“It takes a lot more than just an inclusive business climate to send you on a path of success. You need help opening the door and then navigating the environment behind that door.” – Brett Carter

Access Charlotte is not just another networking or card-trading group.  It is a transformative organization facilitating access to some of the most accomplished, talented, respected and well-known business people in the region.   These are business leaders who are personally committed to building a pipeline of the region’s next generation of senior level executives.

Access Charlotte brings together senior-level minority executives and emerging minority business leaders, across various industries, for the purpose of strategically cultivating the pipeline of local minority executives.

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“Access Charlotte’s mission will help us act together to realize mutually beneficial outcomes, meet the evolving needs and aspirations of all stakeholders, and sustain the Charlotte region into the future.” – Kevin Henry

We are successful businessmen and women of color who respect and honor our history, all the while knowing we can improve of our futures together.

It’s about Economic Development… as we begin the work of building Charlotte’s regional global competitiveness, we must not only attract diverse senior executives, but retain that talent in the region.

It’s about Community Leadership… because performance and hard work get top talent recognized and promoted. But “potential” isn’t enough to propel men and women into the executive suite. Top jobs often elude minorities because they lack the right leaders to champion their growth.

Ultimately, it’s about Community Vitality… Our focus groups revealed that over the years, local minority executives have accumulated substantial cultural capital, (non-monetary wealth and relationship capital generated outside the workplace) which is undeniably vital for organizations who wish to exert influence in a community or a company. In the case of minority professionals, cultural capital is unusually rich.

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“ It’s candid and unabridged truth about their leadership journeys and what happens after the workshops and seminars are over.” – Robyn Hamilton

The sessions are not “workshops.”  This is an opportunity to understand how to chart a course to C-suite positions, while realizing the nuances to be a minority in today’s corporate environment.   This is about building effective relationships with current and other emerging executives who are interested in helping rising minority executives achieve greater levels of success on their ascent to senior leadership roles.

Development Topics
The Unabridged Version of Leading to the Top

The Philanthropy of Time
The Art of Executive Presence

Be In the Room, When You Aren’t In the Room
Once the Seminar/Workshop is Over

The Investment of Pedigree
GPS Won’t Help Navigate Culture

Why Recruiters Won’t Submit Candidates
Managing Between the Gap “V.P. to CEO”

The Journey from Corporate Life, to High Growth Entrepreneur
Renaissance Gathering of Executives and CEOs

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Emerging Executives

Emerging minority executives will have a unique and unprecedented opportunity to interact and hear from Charlotte’s top minority executives and business leaders to help achieve greater levels of personal and professional success. These sessions promise to offer candid and unabridged conversation about their leadership journeys while challenging participants to take specific actions upon leaving the discussions. This is about more than a career development plan. They will share insight to navigating leadership styles, organization politics, and key factors that influence senior leader.

Name Title Company
Nicole Dean Vice President of Internal Audit Belk, Inc.
Reginald Bean Director-Multicultural Marketing Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated.
Sherill Carrington Director, Key Market Segments United Way of Central Carolinas
Patrice Funderburg Transformative Consultant Funderburg, LLC
Ophelia Garmon-Brown Senior Vice President, Physician Services Novant Health
Patrick Graham President/CEO Urban League of the Carolinas
Jada Grandy Senior Vice President Community Development at Fifth Third Bank NC
Robyn Hamilton Corporate Relations Novant Health
April Harley Political Consultant & Fundraiser The Harley Firm
Chris Hemans Director of Economic Development Charlotte Center City Partners
Clyde Higgs Chief Operating Officer Atlanta Belt Line, Inc
Sid Levy Senior Director, Communications and Community Relations Snyder’s-Lance
Nichelle Nicholes Levy Digital Counsel, Legal NASCAR Digital Media
Todd Pipkin Head Master The Male Leadership Academy of Charlotte
Kevin Price Supplier Diversity & Performance Manager Novant Health
Felicia Robinson Vice President Compensation & Benefits Belk, Inc.
Henry Rock Executive Director City Startup Labs
Charles Thomas Executive Director Queen City Forward
Regina Wharton Senior Vice President, Human Resources Fifth Third Bank NC
Anika Khan Senior Economist Wells Fargo Securities, LLC
Alvin “Al” Austin Major Gifts Officer Johnson C. Smith University
Alisa McDonald Director of Community Involvement & VP Duke Energy Foundation
Cy Kennedy President American Product Distributors
Felicia Robinson VP Compensation Benefits Payroll Associate Engagement Belk, Inc.
G. Patrick Griffin Vice President Carolina’s Healthcare System
Joni Davis VP Large Account Management Regulated Utilities Operations Duke Energy
Joy Paige Springs VP Institutional Advancement Johnson C. Smith University
Tony Norwood Vice President Human Resource (Power Tools)
Manwell Bynum President & CEO Connectivity Concepts, LLC
Osyris Uqoezwa President & CEO B & C International
Ron Tate Head of Americas Global Sourcing & Procurement Services
Timothy Atwell SVP, Business Executive – Technology, ATM Bank of America
Tanya S. Blackmon Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer Novant Health
George Williams Client Engagement Executive TPM Consulting, Inc.

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Access Charlotte gathers business leaders, emerging executives

access-charlotte-newsA group top African-American executives is putting out the welcome mat for up-and-coming executives and entrepreneurs. Access Charlotte, a newly formed black leadership venture, seeks to help provide the answers and direction they seek, as they navigate the ranks of corporate America and the nuances of business ownership.

“By increasing the human capital that is present in Charlotte, our city and our region benefit,” says Kevin Henry, senior vice president and chief human resources officer for Snyder’s- Lance, Inc., and a founding member of Access Charlotte.

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Local Business Leaders Unite to Build Next Generation of Executives

Charlotte has emerged from decades of change and reinvention with a vibrant, thriving business community. Much of our success can be attributed to the commitment and innovation of local leaders who are passionate about Charlotte’s future, and the recognition that there is always more that can be done to improve our community.

Our business leaders are taking action again. This time to improve access to leadership roles to ensure Charlotte is competitive in a global talent market.

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Access Charlotte formed to help Charlotte’s top black executives and entrepreneurs thrive

Inside a classroom at the uptown Foundation for the Carolinas on a recent afternoon, 35 listeners hung on every word from two high-ranking executives.

Brett Carter, chief distribution officer and senior vice president for Duke Energy, and Michael Jones, chief merchandising officer for Lowe’s Home Improvement, were offering advice on moving up the ranks.

And the listeners – handpicked for being rising corporate and entrepreneurial stars in the Charlotte region – were taking it all in.

Jones spoke of working within the “guard rails,” or the norms of corporate life. “You can be creative,” Jones explained, “but if you go outside … you run the risk of being misaligned with the organization.”

Carter talked about the importance of finding mentors.

“You’ve got to pick the right people. That’s key,” Carter told the group. “… You’ve got to figure out who in that shark tank is really a shark.”

It was all part of the launch of Access Charlotte, a new leadership forum. Black business leaders created the group to identify, counsel and retain minority executives and high-growth entrepreneurs in the region.

Managers from businesses including Belk, Wells Fargo, NASCAR, Bank of America, Novant Health and other companies get career advice from some of the area’s well-known black executives and entrepreneurs serving as advisors.

Nearly 20 leadership advisors are involved, including Frank Emory, a partner with the law firm Hunton & Williams and former chair of the Charlotte Chamber; Debra Plousha Moore, chief human resources officer and an executive vice president with Carolinas HealthCare System; Venessa Harrison, president of AT&T North Carolina; and cardiologist Dr. Yele Aluko, senior vice president for Novant Health Heart and Vascular Services.

Competition to be selected for the group as a student, called “emerging leaders,” was heavy, Carter said.


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We are leaders with an appreciation of what we have learned and accomplished. We believe in sharing what we have learned to help others on their own professional journey. We aspire to create a sustainable organization worthy of honoring those who have come before us.

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