The 19th African-American History Challenge (AAHC) was held on Saturday, February 2, 2019, at North High STEM Magnet School. The AAHC, a collaboration between the 100 Black Men of Omaha and Omaha Public Schools, was sponsored in part by Cox Communications and the University of Nebraska-Omaha.
This year’s winners were Beveridge Magnet Middle School in the Junior Division and Northwest High Magnet School in the Senior Division. The National competition will be held at the 100 Black Men of America Annual Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada, which will take place, June 12th – June 16th.
Morton Middle School and Monroe Middle School earned second and third place in the junior division. Central High School and Benson High School earned second and third place in the senior division.
This education reading program, designed by the 100 Black Men of America, Inc., is used to enhance the study of African-American history and culture among middle and high school students.
Eric L. Ewing and Edgar Hicks served as co-chairs; Bill Alexander and Sherman P. Willis served as moderators, all of whom are members of the 100 Black Men of Omaha. Judges for the event were Granville Welch, Vice President and Treasurer of Human Resources, Incorporated and Jennifer Harbour, Ph.D., Assistant Professor Black Studies Department, University of Nebraska-Omaha.
Since 2001, the AAHC has provided over $400,000 in awards and prizes to deserving Omaha area middle and high school students. The AAHC is the result of months of intense preparation each year by dedicated 100 Black Men of Omaha members, Omaha Public Schools staff and students.
The 100 Black Men of Omaha’s mission is to improve the quality of life in Omaha by helping our youth to be Respectful, Responsible, and Ready to Lead. We seek to achieve our mission through Mentoring, Education, Health & Wellness and Economic Empowerment programs. Our programs include Leadership and Mentoring Academy, Pathways to Success, African American History Challenge, 100 Saturday Academy, Real Men Read, and Real Men Greet.
Today, the 100 Black Men of Omaha is one of over 100 chapters nationally and internationally that make up the 100 Black Men of America, Inc., an alliance of leading African-American men representing a myriad of professions including community, business, education, public affairs, and government.
Winners of the 2019 AAHC
Senior Division First Place:
Northwest High Magnet School
Front row (left to right): 100 Black Men of Omaha’s Senior Division, Northwest High Magnet School, HToo Say, Tehya Wynne, and Lal Nun and Coach Miss McCoy. Middle row (left to right): John W. Ewing., Jr., 100 Black Men of Omaha, Eric Ewing, Co-Chair African American History Challenge, Janet Rodriquez, Cox Communications and Dr. Shavonna Holman, Vice President OPS Board of Education. Back row (left to right): Bill Alexander, Moderator African American History Challenge, David Johnson, Cox Communications, Richard Webb, Executive Director, 100 Black Men of Omaha and Sherman P. Willis, Moderator African American History Challenge.
Winners of the 2019 AAHC
Junior Division First Place:
Beveridge Magnet Middle School
Front row (left to right): 100 Black Men of Omaha’s Junior Division, Beveridge Magnet Middle School, Dee Dee Djon, Briana Reza Rivera, Kennedy Alati and Romina Herrera Baro. Middle row (left to right): Chad Carlson and Michaela Jackson, Beveridge Magnet Middle School, Eric Ewing, Co-Chair African American History Challenge, Janet Rodriquez, Cox Communications. Back row (left to right): Bill Alexander, Moderator African American History Challenge, David Johnson, Cox Communications, Richard Webb, Executive Director, 100 Black Men of Omaha and Sherman P. Willis, Moderator African American History Challenge.
Shavonne Washington-Krauth inaugural Director of Culture & Inclusion at Children’s Hospital
Published: January 19, 2022
Shavonne Washington-Krauth is the inaugural Culture and Inclusion Director for Children’s Hospital & Medical Center.
In mid-2018 Children’s Hospital & Medical Center began intensive conversations about their desire to do more focused and intentional work related to diversity and inclusion within the organization.
By July 2019, Children’s had hired its inaugural Culture and Inclusion Manager, Shavonne Washington-Krauth. Since that time, Children’s has been working to provide a more diverse and inclusive workplace experience for employees by focusing on programming, systems, and policy concepts.
They have also been working in the realm of creating a more inclusive experience for their patients and families. Due to the success and level of influence she was having in her role, Children’s promoted Shavonne to the Director of Culture and Inclusion one year after she joined the organization, and is now adding a new member to her team.
Children’s is proud of the progress made in the past 2 ½ years and looks forward to seeing how much more they will accomplish.
Ms. Washington-Krauth’s responsibilities include the creation and revision of systems, policies, opportunities, and environments in which everyone can not only work, but thrive at a more equitable rate without feeling excluded or marginalized.
She also leads the development and implementation of a culture, diversity, and inclusion strategic framework; supervision of six employee resource groups and serves as an advisor or subject matter expert on topics regarding the organization’s culture, diversity, and inclusion efforts.
Ms. Washington-Krauth holds a bachelor’s degree in exercise science, a master’s degree in health education, is a Prosci-certified Change Management Practitioner, and a trained Bridges Out of Poverty facilitator. Washington-Krauth is also a graduate of the Empowerment Network and BCT Partners’ Redefine the Game Institute.
She is a self-proclaimed “Air Force Brat” currently living in Omaha with her husband, two sons, two dogs, a fish, and three chickens.
Redefine the Game celebrates completion of 3 cohorts and launch of the 4th
In 2021, The Empowerment Network and BCT Partners completed the 3rd and started the 4th Cohort of the nationally recognized Redefine the Game Institute.
A graduation ceremony for the 2nd and 3rd cohorts was held in June of 2021. The 4th cohort held its first class in November 2021 and will finish in September 2022.
Launched in 2018, by the Empowerment Network, BCT Partners and WDB Resultants, Redefine the Game is a highly interactive, career advancement and leadership development program.
It brings together African-American professionals from all sectors and engages them in a year long development experience which helps them to prepare for the next phase of their career.
Participants have the opportunity to rediscover their passions, purpose and ground themselves by reviewing their core values. From there they complete an assessment which helps them to understand how they make decisions, ways to interact with others more effectively and provides insights on how to use their strengths to maximize individual and collective work.
Over the period of the program, the class walks through the ten game changing strategies identified in the best selling book, Black Faces in White Places, written by Dr. Randal Pinkett and Dr. Jeffrey Robinson.
Pinkett and Robinson co-facilitate Redefine the Game, along with Willie Barney of the Empowerment Network and WDB Resultants and Damita Byrd with BCT Partners. Barney and Byrd worked together to develop the vision for the the cohort program and partnered with Pinkett and Robinson to bring it to reality.
It has made a measurable impact after just three cohorts. Over 40 corporations, businesses and organizations have sent employees through the program.
“We had thought about creating a course based on our book, but didn’t get around to doing it,” said Pinkett. “Then, Willie and Damita came to us with the vision and made it happen in a very short amount of time. Now, corporations and organizations across the country are inquiring about RTG.”
Including this cohort, 125 Black professionals and community leaders in Omaha will have participated. Of those who have completed the course, 70% have been promoted on their job.
“They were already doing great work and now have earned advancement and leadership opportunities through their own abilities, relationship building and utilization of their unique skill set,” said Barney.
“Alumni tell us that RTG helps provide them with an edge and the insights they need to better navigate their environments successfully,” added Byrd.
Revive Black Business Summit connects entrepreneurs to capital, resources & opportunities
“This was the best and most informative business summit event that I have ever been part of,” said Chef Wilson Calixte, owner of Le Voltaire French Restaurant, one of Omaha’s top restaurants.
“What’s happening in Omaha is the prototype for the nation,” said George Fraser, CEO of FraserNet, the PowerNetworking Conference and member of the National Black Business Hall of Fame. “Join this local and national Network, keep building and stay the course.”
Fraser is known across the world as one of the top experts on building highly effective and productive networks.
He joined Dr. Pamela Jolly, a nationally recognized thought leader on wealth building and a strategic advisor for business accelerators, as keynote speakers for the virtual Revive Black Business Summit.
Both Jolly and Fraser, along with other nationally known Black business leaders and entrepreneurs, have agreed to join the Revive Black Business Network Board of Advisors and to extend special offers to its members.
The Business Summit was hosted on Saturday, January 15th by Willie and Yolanda Barney, co owners of Revive Omaha!, Revive Center and Carver Legacy Center. 2022 marks 14 years since they launched Revive Magazine and 9 years since they formed the Revive Black Business Luncheon. January 15th also marked the 93rd birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
“We have talked for years about launching the formal Business Network, but put it on hold as we worked on other community projects and businesses,” said Willie Barney. “We believe now is the time to move forward and build on and expand our local and national partnerships. To launch the Business Network on Dr. King’s birthday is incredibly significant. 2022 will be a breakthrough year.”
Jolly kicked off the Summit with an insightful presentation on the State of Black Business, emerging opportunities on the national level and the importance of working together.
“My research shows the benefit of building wealth together and elevating the standard of how we do business,” said Jolly. “We need to be prepared for the current and future opportunities.”
If the response from attendees is any indicator, the Black Business Network is an idea whose time has come.
“The experience was absolutely amazing and very informative. It was like I stumbled upon a high-level business master class led by owners and subject matter experts that were so willing to share their personal best practices and success strategies,” said Tim Clark, CEO of Clark Connection Group.
Clark also delivered a powerful message of his own during a session on Effective Networking. “Be intentional. Be credible. Build trust. Listen. Listen. Listen.”
“The information presented was extremely valuable for business owners,” said Marcella Dial who attended along with her husband, Howard. “We got started with our business, but felt stuck. This event helped us to see ways to move forward.”
The Summit featured some of Omaha’s most successful Black business owners and entrepreneurs.
Carmen Tapio, CEO of North End Teleservices, has grown from 0 to 400 employees in just over five years. She shared her journey and how she overcame initial rejections from banks to secure the funding she needed to expand. Tapio said she is aiming to create jobs for 1,000+ and continue changing lives through her business. She also encouraged attendees not to give up.
Candice Price, a serial entrepreneur including co-ownership of Home Team Auto Sales and Sapphire Grill, offered insights on generating multiple streams of income and highlighted the services available through the new non-profit she leads, Grow Nebraska. “Having multiple streams of income was a blessing for us during the pandemic as we had to put our food truck in storage.”
Richard Webb, probably best known as the former CEO of the 100 Black Men and current CEO of the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Midlands, shared his experiences as a successful business owner and real estate investor with his firm, Abundant Living. “You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars attending seminars, it is possible to make money by investing in real estate. Develop relationships.”
Gladys Harrison, owner of Big Mama’s Kitchen and Catering, spoke about being innovative and reinventing your business in the midst of challenges. With most Black businesses struggling and 41% closing during the pandemic, Gladys reported that 2020 was their best financial year in the history of the company as they expanded on partnerships. “It was the partnerships that allowed us to grow when others were closing down.”
Calvin Jones, CEO of Lions Gate Security, shared some best practices for establishing relationships and doing business with corporations and public entities, including some of Omaha’s largest organizations. “Persistence. You can’t be afraid to knock on the door and keep knocking.”
“What I experienced at the Summit was powerful, educational and dynamic,” said Bridget Hadley, Economic Development Manager for the City of Omaha. “The depth of experience among all of the panelists makes Omaha and our community rich. The exchange of information and nuggets of wisdom shared were practical, yet invaluable, and ready for implementation.”
“It was incredibly inspiring to hear from these successful business owners,” said Yolanda Barney. “Being in business, especially during a time like this, can be challenging and you can feel isolated. This let’s you know that you can still move forward and staying connected is vitally important.”
That is one of the main goals for formalizing the Revive Black Business Network. The group keeps businesses connected, shares information about resources and opportunities, identifies funding sources and provides a platform to communicate successes and best practices.
The Revive Business Network will host meetings, summits, workshops, luncheons, conferences, expos and other events throughout the year.
In addition to business owners and entrepreneurs, the speakers and panelists on the summit included a wide range of service providers and support organizations available to assist with information, access to credit and capital, training and technical assistance.
BC Clark – Nebraska Enterprise Fund, Candice Price – Grow Nebraska, Manne Cook – Spark Capital, Bridget Hadley – City of Omaha, and Ernest White – Carver Legacy Center all highlighted different forms of funding including grants, loans and equity. All of the organizations also offer training and special events. Karine Sokpah, founder of the Midlands African Chamber also highlight opportunities for entrepreneurs to win $10,000 through the Pitch Black competition.
“When we started the Revive Black Business Network, we wanted to make sure business owners and entrepreneurs knew what resources and opportunities were available to them,” said Willie Barney. “We have updated the Roadmap to Entrepreneurship in Omaha and we will have a consistent location for these activities to happen at the HUB inside the Carver Legacy Center and also at the Revive Center Markets.”
Two other sessions focused on helping businesses to get prepared with a solid foundation. Malinda Williams, financial advisor with MVEST Partners shared tips for getting personal and business balance sheets in order.
Martine Quartey, owner of Advance Tax Solutions with 20+ years of experience, walked participants through key aspects needed to manage taxes professionally. “Too many business don’t handle their taxes correctly, but we can help them build a solid foundation.”
Dr. Martin Williams of Martin Williams International and DreamKeepers focused on existing business owners and presented key concepts he has used over the years to help businesses scale. “Creating successful businesses is about culture.”
The final session included specific opportunities to do business with corporations and public entities. Winsley Durand from the Greater Omaha Chamber/REACH, Gerald Kuhn from the City of Omaha and Cameron Gales of Jacobs Construction all provided valuable contacts and pathways to get in the door. James Wright from Congressman Don Bacon’s office also discussed ways the office could be helpful.
“I thought the meeting was excellence in motion. So much good information and resources within our own community,” said Sophia Jordan, owner of Black Bottom Biscotti. “I am inspired to keep going and do business on purpose within our own community even more so.”
Fraser who closed the day off with a powerful keynote and an extended “post conference” session, emphasized some final key points.
“We can create jobs, build our communities and prepare the next generation,” said Fraser. “If you do not have a system, you do not have a business. What is your promise?”
He added, “We must connect, grow and prosper so we can learn, earn and return. Omaha has the opportunity to show the way.”
It was the perfect ending to the Summit. Creating moments like this on a consistent basis is one of the main goals for the Business Network.
“When do you ever have an opportunity to have George Fraser, a living legend, on a live zoom for an hour personally answering questions and sharing his experiences and insights?” said Calvin Jones.
The Black Business Summit was hosted by Revive! Omaha, Revive Center and Carver Legacy Center. The virtual event was managed by RealQuick Solutions.