Reception on Campus Ties in with Local Business Conference | Thomas Nelson Community College

Reception on Campus Ties in with Local Business Conference

November 12, 2021
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Pictured are (l-r) Business Professor Dr. Janelle Faison,  SimIS  Inc. CEO Dr. Johnny Garcia, Social Media & Digital Marketing Manager Doris Shadouh (program emcee), Recording Artist Jus John and Black BRAND President and Co-founder Blair Durham. 


The Peninsula Workforce Development Center at Thomas Nelson’s Hampton campus on Nov. 11 was the site of a community reception to usher in Black Diamond Weekend, an annual three-day conference organized by Black BRAND, the Black Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce.

The College was among numerous sponsors of the conference, which took place in Newport News. Designed to help Black business owners learn more about marketing and funding in order to thrive, the conference provides education, resources, and networking opportunities.

The two-hour gathering at Thomas Nelson attracted roughly 50 attendees. College President Towuanna Porter Brannon and several College officials, faculty, staff members were on hand. Students representing the baseball team, ballroom dance club, and other College organizations also attended.

Of the reception, emcee Doris Shadouh, who is the College's social media and digital marketing manager, said: "It is to connect community leaders with student leadership for networking and to build strong community relationships."

The evening also featured guest speakers sharing their inspirational personal stories. They included Black BRAND President and Co-founder Blair Durham, SimIS, Inc. CEO Johnny Garcia and Jus John, a national recording artist who has appeared on NBC’s “The Voice.”  

Themed “Diamond University: It’s a Different World,” Black Diamond Weekend is in its sixth year with Dominion Energy as its main 2021 sponsor. Guest speakers presented 55 hours of educational sessions classes on business, real estate, investing, nonprofits, and more.

Thomas Nelson Workforce Development offered continuing education units and an entrepreneurship certificate for participants who completed courses.