and the author of some ninety articles and scholarly essays. Walker has held a senior Fulbright fellowship in South Africa and a Princeton Davis International Center fellowship, as well as fellowships from the Rockefeller Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Humanities at Harvard University's W.E.B. DuBois Research Institute.
She has won twelve publication awards and three lifetime achievement awards: the Carter G. Woodson Scholar's Medallion from the Association for the Study of African American Life and History; the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis Madame C.J. Walker Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Business History Conference Lifetime Achievement Award. She is currently completing a book, "Oprah Winfrey: An American Entrepreneur.
His Royal Majesty (HRM), Oba (King) Michael Adedotun Aremu Gbadebo is the Alake and Paramount Ruler of Egbaland and the Okukenu IV. Oba Gbadebo was born in Ake, Abeokuta (Nigeria). He was appointed to serve as the 30th Alake and the 10th to reign in Abeokuta, Nigeria on September 8, 2005. As the Paramount Ruler of Egbaland, some of his goals are to protect the traditions and dignity of the institution of the Obaship and the culture of the people of Egbaland; to support economic development efforts in Ogun State; and to enhance the well-being of the Egba people.
He attended the University of Ibadan where he received his Bachelor of Arts degree with Honors. He also received the Post-Graduate Diploma in the area of education from Ibadan University and he also attended the Command and Staff College in Jaji, where he also achieved academic success. He served for sixteen years in the Nigerian Army in a number of different capacities. He was commissioned as a Full Lieutenant. He is the recipient of the National Service Medal, the Defense Service Medal and the Forces Service Star.
He is a very successful entrepreneur, having created several business enterprises ,including serving as the Chairman and Chief Executive of DOT Holdings Ltd.; the Chairman of Adegal Construction Company, Ltd; the Chairman of the First Dolphin Travels and Tours, Ltd.; the Director of the Ocean and Oil Services Ltd; and as Chairman of the Global Haulage Resources, Ltd.
Mr. Michael Owiredu is an international student at Tougaloo College from Ghana who studies Economics with an emphasis in Accounting and a minor in Pre-Law. He aspires to be a Business Strategist, Entrepreneur and an Attorney in the future. He has assisted his professors to conduct couple of researches which focused on: slave trade and “What Black African International Students Have to Know about Being Black in the U.S” in his home institution and at Brown University.
He is selected in his school amongst a pool of great applicants, to do a research in Ghana this upcoming spring break about, “How Child Labor and Child Trafficking Affect the Economic Development of Ghana.” A research thesis he is developing with one of his professors/advisor at Tougaloo College. He was also currently chosen to do a year-long research with one of the renowned professors in Tougaloo College, Dr. Kamal Ahmed Abdelrahman, on Modern Day Slavery –which started this fall.
Larry Christopher Bates is a telecommunications and cyber-security specialist. He received a B.S. in Psychology from Indiana University in 2007 and a M.S. in Telecommunications in 2009 with a focus in immersive mediated environments. During the first M.S. he worked on creating digital algorithms that generated music with human interaction.
He received his M.S. in Cyber-Security for enterprise scale organizations in July, 2016 from Colorado Technical University. He will receive his doctorate in Cybersecurity and Information Integrity from CTU in 2022.
Currently he is Chief Security Officer/President for Bitland Global. The project focuses on utilizing blockchain technology to register land titles and record new plots of unregistered land with the larger goal of settling land disputes and unlocking land capital in developing countries.
With the aim to help bring transparency to governments and bring development to disenfranchised areas around the world, Chris wants to bridge the gap between technology and the people, in order to realize the economy of the future.
Dr. Stephanie Clintonia Boddie joined the Baylor University faculty in 2017 as an assistant professor of church and community ministries with affiliations at the Diana R. Garland School of Social Work, the George W. Truett Theological Seminary and the School of Education. Boddie is also a Senior Fox Leadership International Alumni Research and Service Fellow and a Program for Research on Religion & Urban Civil Society Senior Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania as well as a Faculty Associate at the Washington University’s Center for Social Development.
She is also a co- convener of the Transatlantic Roundtable on Religion and Race. As the 2015-2016 post-doctoral fellow at Carnegie Mellon University’s Center for Africananamerican Urban Studies & the Economy (CAUSE), Boddie began her project Unfinished Business: Black Religion & the Entrepreneurial Spirit. This work builds upon her research on Black congregations, social services, and asset building to examine entrepreneurial approaches used to address social challenges.
This research has positioned her to provide consultation services for faith leaders on entrepreneurial projects like Oasis Foods and CLLCTIVLY. Boddie received her doctorate in social welfare and master’s in social work from the University of Pennsylvania and her bachelor’s degree in natural science from Johns Hopkins University.
Ms. Maqueba Massey is a doctoral candidate soon to be obtaining her Ph.D. in Business Management and Accounting. Her background largely consists of Accounting and Internal Audit. Due to MaQueba’s expertise in finances, she grew her own company, Financial IQ, LLC, that focuses on assisting individuals to become financially independent by measuring their financial IQ.
Her research interests include blockchain technology and how it impacts various industries, jobs, environments, pandemics, finances, and individuals. MaQueba’s previous research has been built on entrepreneurship and its relationship to the internet in the form of social media and ads. Outside of her passion for research she enjoys building her relationship with God, solo traveling, and teaching financial literacy.