The National Association of Black Accountants (NABA) at the University of Connecticut will host a panel of five prominent black entrepreneurs in the Thomas J. Dodd Center’s Konover Auditorium this Thursday at 7 p.m. The event, “Being Black & Bold in Business,” hopes to encourage black professionals and students to make their own path to success, said UConn NABA President Brandon Madden.
“They all have their own stories but they have that same fiery ambition inside of them, which led them to start their own business,” Madden, an eighth-semester accounting major, said.
The panelists will be Ashley Fox of Empify, Malik Champlain of Passion Hunger Drive, Brandon Frame of The Black Man Can Institute, Glenda Smiley of Mogul P.R.O. Consulting, LLC. and Michael Mallery of I’m So Educated.
Madden began working on the event in November. He was inspired in part by a conversation with a friend of his, an engineering student who was having difficulty finding a job.
“Why aren’t there more black entrepreneurs?” Madden asked himself. “Why wait for someone to build a door for you? You’re an engineer; you can build the door. And that’s the ideology behind ‘Being Black & Bold in Business.’”
Entrepreneurship, the willingness to be creative and make one’s own path, is a powerful path to personal and financial growth, Madden said.
“Your Plan B is another way to make your Plan A,” he said. “If someone doesn’t give you a job then you create one yourself. It can turn into a corporation or a small business, and that can open doors for others as well. It’s good for the economy, and it’s good for you personally.”
UConn’s chapter of NABA was created seven years ago. It sought to address underrepresentation of black students in business majors.
“I can count on both hands the amount of black accounting students in the School of Business,” Madden said. “We are underrepresented in the field and in corporate America as well.”
NABA’s motto is “Lifting As We Climb.” UConn’s chapter of the organization regularly gives financially literacy workshops at local high schools.
“I think it’s important for students no matter how young they are to understand personal finance and the basics of accounting,” Madden said. “Money can change a generation by bringing out of poor education and poverty.”
Last year NABA held a Pink Tie Gala and raised $750 for the Susan G. Komen Foundation.
Madden planned “Being Black & Bold in Business” himself and reached out to the speakers. He collaborated with UConn’s chapter of the NAACP, the Zeta Lambda chapter of the Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc., the African American Cultural Center and the School of Business’ Office of Diversity & Inclusion.
NABA funded the event. The organization meets regularly on Thursday nights at 7 p.m. in the School of Business Room 203. It’s open to all majors and people of any background.