DC Small Business Summit and Expo: “POWERUP for Success”

DC Small Business Summit and Expo “POWERUP for Success”

Registration opens at 7:30 AM


Program Attendee – Complimentary


  • Entrance to Makers Market, networking opportunities and morning program
  • Continental Breakfast
  • Attendance at featured workshops throughout the day


Awards Luncheon Attendee – $125 (Members) and $175 (Non-Members)


  • All of the above, plus 1 ticket to the Small Business Awards Luncheon with plated lunch (ticket is non-transferable)

Digital Program Booklet

Program Agenda

Registration Opens

7:30 am

Doors Open

7:45 am

Speed Networking - Open All Day

8:00 am

Makers Market & Business Networking - Open All Day

8:00 am

Opening Reception

8:45 am – 9:30 am

General Session - AI/ Technology / Fintech

10:00 am – 11:00 am

Sybongile Cook is a member of the Mayor’s Financial Literacy Council and has held multiple roles within the Executive Office of the Mayor of the District of Columbia since 2009. She started as Program Manager expanding the framework of the District’s Bank on DC programs.

With more than two decades of experience, Bill is a true jack of all trades when it comes to technology.

He has held a variety of roles ranging from technical support to growing a wireless Internet Service Provider from a single transmission site to a multi-site network where he helped provide service to underserved communities, and has helped deploy several containerized data centers.

Following a stint helping credit unions manage their disaster recovery efforts, Bill joined Comcast as a sales engineer. Presently, he is focused on helping businesses of all sizes find solutions to help their businesses grow safely and securely.

Helen Xing is an unstoppable force at the intersection of education, technology, and social impact. With expertise in business development, strategic alliances, and partner sales, she propels companies towards their revenue targets. Currently, she leads Data and AI Partner GTM at AWS for Americas. Helen started her journey at Merck, followed by 15-year tenure at Oracle, culminating as Senior Director of Partner Solutions in NA Sales. At Tableau, she pioneered the Government & Education partner ecosystem. Beyond business, Helen is at the forefront of Data for Good, fostering public-private partnerships to support veterans, champion diversity, equity, inclusion, and social welfare. Helen serves as the Chairwoman of the board of Nelly Berman Classical Musical Institute, and holds an MBA degree from the Wharton School at University of Pennsylvania.

Yohannes is an influential and forward-thinking business executive, boasting over 15 years of spearheading successful projects across a variety of sectors. He’s the entrepreneurial force behind several thriving startups and has a robust background in IT and Telecom. As the founder and CEO of Gratitude Systems, Yohannes is at the forefront of delivering cutting-edge technology to clients. He also plays a crucial role as the Vice President of Redfox Solutions Group, which specializes in datacenter and cloud solutions across Africa. Before ascending to these pivotal positions, he contributed his expertise to notable companies such as AT&T and USCellular in various leadership and technical capacities.

Educationally, Yohannes is well-qualified, holding an M.S. in Electrical Engineering from Michigan Technological University and another M.S. in Computer Science from Georgia Technological University specializing in Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence, alongside a B.S. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Addis Ababa University. His credentials are further bolstered by an AWS Certified Cloud Architect certification. Yohannes is also a published author, with two IEEE journal papers and several whitepapers to his name.

Outside the professional realm, Yohannes is passionate about staying active, exploring new places, and savoring great meals. His interests extend beyond entrepreneurship and technology to include finance, as well as keeping abreast of global politics and economic trends.

Mr. Schwartz currently holds the position of Chief Information & Technology Officer at Events DC. In this capacity, he spearheads the strategic development and implementation of the organization’s technological roadmap, meticulously safeguarding the integrity and security of our infrastructure while propelling innovation to elevate the user experience.

Previously, Mr. Schwartz served as a senior advisor to the Secretary of Commerce and assumed the role of acting Chief Information Officer within her office. Noteworthy contributions include his leadership in navigating the challenges posed by the pandemic within the realm of Travel and Tourism, particularly in supporting the recovery efforts of the cruise and airline industries. Prior to his tenure in these positions, Mr. Schwartz held various leadership roles at the US Census Bureau, including overseeing the pivotal 2020 Census Trust & Safety Team.

In addition to his professional accomplishments, Mr. Schwartz fulfills the role of a fully sworn reserve police officer for the Metropolitan Police Department in Washington, DC.

Tamara is the Director of Innovation at DISB where she is leading the new Office of Innovation. Tamara is leading efforts to strengthen the Fintech ecosystem in the District by increasing the number of social impact driven FinTech companies that offer products and services that promote financial inclusion and equitable economic growth development in the District.

Tamara is a change agent with over 15 years of experience working in the social impact sector. Prior to joining DISB, Tamara was the Senior Director of Partnerships at a tech for good company, Ms. Zeidan served as a U.S. State Department Delegate in Morocco, supporting/strengthening women-led startups in Casablanca, prior to that she was the Vice President of Development at C5’s Peace Tech Accelerator in partnership with the U.S. Institute of Peace, an initiative to promote peace through technology. She also worked at the Malala Fund, the Thurgood Marshall College Fund and the United Nations Reliefs and Works Agency (UNRWA). Through her work, Tamara is committed to making a difference in the world. She is currently based in Washington D.C. Ward 1.



Track - New and Emerging Business

Tiffany Crowe’s confirmation as the permanent Director of the Department of Licensing and Consumer Protection (DLCP) was met with resounding approval by The Council of the Committee on Public Works and Operations on November 7, 2023. Her journey in this role commenced when Mayor Muriel Bowser first appointed her as the Acting Director on September 7, 2023.

Director Crowe is a long-serving public administrator with over a decade of leadership experience in operations, human resources, and systems. From 2012 to 2019, she served as Senior Advisor and Counsel to the Associate Director of Supervision, Enforcement, and Fair Lending at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. In this role, she provided guidance to the Associate Director and senior staff on operational, legal, and strategic matters.

Director Crowe also worked as a Senior Advisor in the Office of Market Intelligence at the Securities and Exchange Commission. From 2019 to 2021, Director Crowe served as the Chief Operating Officer and Chief Administrative Officer of the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs where she helped build the agency’s data and performance team, focusing on recurrent and on-demand reporting and transparent performance management and established the agency’s Consumer Protection Unit. Director Crowe recently served as an Associate Chief Technology Officer at OCTO, where her team focused on the District’s critical enterprise applications, including procurement, human resources, messaging, and IT service request platforms.

Carl Brown is the State/Executive Director of the District of Columbia Small Business Development Center (DCSBDC) on the prestigious campus of Howard University. He has a wealth of small business development knowledge with over 25 years of experience. His subject matter expertise is in the following areas: human resources, sales, marketing, procurement, and government contracting. Additionally, he is the host of the popular radio talk show “The Small Business Report” airing on Sirius XM Channel 141 every Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. 

Carl has held executive positions at Verizon, Pepsi-Cola, and Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority. His public sector experience includes Federal, state, and local government where he was a warranted contract officer. Carl has been a guest on numerous radio shows and interviewed by national media outlets including Wall Street Journal, MSNBC.com, local outlets such as the Washington Informer and Afro-American newspapers and magazines. He has appeared on the History Channel, featured on the “Fast History Of;” “Food that built America,” and “Toys that built America.” He holds a BA from Howard University and an MGA from University of Maryland University College. Carl is a Certified Contract Compliance Administrator and a Sherpa Executive Coach.

Garry Johnson III is an award winning entrepreneur, nationally recognized ecosystem builder, author, and educator working to build a more inclusive and equitable innovation economy. He’s been recognized as a Delaware Business Times 40 Under 40 honoree, HBCU.vc & Hen Hatch Pitch Competition Winner, StartupAfrica Youth Entrepreneur of the Year, Siegfried Award Recipient, in addition to receiving many other accolades. Garry serves as Founder & Managing Partner at Bison Venture Partners, a firm on a mission to empower a new generation of small business owners and angel investors.

Keith Howard is an experienced business and procurement professional with 20 years of experience and expertise. Keith joined the DC Department of Small and Local Business Development in 2019 as a Certification Specialist, where he learned the Certified Business Enterprise law and spend requirements. The education gathered in Certification and his experience as a former small business owner propelled Keith to the Procurement Technical Assistance Center.

The Capital Region Minority Supplier Development Council Operator—The Virginia MBDA Business Center Sharon R. Pinder is the President and Chief Executive Officer at the Capital Region Minority Supplier Development Council (CRMSDC), a non-profit organization with a compelling mission: bridging corporations and government agencies with highly competitive Minority Business Enterprises. Widely recognized as a luminary in the realm of entrepreneurial diversity and inclusion, Pinder has revolutionized the landscape for minority and women-owned businesses. Her leadership has not only helped with leveling the playing field but has substantially expanded opportunities for these enterprises to thrive.

Under her guidance, CRMSDC diligently represents the interests of over 700 businesses in the Maryland/DC and Northern Virginia region, boasting a national outreach of 15,000 enterprises. These local companies collectively generate an impressive $6.7 billion in annual revenue, have generated over 57,000 jobs, and serve as vital suppliers to numerous top-tier corporations and public entities. Pinder’s tenure has been marked by the implementation of several groundbreaking programs that have significantly elevated services for corporate members and MBE suppliers. Pinder also spearheads the Virginia MBDA Business Center on behalf of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency Center (MBDA). Over the last seven years, her exceptional leadership has garnered over $10 million in grant awards, enabling CRMSDC to operate multiple MBDA business centers and execute pivotal program initiatives.

In the last five years, CRMSDC has consistently been acknowledged by the Washington Business Journal as one of the Top 25 Largest Business Advocacy Groups in the Greater Washington, DC region. In 2023, CRMSDC achieved a remarkable rank of #7, a testament to Pinder’s transformative leadership. Notably, Sharon R. Pinder made history as the first appointed Cabinet Secretary of the Governor’s Office of Minority Affairs in Maryland. Her visionary approach catalyzed Maryland’s minority and small business reform movement, resulting in a billion-dollar increase in payments awarded to women and minority-owned businesses during her initial three-year tenure. She also played a pivotal role in the creation of Maryland’s pioneering Small Business Reserve Program, the first state-level set-aside initiative for small businesses—a model subsequently adopted by other states.

Beyond her accomplishments in diversity and inclusion, Pinder boasts a rich career spanning nearly twenty years in the information technology sector. She has held key positions at organizations such as USF&G (now Travelers Insurance), Equitable Trust Bank (now Bank of America), and General Electric Information Systems. Notably, her leadership was instrumental in guiding General Electric onto the Internet. Pinder holds an M.S. in Technology Management from the University of Maryland University College (now UMGC), where she was honored as the 2004 Alumna of the Year. Furthermore, in recognition of her profound contributions, the University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES) established the Sharon R. Pinder Entrepreneurial Scholarship in her honor in 2014.

Track - Established and in Growth

Ronnette Meyers is President and CEO of JLAN Solutions, a leading provider of management, training, and information technology services to Federal, state, and local government.

After an extensive career as a Federal employee, Ms. Meyers helped found a small, woman-owned government contractor, serving as Senior Vice President for Corporate Services. She was an integral part of the company’s development into an award-winning business with over $34 million in annual revenues.

In 2010, having honed her executive management and leadership skills, Ms. Meyers took the leap and founded her own firm, JLAN Solutions, LLC. JLAN now serves numerous Federal and DC government agencies. Ms. Meyers’ leadership and stellar reputation for integrity and quality service have earned her numerous accolades, including the 2023 Comcast Rise Award Recipient, the Biden-Harris Presidential Lifetime Achievement Award, the Washington Business Journal Minority Business Leader Award, DC Chamber of Commerce Women in Business Champion of the Year, DC Department of Small and Local Business Certified Business Enterprise of the Year and acceptance into the highly selective Goldman Sachs 10k Small Business program.

Among her philanthropic activities, she serves on the board of the DC Chamber of Commerce, Dreaming Out Loud Foundation, and Bishop McNamara High School and she supports Project Giveback, Luke’s Wings, E.L. Haynes Public Charter School, and many other charitable organizations and endeavors.

Just as she was inspired when growing up on the grounds of the Ramstein United States Air Force Base in Germany, Ronnette Meyers was exposed at an early age to the importance of public service. It is clear that the lessons she learned there have inspired her life and her career trajectory, as she has made it her mission to give back to her country and her community

Kelvin D. Jeter, Jr.. is President and CEO of Krendall Orren Business Solutions, Inc., where he has provided the company with its strategic vision for execution and growth, since founding the organization in 2007. Kelvin is a seasoned professional with over 25 years of experience in Federal and commercial Contracts & Procurement and in developing business process improvements in infrastructure and reporting through process-audits & value-mapping. Kelvin takes great pride in leading Krendall Orren Business Solutions in providing contacts, procurement, training and strategic management support to Federal agencies and organizations ranging in size from very small businesses to Fortune 50 companies, always working to push beyond conceptual problem solving to real world application, action and success. Kelvin completed his undergraduate studies at James Madison University and has both a MS in Management and an MBA from the University of Maryland.

Note well, I am not the Lender Relations Specialist and Veteran Business Development Officer. I am a Lender Relations Specialist and Veteran Business Development Officer. There are people like me in every district office.

Chef Jeff was raised in Takoma Park, MD, and attended Blair High School. He began cooking at the age of 8 and by 17 he worked at McDonald’s with his mother and her siblings where they operated eight Washington, DC area locations. He also worked at his family’s Caribbean restaurant where he received an introduction to becoming a restaurateur. These early hospitality experiences with family contributed to his love for cooking, people, and hard work.

After high school, Chef Jeff earned his Associate’s Degree in Business Management. While in college, he wrote his first business plan for a Caribbean and Southern cuisine restaurant—a plan that won first place in a competition and a $10,000 grant to help further his dream.

His next stop was Crescent City and after a two-year stay in New Orleans, LA with his great grandfather, where Chef Jeff became well-versed in the heritage, culture, and style of Louisiana’s Creole and Cajun cuisine.

He committed to launching a restaurant in Washington, DC to honor his family’s roots.​ In 2012, that dream became a reality when he opened Po Boy Jim. He furthered this vision in 2020 by launching Creole on 14th and then again in 2021 by launching Suga & Spice.

Most recently, Chef Jeff was appointed to the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington Board of Directors, and his restaurants are now popular DC staples.

Aaron Fenwick serves the Department of Insurance, Securities, & Banking as the SSBCI Program Administrator for the District of Columbia’s Small Business Capital Access Program also known as DC BizCAP. In this role, Mr. Fenwick oversees the DC BizCAP program that assists entrepreneurs and small business owners obtain the funding needed to start, grow, and expand through partnerships with commercial lending institutions.  Aaron leverages more than 20 years of experience in finance and program management to provide greater financial access to capital and reduce specific barriers which prevent full, equal, and fair participation in the economy for the socially and economically disadvantaged. 

Previously, Aaron served as the Chairman of the Board for the Community Foundation of Southern Maryland which manages a multimillion-dollar fund to promote the philanthropic interest of its local community.  He served on the executive board of the Westlake Business Association advocating for local businesses in Waldorf, MD and worked with the Business Retention and Expansion Task Force in which he helped develop a program founded by the Charles County Economic Development Department to build a positive business environment for sustainable growth. 

Melissa Resil joined the District of Columbia’s Department of Small and Local Business Development (DSLBD) in 2011 as the Business Certification Manager for the Certified Business Enterprise (CBE) program. She has oversight and management of all requests submitted to her division related to the CBE program. The work of her division directly impacts a business’ ability to participate in the District’s small business set-aside programs and the ability of ninety District agencies to meet their spending goal with local businesses. In her role, she manages an inventory of over 2000 active certified businesses. Recently, her team’s work directly contributed to the District’s record-breaking success in spending over $1.2 billion with CBEs.

Prior to working with DSLBD, Ms. Resil served as a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Compliance Officer for the District’s Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning & Economic Development (DMPED). While with DMPED, she applied her compliance expertise in federal regulations and laws governing the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development funding sources for housing and economic development projects throughout the District.

Ms. Resil received a Certificate in Strategic Project Management from the George Washington University and is a Certified Public Manager in the District of Columbia.  She is a graduate of Wheaton College with a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations and Hispanic Studies. She also studied at the Universidad De Cordoba in Córdoba, Spain. Though not a D.C. native, she has resided in the Congress Heights neighborhood, located in Ward 8, for the past 19 years and is an active member of the Washington, DC Chapter (Gamma Chapter) of the national business and professional women’s organization, Iota Phi Lambda Sorority Incorporated.

Track - Women in Business

As President and CEO of Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP), Angela Dingle leads a national nonpartisan organization advocating on behalf of women entrepreneurs, strengthening their impact on our nation’s public policy, creating economic opportunities, and forging alliances with other business organizations. Serving as the voice for the over 14 million women owned companies in the U.S., WIPP works with lawmakers to impact and influence policy that provides economic equity, procurement inclusion and access to the global marketplace. Prior to serving in this role, Angela founded Ex Nihilo Management, an award winning technology and management consultancy that provides invaluable guidance to businesses seeking to enter or expand in the government marketplace. Her commitment to client success earned her a reputation as a trusted advisor and strategic partner. Angela is a sought-after speaker and thought leader, sharing her insights and expertise at conferences and events focused on women in business and government contracting. She is also a published author, with articles and publications that provide valuable leadership guidance. Angela holds a MS in Management Information Systems from Bowie State University, a BS in Computer Science from DeVry University, is Certified in the Governance of Enterprise Information Technology (CGEIT), a Certified Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) Practitioner, and a Certified Management Consultant (CMC). Angela is a member of ISACA and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

As Chief Operating Officer of WBEC Metro NY and Greater DMV, Leandra Joseph directs and oversees the administration and operations fostering a sense of teamwork and collaboration in the effort to increase business opportunities for Women’s Business Enterprises (WBEs).
Working effectively in a fast-paced, multi-tasking environment, Leandra helps keep projects on track, organize and follow-up on action items, manages information flow and oversees the organization IT infrastructure. Leandra is the recording secretary for board meetings and all WBEC Metro NY and Greater DMV board communications.

Originally from the Commonwealth of Dominica, Leandra has a BS in Mathematics from SUNY Plattsburgh and a BS in Electrical Engineering Technology from DeVry University. Before joining WBEC Metro NY and Greater DMV, Leandra helped raise awareness about the need for medical insurance to cover wigs for medically related hair loss.

Ms. Lanta Evans-Motte is an entrepreneur with more than 3 decades of professional experience working with for-profit, non-profit, and faith-based organizations. Ms. Evans-Motte began her financial advisory practice in 2005 to provide investment management, retirement planning, longevity & risk management products & services for professionals and businesses. For more than three decades, she has excelled in industries and professions with historically low participation of women & people of color (technology, financial services & investments). Ms. Evans-Motte has worked with Fortune 500 corporations, including Verizon/Bell Atlantic, Hewlett Packard, 3Com Corporation, Morgan Stanley, and Raymond James. She has worked as a Financial Analyst, Financial Operations Manager, Supply Chain Consultant, E-Commerce Consultant, Investment Executive, Financial Advisor, & Financial Planner. She was a business consultant for the CMBD-Prince Georges Community College. Business Capability Summary: • We provide personalized investment management; retirement & tax planning; legacy & estate planning; & insurance and asset protection products and services; and advice regarding the creation of lifetime income streams. • We also provide customized advice regarding employee benefits, including TSP, 401(k), 403b, SEP-IRA, executive compensation, and stock options. • Advanced client strategies may include municipal bonds, tax-diversified portfolio planning, securitiesbased lines of credit; donor advised funds and appreciated stock for charitable giving. • Investment Advisory Services offered through Raymond James Financial Services Advisors, Inc. Ms. Evans-Motte has a B.S. in Accounting and an M.B.A. in Finance/Information Systems from the University of Maryland. She is a Registered Financial Consultant®, Retirement Income Certified Professional®, and earned a Certificate in Personal Financial Planning®.

Marisela Rodela is the Program Director for the Enterprising Women of Color DMV Business Center (EWOC) at the Washington Area Community Investment Fund (Wacif). The EWOC center fosters and supports a small business ecosystem for women of color in the DMV through robust business services that are dedicated to supporting the growth and resiliency of our clients. This Center is powered by the Wacif, which has served women entrepreneurs of color since 1987, and is made possible through a partnership with the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA).

Marisela is a passionate and experienced community and program specialist with a demonstrated history of working in public health, the food & beverage industry, and the DC local small business community. Throughout her career and as a business owner for over a decade, she has played a central role in facilitating strategic and organizational development and systems development and implementation for both for- and non-profit organizations. As a longtime resident of Washington, DC, Marisela is proud to have played key leadership roles in DC Brau Brewing (2009 – 2022) and the District of Columbia’s Brewers Guild (2012 – 2021); both organizations contribute immeasurably to the sustainability and growth of DC’s local economy and community. She currently sits on the boards of the Heurich House Museum, Craft x EDU, SMYAL’s Fall Brunch Coordinating Committee, and the Bladensburg Road Main Street Advisory Committee.

Prior to her work in DC’s local business community, Marisela served as a public health community organizer, public policy analyst and advocate, and manager of programs focusing on health behavior and education. She worked with various organizations, both governmental and community-based, to develop, implement, and sustain partnerships and programs in the areas of adolescent sexual and reproductive health, mental health wellness, and violence prevention. She is also an experienced and trained meeting facilitator.

Marisela earned both a Master of Social Work degree and a Master of Public Health degree from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. She also received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Psychology and Philosophy from Trinity University located in Northeast Washington, DC.

Marisela lives in Ward 5 with her husband, dog, and cats. In her personal time, she regularly volunteers in the community, supports and shops at local DMV-based businesses, is a dedicated yoga practitioner, and loves traveling and exploring local food & beverage ecosystems.

Cary Hatch is a recognized business and thought-leader, who bought and built a successful full-service advertising and marketing communications firm and impactfully served top-tier domestic and international companies for 40 years. Cary recently sold her agency, MDB Communications. She will continue her work as a brand advocate and share her experience and expertise as senior counsel, management consultant and corporate board member.

Her broad-based client experience includes notable brands: National Geographic, Fannie Mae, DC Lottery, Destination DC, Roy Rogers Restaurants, Chevy Chase Trust, Sprint and many others.

Cary has been recognized on the POWER 100, the Washington Business Journal’s list of the most influential business leaders, for 5 years. She currently serves as the Chair for the Mid-Atlantic Board of Governors for the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4A’s) and serves on the 4A’s National Government Relations Committee. Cary was appointed to the National Advertising Review Board and is an emeritus board member for the $2B University System of Maryland Foundation. She currently serves on the boards of the Washington Housing Conservancy, the Whitman Walker Foundation and the Greater Washington Board of Trade.

Cary has completed the Deloitte Board Ready Program. A native Washingtonian, Cary is also a member of the Federal City Council, the Economic Club of Washington DC and Leadership Greater Washington.

She is a noted lecturer at Johns Hopkins, Georgetown University, George Washington University and the University of Maryland; and is a regular on TV and radio outlets commenting on branding, advertising, and marketing communications.

Cary Hatch joined MDB as an account executive. After her promotion into a management position and growing the business for several years, she purchased the company at the age of 30. Subsequently, MDB was recognized as an Inc. 500 company.

AGOA Advisor and Owner of Fresh Food Factory a locally grown, healthy ethnic eatery. MBA in Business Management.

Amanda Stephenson serves the DMV, addressing disparities in health, food, housing, and income. She was a community health innovator in residence at Sibley Memorial Hospital during the 2nd cohort of Ward Infinity. Also, she was an innovator spotlighted at the 2019 Chesapeake Bay Food Summit, and even won Catholic University’s grand prize for her vision of developing a D.C.-focused response to the open IDEO/Rockefeller Foundation Food System Challenge. She owns The Fresh Food Factory Market, which was featured on CNN and CNBC, and was highlighted by the former secretary of the US Dept of Labor, Mr Walsh. 

The Fresh Food Factory Market is a retail food chain solution that disrupts food insecurities and creates equitable access and opportunities for underserved residents to have access to healthy and ethnic foods as medicine and provides wellness education to ensure that everyone can make informed decisions about their diet and overall health. Since opening in 2019, through her Venture, The Fresh Food Factory Market, Amanda has conducted 389 food service workforce and entrepreneurship training opportunities for D.C. residents, she has certified 79 new food managers, and she has provided more than 13K DC residents with free, healthy foods. Now expanding her footprint in multiple locations in DC, she live by the motto, “ no longer residents east of the Anacostia River have to leave their communities seeking food or economic refuge!”

Track - Non Profit and Faith-Based

Claude Johnson is an award-winning author, historian, and founder of the Black Fives Foundation, a 501(c)3 public charity whose mission is to research, preserve, showcase, teach, and honor the pre-NBA history of African-American basketball teams. 

Claude’s narrative nonfiction book, “The Black Fives: The Epic Story of Basketball’s Forgotten Era” (Abrams Press, 2022) won an MAAH Stone Book Award “Finalist” prize in recognition of exceptional new literary work in the field of African-American history and culture.

An award-winning and accomplished leader, Tim Kime is passionate about transforming people, organizations and communities.   He is the President of Kime Leadership Associates offering executive coaching, meeting facilitation, motivational speaking, and team-building for organizations of all sizes.  He is a certified Expert Professional Life Coach.  Among his clients are The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida, Children’s National Medical Center, The George Washington University, Goodwill of Greater Washington and National Cooperative Bank. 

Tim joined forces in 2021 with Jeff Franco, CEO of Camino Consulting Group, to launch the Transformation Leadership Institute (TLI).  This cohort group program supports nonprofit leaders with coaching, mentoring and fostering connections.

Tim is the former President & CEO of Leadership Greater Washington, serving in this role for nearly 15 years.  He is a member of the LGW Class of ’98. He is also the former President & CEO of the Washington Regional Alcohol Program, a nationally recognized and model drunk driving prevention coalition most well-known for its SoberRide program, a free cab service for would-be drunk drivTim is a former Board of Trustees’ President at his church, Unity of Washington, DC and is a previous Board of Directors’ Chair for the Center for Nonprofit Advancement.  He has served on the board of Life Pieces to Masterpieces and Joe’s Movement Emporium.  Tim is a graduate of Bowling Green State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Communications.  A native of Toledo, OH, he resides in Washington, DC’s Brookland neighborhood.

Stephanie Campbell is a highly accomplished professional with six years of valuable experience in the government and private sector. She currently serves as the Executive Director for the Congress Heights Community Training and Development Corp. Through her experiences, she pursued her passion for public service and honed her skills in various aspects of workforce development and economic development. Throughout her career, Stephanie has been actively engaged in shaping policies and programs that promote economic growth, job creation, and sustainable development. Her expertise lies in identifying and addressing the needs of both individuals and communities, with a focus on empowering individuals through employment opportunities and fostering economic vitality. Stephanie’s experience has provided her with a deep understanding of the intricacies of public administration and the ability to navigate complex systems to achieve impactful outcome

Track - Youth and Young Entrepreneurs

Johnny Bailey is CEO of Bailey Media Group and Founder of ShineHard Network. He serves as a big tech consultant, business educator, and executive leadership coach for small businesses, non-profit orgs, and corporations. He’s moderated hundreds of conversations featuring business leaders and trail blazers. His companies BMG and SHN have supported clients like Google, Capital One, Afto Tech, US Black Chambers, SBA, SBDC, ADA, DC Public Schools, DC Public Library, DC Mayor’s Office, WACIF, The Gathering Spot, and Thursday Network. Johnny has been featured in Forbes, Yahoo! Finance, Fast Company and Black Enterprise for his work accelerating the Black economy.

Gabrielle (Gabby) Loftin is DC’s youngest celebrity fashion designer and author. Gabby is creative beyond her years. She is a fashion designer, creator of animated shorts, digital artist, artist, rug maker, author, athlete, actress and 4.0 scholar.

At the age of two, Gabby started making her own lip gloss and fingernail polish. At three years old, she started sewing at her mother’s summer camp to teach kids Science, Technology, Reading, Art, and Math (STREAM) through Sewing. She fell in love with it; since then, she has been featured around the country and internationally. She was first featured in DC fashion week at 5 years old, making her the youngest designer to ever be featured in any major fashion week. By 6 years old, she had been featured in NYFW, LAFW, Atlantic City Fashion week, and invited to be featured in Dubai, London, Hawaii, and Milan fashion weeks. She has also been featured on Fox 5 DC, Good Morning Washington DC, H st festival, and numerous publications and fashion weeks.

She uses her sewing and creativity to give back to her community and help the homeless. Through her fashion and published 9-book-series book, “Abby YoYo”, she is inspiring other kids to be creative. Gabby wants everyone that reads her books, participates in Gather With Gabby events, or shops Gabby’s World Designs to know its ok for them to say, I am “Creatively Me.”

Mohamed Jalloh, at the heart of Jaliyaa Coffee and the Jaliyaa Project, champions the timeless art of storytelling to build bridges between diverse cultures. His approach elevates storytelling as the essence of his work, transcending the mere act of serving coffee or implementing projects. Through Jaliyaa, Mohamed curates a mosaic of narratives that resonate with people from Washington DC, across Africa, and within academic circles like Howard University.

The Jaliyaa Project amplifies this mission by weaving together stories that educate and connect individuals, regardless of their background. Whether it’s engaging with the youth, collaborating with university students, or community work in Africa, Mohamed’s initiatives are rooted in the belief that stories are the universal language that can unite us all.

In every cup of coffee and each project under the Jaliyaa banner, Mohamed is not just sharing tales; he’s nurturing a global community bound by the shared experience of humanity’s rich tapestry of life stories.

Tacharna Crump is a dynamic entrepreneur, community advocate, and artist renowned for her innovative approaches to fostering economic sustainability in marginalized communities. With a passion deeply rooted in empowering the youth, Tacharna has been instrumental in bridging the gap between young individuals and the resources they need to thrive economically. Her entrepreneurial journey began at the tender age of 15, laying the foundation for over a decade of impactful work as both a business owner and consultant.

In 2015, Tacharna founded the Youth Entrepreneur Institute (YEI), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to combating poverty through art and innovation. YEI reflects her visionary commitment to creating platforms where young people can harness their talents and become pivotal contributors to their communities. Prior to YEI, she established an art co-op, providing aspiring young artists with free access to essential garment equipment and supplies, further showcasing her dedication to nurturing talent.

Beyond her entrepreneurial endeavors and role as YEI’s Executive Director, Tacharna has been a fervent advocate for youth, families and community based nonprofits East of the River. From 2018 to 2023, she served as a Commissioner for the DC Department of Education’s Learn24 Out of School Times Grants and Youth Outcomes Commission. Her leadership as Chair of the Funding & Capacity Building OST Committee from 2019 to 2023 underscored her commitment to ensuring equitable access to out-of-school-time programs, facilitating a collaborative district-wide strategy for youth empowerment.

Track - Retailers

11:15 am – 12:15 pm

Sybongile Cook is a member of the Mayor’s Financial Literacy Council and has held multiple roles within the Executive Office of the Mayor of the District of Columbia since 2009. She started as Program Manager expanding the framework of the District’s Bank on DC programs.

Keisha Mims is a trusted leader who passionately serve others and create positive, sustainable social change. In her current role as Director of Outreach and Engagement for the Department of Licensing and Consumer Protection, she is over the Ward based account managers and the Business Resource Center (formerly the Small Business Resource Center). Keisha has a keen understanding of core issues and strategies that amplify community voices in decisions that affect their lives, community, and city. Her city-wide social capital speaks to her proven track record of building deep, strong, trusting relationships between the public, the city, and stressed communities.

She joined the Bowser administration in early 2016, serving as the Ward 8 Community Relations Liaison (MOCRS). Since that time she has worked in various roles, including the Chief of Staff at Deputy Mayor for Education Office and the office of East of the River Services, the head of External Affairs for the City Administrator, the Director of Outreach and Engagement for the new Hospital, and the Director of the State Broadband and Digital Equity Office.

Keisha grew up in NW Washington, DC, and currently resides in Ward 8. A proud Wilson Senior High School graduate, she received her BS in Sports and Recreational Management from Temple University, her Juris Doctor degree from the University of Arkansas, and is licensed to practice law in Maryland and DC.

On track to be a research scientist, but in the constant pursuit of entrepreneurial success, Amanda finally found a way to combine it all: Because Science. As Washington, D.C.’s woman-owned science gift shop, Because Science serves Adams Morgan with science gifts, many of which are handmade on-site, and experiential activities centered around the fusion of science + art.

Small Business Summit Partners

The DC Chamber of Commerce would like to thank our partners and sponsors.

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Gold Sponsors

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DC Small Business Summit and Expo: “POWERUP for Success”

Apr 30 2024
8:00 am - 3:00 pm


Walter E. Washington Convention Center
801 Allen Y. Lew Place NW, Washington, DC 20001