Earl “Butch” Graves Jr., president and CEO of Black Enterprise, will be keynote speaker at this year’s CIAA business forum.

The event — NEXT Level: CIAA Minority Business & Leadership Symposium – is scheduled for Thursday, March 1, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Charlotte Convention Center.

Graves will talk with attendees about “being aggressive in their professional leadership, maintaining competitive advantages in the marketplace, succeeding with resiliency, and creating legacies within minority communities through guidance, mentorship and access to opportunities,” according to a CIAA announcement.

Black Enterprise has partnered with the CIAA to promote its Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Summit, scheduled for June 6 to 9 in Charlotte.


CIAA Commissioner Jacqie McWilliams told Qcitymetro that this year’s symposium will be a bigger version of the small-business sessions held for the past few years during CIAA Week.

“We’re expanding it a little bit more than we have in the past and building upon what’s going to happen here in June,” she said.

Topics will include accessing capital, understanding and communicating value proposition, building capacity, effective leadership and more.

McWilliams said she’s expecting about 200 people to attend the free event, which requires registration.

Read More

Founder and publisher of Qcitymetro, Glenn has worked at newspapers including the Los Angeles Times, St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, Wall Street Journal and The Charlotte Observer.