The Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA®), the nation’s first African-American athletic conference, brings back the highly anticipated Minority Business and Leadership Symposium as part of its official off-court activities during the 2020 CIAA Men’s and Women’s Basketball Tournament. Returning as part of the CIAA event for the fifth consecutive year, the Symposium provides comprehensive programming designed to stimulate economic and intellectual growth of minority business professionals.

An exclusive group of 100 leaders will gather at the Charlotte Convention Center on February 27, 2020, where co-facilitators Toya Everett, President, Charlotte chapter of the National Black MBA Association®/ VP, D.A. Everett Construction Group, and Eric Watson, Executive Consultant, The Kaleidoscope Group, will lead round table discussions on how to build a business climate of inclusion and create access to opportunities.  Attendees will engage in discussions with CIAA corporate partners, fellow business owners, business leaders and business resource partners on the challenges, root causes and solutions to issues faced by the minority small business community.

Jacqie McWilliams, CIAA Commissioner, will conduct a fireside chat with Doug Harris, CEO of The Kaleidoscope Group, to kick off the day. McWilliams is the first African American woman ever to lead an NCAA athletic conference while Harris boasts 25 years of experience in the field of diversity and inclusion, often with Fortune 500 organizations.

“Whether you are a student at one of our high-achieving CIAA schools or an adult outside of the academic world, there’s always time, and a need, for continued education,” asserts McWilliams. “The Symposium allows us to help business owners and other leaders become better versions of themselves through ongoing teaching and networking.  You are never too old to learn.”

This year’s Symposium titled “A Sense of Belonging,” features a new format; a series of round table discussions throughout the day designed to enhance networking and growth opportunities for attendees.

Backed by presenting sponsor Bank of America with support from NC Education Lottery, N.A.S.A., the Charlotte Chapter of the National Black MBA Association®, The Women’s Business Center of Charlotte and The Kaleidoscope Group, the popular event brings together top multicultural business executives, emerging leaders, entrepreneurs and business owners from around the southeast region and beyond.

“At Bank of America, we believe that investing in businesses that reflect the diversity of our clients and communities helps drive sustainable economic growth. That’s why we’re honored to be a long-standing partner of CIAA to help diverse suppliers achieve success,” said Vonshe Jenkins, Global Supplier Diversity & Responsible Sourcing executive at Bank of America. “2020 marks an important year for both our organizations, it being the 30th year of Bank of America’s formal corporate supplier diversity program, and the 75th anniversary of the CIAA Tournament. We are thrilled to celebrate these milestones with CIAA, and look forward to continuing to collaborate in the years to come.”

Another returning sponsor, the NC Education Lottery, also expressed enthusiasm for the popular event. “We value the opportunity to align our mission of empowering minority business leaders with the CIAA’s goal to offer programs that stimulate growth,” said Annette Taylor, Manager of Minority Business Affairs for the Lottery.  “I look forward to this phenomenal event each year!”

Early registration for the event costs $30, including breakfast, and runs through February 15 ($50 after that until capacity is reached). Hotel reservations are also available now and can be booked at

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