WDB (What’s Da Business) Marketing Group celebrated its 10th anniversary with a gala and L.E.G.A.C.Y. Awards ceremony. The event was held at the Harold Washington Cultural Center in the Bronzeville neighborhood of Chicago. Five business owners and community leaders were honored for building L.E.G.A.C.Y. (leadership, education, growth, advocacy, community and youth). The awardees included Diane Latiker of Kids Off The Block, Emile Cambry of Blue 1647, Phillip Jackson of Black Star Project, Cameka Smith of The BOSS Network and Chicago City Treasurer Kurt Summers. Mary Lindsey of Jokes and Notes received The Shining Light Award. Kwesi Ronald Harris was awarded the Lifetime Educator Award posthumously.
The evening was alive with the spirit of entrepreneurship and giving back. WBD introduced a new initiative targeting emerging youth entrepreneurs. A contest was held on the night of the gala where three youth business owners were given the ability to pitch their product in hopes of winning $10,000 in cash. The finalists were Cecil Wilson (Goffers Inc.), Jordyn Gaines (Jordy Cakes) and Emmanuel Childs (Tawia Designs). After all of the pitches were delivered and the votes were tallied, Cecil Wilson of Gophers Inc. was determined the winner.
We spoke with Keeana Barber, co-founder of WDB Marketing Group, about the importance of celebrating their 10th year and the importance to the Black community.
“This year was important to celebrate because it represented a landmark for WDB. Over the years we have supported over 2000 small businesses and entrepreneurs. We realized that hosting an anniversary event was bigger than us. It was a chance to showcase the talent and amazing entrepreneurs we have encountered over the years. We felt what better way to celebrate our anniversary than to get everyone in one room to share knowledge and resources,” she said.
“Our focus as a company is more than delivering a service, more than printing — it is to truly help businesses build foundations for success. Ten years represented an opportunity to celebrate and showcase the Black excellence God allows us to encounter every day. This is important to Black business because of economic power. The more we can control our own dollars, the more effect we can have on our community. People support what they can identify with. As a Black-owned business, I am more prone to give a young Black man a chance. We as a community need to understand that the more we support our local Black-owned businesses, the more we can employ people from [our] community. We can sponsor programs that support our youth. We become the powerhouse that people will go to in times of need, no longer having to beg corporate America to understand our issues and support us, we can support ourselves,” Barber said.
The celebration connected more than 500 startup and established business owners to add to that hope and promise of a greater tomorrow.
Take a look at a few pictures below.