The 2020 NMSDC Conference +
Business Opportunity Exchange (BOE) is now virtual!
October 26 – 29, 2020
Emerging Young Entrepreneurs Cohort Summit | Session 1: ”Family Ties”
October 26, 2020
1:00 PM-4:30 PM ET
This virtual session for current participants in NMSDC’s Emerging Young Entrepreneurs (EYE) Program supports the interactive pre- and post-conference curriculum. Session panelists will discuss the benefits and challenges of leadership and succession in a family-owned business.
*By invitation only
EYE Title Sponsorship: BMS | The Coca-Cola Company | RBC – City National Bank | The Walt Disney Company
EYE Innovation: EY | Kohl’s | Office Depot | Verizon | Volkswagen
EYE Visionary: General Motors | Procter & Gamble | Trane Technologies
EYE Champion: Abbott | ADP | American Family Insurance | BASF | Centene Corporation | Citi | DTE | Energy | Kroger | Lear Corporation | Lenovo | Medtronic | Merck | Nexuspharma | Walmart | WestRock | Kelly Services | MetLife | RICOH USA | The Walt Disney Company | USPS
Ian Kyle Conyers is an American politician technology advisor and diversity advocates from Detroit who was elected at 27 in 2016, as the youngest state Senator in Michigan history. He served as minority vice chair of the Transportation Committee and member of the Economic Development & International Investment, Energy & Technology, and Banking & Financial Services Committees.
Director Supplier Diversity
Eyvon C. Austin is a Global Supplier Diversity Director at The Coca-Cola Company. A professional with over 20 years of experience, Eyvon has a successful track record in strategic project management, supply chain innovation, and business and brand ambassadorship. An advocate internally and externally, Eyvon’s commitment to developing diverse supplier relationships has greatly contributed to Coca-Cola’s success in supplier diversity.
Founder and Chair
Entrepreneur, investor and philanthropist Richelieu Dennis has a passion for entrepreneurship and innovation that traces back to his family’s roots in Africa and that is sustained by a vision to fill unmet consumer needs. As the founder, CEO and Executive Chairman of Sundial Brands, his passion has resulted in the 27-year-old family-founded, run and operated manufacturing company’s success as the maker of top hair, natural, bar soap and bath and body brands.
Sophia Dennis is the founder of Phace Media, a production company focused delivering digestible content to millennial consumers. Sophia has created content for everyone and has created a diverse platform where people of all beliefs, experience, and ideologies can find something that will enrich them as well as create healthy diverse conversations.
Dr. Gail Ayala Taylor
Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College
Professor Taylor is an expert in service marketing with special interests in marketing effectiveness, consumer satisfaction, loyalty and retention. With over 25 years of experience as a marketing professor at top academic institutions in the US and abroad, Professor Taylor has educated numerous undergraduates, MBAs, CEOs, entrepreneurs, and senior business leaders.
Stephen Hightower II
Chief Operating Officer
Hightower Petroleum Co.
Stephen L. Hightower II is the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Hightowers Petroleum Company, one of North America’s largest, independently-owned wholesale fuel distribution businesses, supplying more than 250 million gallons of fuel annually to customers across the United States, Canada and Mexico.
Sundari Pai Luts
Speaker – Welcome Remarks
Manager Supplier Diversity
Bristol Myers Squibb
Sundari Pai Luts is currently – Manager, Supplier Diversity at Bristol Myers Squibb and leads all strategic communications, supports development and execution of the corporate wide supplier diversity strategy, program, policies and procedures that ensure alignment with corporate diversity & Inclusion strategy. She also adds to the ongoing efforts of implementation, developing and supporting procurement level execution related to Supplier Diversity at Bristol Myers Squibb. Sundari is an active supporter of the various people and business employee resource groups (PBRG) within the organization and currently sits on the leadership team of Differently Abled Workforce Network (DAWN) as a Marketplace co-lead.
Linzie Venegas is the Vice President at Ideal Group. She oversees administration, marketing, finance and human resource activities for the company. The Ideal Group operates eight different companies with annual revenues approaching $350 million and over 600 employees.
CEO and Founder
Frank Venegas, a Detroit Michigan entrepreneur and the grandson of Mexican immigrants, capitalized a winning raffle ticket and the proceeds of a new 1979 Cadillac to launch his first company in 1979. Today, the Ideal Group, a family-owned company, has evolved into eight nationally recognized companies with annual revenues approaching $350 million, employing approximately 550 people. Over the years, family members Loren (brother), Linzie (daughter), and Jesse (son) joined the Ideal Leadership team as owners.