BanexpoThe Network DC proved that the third time is the charm with this year’s Black Alumni Networking Expo. The affair, fondly called the BAN EXPO, caters to the mission to bring Black alumni from PWIs and HBCUs together for the purpose of networking and building connections.

The third annual BAN Expo took place in its usual home in Crystal City, and offered a four day event schedule to its guest. BAN Expo attendees always prove to be a diverse crowd of Black professionals with careers in every field. This year the founders of The Network DC out together a schedule that catered to all of them.

Boasting there sold out kick off Connectivity Social, Network DC kept the momentum going with their B.L.A.C.K Panel and Dinner. The panel boasted the likes of Black professionals like Author Rob Hill Sr., PR specialist Candice Nicole, CEO of MY Fab Finance Tonya Rapley, Founder of Black Celebrity Giving Jasmine Crowe, College Bound Director Kenneth Ward, And President of Tate Consulting Antwain Tate Goode. The panel touched on topics like entrepreneurship, Black Lives Matter, and supporting Black businesses. Goode who was formerly a Fortune500 consultant, branched off to create his own consulting firm.

“It’s not just about your perspective, it takes a lot of perspectives.”

BanexpoHoping that his seat on the panel gave people some positive reinforcement and encouragement, Goode stated, “What I’m really excited about is purpose–how to help people in the audience and our community develop purpose. How do you unlock the purpose that God has placed inside you…if you don’t take your purpose along with you and something happens, a downsizing, or a corporate restructuring, you won’t have anything to fall back on.”

banexpo2016Goode has published the Bestselling book Bet The Farm, a self-help book to help readers tap into the best versions of themselves. He relayed some of his advice on the panel about how to branch off and start your business. “It’s not just about your perspective, it takes a lot of perspectives,” he said. “It takes authors, it takes finance, it takes leadership people, all of us unlocking our talents to help African American people grow and become.”

The BAN Expo’s main event which took place Saturday hosted an array of different businesses and vendors, some of which held on site recruiting for jobs, and breakout sessions with experts in their respective fields like Radio Host Dominique Da Diva and Keynote Speaker Jason Van Gardner.

Sole Savers, a black owned business that creates travel flats for women who wear high heels, turned heads, or feet rather, right over to their area. The company says they received awesome feedback and made sales at both the Expo and the Ball, becoming the alternative to bare feet after a night in killer shoes.

“We had great feedback from customers. They were happy to have us there — in fact, some of the customers used our product before they left the building.” Sole Savers, a mother and daughter company, says they encourage others to facilitate strong events like the BAN Expo. “BAN is great because of the community. It shows encouragement, support, and unity. It’s a missing element for a lot of businesses.”

With each year the Black Alumni Networking Expo gets stronger, and assists in creating and fostering relationships amongst other black Professionals. An event where being yourself is mandatory, and the outcome is becoming empowered to give moreback to our communities with the help of others.

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Sonia Montalvo is an Author, Journalist, and die hard HBCU supporter. A graduate of Elizabeth City State University, her motto is "Be creative, but be factual."
ban-expo-gives-young-black-professionals-a-space-to-build-connectionsOverall, The BAN Expo demonstrates the potential and know how to only get bigger and better with time. Offering breakout sessions that provided help with resumes, business expertise, and brand building, the topics this year didn’t bring as many attendees to the seats as the year prior. In their third year, I would say the even was put together extremely well and allowed endless prospects to bridge the gap that is the lack of networking and interacting with other black professionals inside of the everyday workplace.