Black Meetings and Tourism

Sept/Oct 2012

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ICI •Pg_43-58__BMT_pg86-162 12/21/12 1:43 AM Page 44 C O N F E R E N C E R E P O RT BY MATT THOMAS THE TEXAS BLACK EXPO AND HOUSTON: A WINNING COMBINATION H ouston, with its Black Expo, there were heady mix of plenty of events that ethnic, cultural kept attendees enterand spiritual communities tained, educated and spanning all parts of this dancing. These included sprawling metropolis, is an Old School Hip-Hop the perfect backdrop for and R&B Concert; a the Texas Black Expo. As Celebrity All-White America's fourth largest (clothes) Affair hosted city, Houston is also the by BET's 'The Game' most ethnically diverse actor, Pooch Hall; a metropolitan area in the "Naturalista" Women's U.S., with more than 90 Symposium, a Diva different languages spoken Dialogue Women's in the region. Forum featuring BET's The Juneteenth Grego Ortale (center), president/CEO, and John Rolfe (right) COO, Greater Houston 'The Game' actress Summer Celebration is the CVB at Texas Black Expo Corporate Breakfast. Wendy Raquel Robinflagship event of the Texas Black Expo. This annual celebration of son, and a "Glam Slam" Hair Battle. African-American culture attracts more than 20,000 attendees from Texas Black Expo sponsors include the Greater Houston throughout the United States and showcases more than 250 busi- Convention & Visitors Bureau, America's Natural Gas Alliance, Lilly, nesses. Nationwide, Houston Metro, Comcast and Bud Light. A portion of Supported by Mayor Annise Parker, the entire Houston City the proceeds raised are contributed to a scholarship fund to provide Council and the Texas Legislative Black Caucus, the Texas Black Expo awards for deserving high school seniors. has become one of the landmark events that characterize the city of Created in 2007, the Texas Black Expo operates with a mission to Houston as an international city that celebrates the uniqueness of improve the quality of life of individuals in urban communities by each of its diverse communities. By the way, it also contributes more strengthening businesses, inspiring youth and building better lives. than $1.5million to the Houston economy annually. Recognizing that it takes a unified community to accomplish that goal, The kick-off event for the Texas Black Expo took place on June the Expo invited politicians, community leaders and various corporate 14th, with the annual Corporate Breakfast that honored Texas and state agencies to discuss business opportunities with Summit "Green Giants." Co-sponsored by the Houston Area Urban League attendees. and the Houston Citizens Chamber of Commerce, this event is The producers of the Texas Black Expo, President Jerome Love designed to honor those that are making strides in the area of ener- and Vice President Shannon Cormier, say they are "committed to celgy conservation and environmental responsibility. This year's ebrating diversity and inclusiveness across all races, ethnicities, nationCorporate Breakfast keynote speaker was Mr. Jason Few, executive alities, generations and socioeconomic levels". Jerome continued vice president & chief customer officer of NRG Energy and president "We continue to strive for excellence by providing unique events and of Reliant. programs which reflect the changing landscape of Texas and the The Corporate Breakfast was followed by the Economic & Eco- world." Enterprise Summit that was held at the Four Seasons Hotel. The eduMore than just a once per year trade show organization, the cational sessions included "Preparing and Positioning Your Business Texas Black Expo is focused on delivering year-round community for Profits" and "How to do Business with State Agencies and other development events, connecting Texas businesses to the commuMulti-Million Dollar Organizations". Panelists included representa- nities they serve. Business Development Centers were created to tives of Health & Human Services, the Texas Dept. of Transportation, give fledging small businesses an opportunity to succeed in today's Port of Houston and the City of Houston. competitive business world. These Centers offer shared office That afternoon, the Texas Legislative Black Caucus hosted an equipment, personnel services and business development semiElected Officials Luncheon. Houston's very popular Mayor Annise nars. Parker spoke and reconfirmed her commitment to the growth and Whether you plan to attend the Texas Black Expo with friends development of Houston's African-American business community. and family or to schedule your meeting, conference or convention Mayor Parker is a winner of the 2011 Mayor's Climate Protection around the Texas Black Expo, you can expect a rewarding experiAward from the U.S. Conference of Mayors. It's no accident that ence. The activities for children and adults, health screenings, hair and Houston is the largest municipal purchaser of wind energy in the U.S. fashion shows, national entertainment and Houston as the backdrop, Although taking care of business was the main focus of the Texas all add up to an extraordinary African-American cultural experience. 44 BM&T ••• September/October 2012•••

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