The pride of the events industry is its ability to display value in connecting people. Event professionals are charged with ensuring all event experiences are reflective of the societal and cultural world we live in. Therefore it is important to build diverse teams, starting with the decision makers, vendors, and on to the talent selected. This is critical as it shapes the experience we produce and expect our audiences to have.

For the longest time, Black voices and stories were not valued or represented in the industry. I recently talked about the difficulties I experienced with finding event professionals that looked like me. Many of them did not show their faces in the fear of not being hired by non-persons of color. Not only was this a disservice to themselves, it also affected how new-comers could validate their own career-dreams and aspirations. Representation matters, and we suffer while the industry continues to approach it as a passive need to act.

February is the month reserved to honor and reflect on Black history, but it’s imperative that the meeting and event industry amplify and acknowledge its commitment to Black excellence (past, present and future), all 365 days. Though there has been progress made, there are still times our voices go unheard. It’s why I think it’s important to amplify and celebrate us all year-round, and I will do just that in this space!

As for me and my blog, we will celebrate and advocate for Black Event Professionals year-round.

B. Menina

I am thrilled to highlight four Black event professionals that were influential during the early years of my career. They are leaders in their own way and have made major contributions to the industry for generations to come.


Leader of Event Experiences: Michelle Gainey

Michelle of Lemiga Events, is a premier event designer and planner of experiences that will leave you wanting more for years to come. The mission of her business is to inspire others to Dream, Love and Celebrate life. You can tell she means just that through her design, all elements are considered and the guest experience remains at the center of her focus.

Since I found her work back in 2011, I have been left inspired event-after-event. She was one of the first planners I could see myself in. I haven’t decided if I want to be a client, student or both. My heart tells me I need to experience both.

Leader of Event Mentorship: Kawania Howerton

Kawania is the mentor of all mentors for event/wedding professionals and one that I believe we all deserve. She offers coaching services, trainings, books and resources through her project, The Enlightened Creative, to teach you all about successfully operating a small business in the industry. It’s always the gems she drops that keeps you inspired to work on achieving your goals.

I participated in one of her trainings a few years back. From there, everything changed for me. I was now able to see a wedding professional who had also achieved success as a CMP. I felt aligned with her career path and have been an admirer ever since. I finally got to meet her in person two years ago! It’s a moment I will not forget.

Leader of Event Community: Antwone Stigall

Antwone is unapologetic in his desire to see Black event professionals succeed and be recognized, not for the color of our skin, but for our contributions to the industry. He is the founder of the Black Meeting & Event Professionals Facebook Group, created to network, conduct business and engage with those that look like us. This group does not disappoint and is great for those who work in the corporate meeting and event planning side.

Antwone was also a great support to me, providing tips and information when I was preparing for my Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) Exam.

Leader of Event/Hospitality Education: Dr. Erinn Tucker

Erinn aka “Professor Tucker” is the champion in the academic space for event planning and hospitality students. She is also the co-founder of DMV Black Restaurant Week, whose mission is to celebrate and support black hospitality, food and beverage entrepreneurs and employees.

She was my professor in most of all my event planning and hospitality courses. It’s safe to say she laid the foundation and gave me my first glimpse into how a Black event professional could excel by simply being themselves. Aside from her wealth of knowledge, it was her demeanor and ability to stand out in a crowd of mostly white professors that allowed me to see the possibility of teaching in this field as well. I will always remember how she pushed us to think big picture and how to seek solutions as it relates to event planning.

If you’re not already following these leaders, I encourage you to change that NOW!


Black in Events Network Highlights 100 Black Professionals in Events

The newly founded Black in Events Network is also celebrating Black History Month by highlighting Black event professionals in the efforts to remind us that we are seen and heard in this industry. One unique thing I have loved about this list is that it highlights seasoned professionals and new-comers! This is rarely done and makes it such an exciting list to follow.

To my surprise, on February 17, they chose to highlight me! It’s truly an honor to be recognized with this amazing group.

Thank you to the entire team at Black in Events Network. Your work is needed and will be impactful for our industry.

Community, you now have a full list of event professionals to connect with and learn from! Are there any others you would add to this list?


2 Comments

  1. “As for me and my blog…” Yesss!! Thank you for giving us insight into to your journey, highlighting other black event professionals, and reminding us that representation matters in all realms! Black, 365! Kudos, sis!

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