Dedra Tate, Pat Shields, Judy Klein, Curtis Symonds, Yvette Moyo, Stacey Williams and Pepper Miller. Not shown – Dionne Williams.

In Nielsen’s 2017 report, Black Dollars Matter: The Sales Impact of Black Consumers, it’s made abundantly clear that while African Americans make up just 14% of the population, they are responsible for more than $1.2 trillion in purchases annually. Additionally, consumers of color are showing an outsized influence in several key consumer categories, and are increasingly demanding that businesses do and be better.

This is something that marketing pros, Yvette Moyo and her husband Karega Kofi Moyo have known since 1992. That’s what drove the couple to found the Marketing Opportunities in Business & Entertainment (MOBE) advanced marketing series, later renamed the MOBE Symposium, more than 25 years ago.

“There was a need for this because, for whatever reason, brands didn’t see the intrinsic value in the Black and Brown dollar,” Pat Shields said, who is a lead producer of the MOBE Symposium. “The founders wanted to pull the curtain back on all the immense marketing and business opportunities that exist within the minority community.”

Over the years, MOBE has convened some of the leading marketers in business, entertainment, tech and advertising in Atlanta and Chicago. This year, the Symposium brought out more than 250 of New Jersey’s established, emerging and aspiring business professionals to learn from the best. The speaker list included Michelle Thornton Ghee, Executive VP of Endeavor Global Marketing and Dr. Jamie Foster-Brown, founder and editor-in-chief of Sister 2 Sister Magazine among many others.

Other workshop presenters included:

Clayton Banks, co-founder and CEO of Silicon Harlem, assembled a group of sports executives to examine the wildly popular e-games, gambling and how technology is transforming the sports experience.

Dorinda Walker, CEO of Cultural Solutions Group, led the panel of executive women who reviewed the power of female professionals leading the charge and their forecast for the future. Included on the panel was Aisha Glover, president & CEO of Newark Alliance, an organization dedicated to the economic revitalization of the host city.

Social justice and its influence on consumer/brand engagement was tackled by activist and filmmaker William Calloway. It was his advocacy for the release of the video of LaQuan McDonald’s murder by a Chicago police officer that sparked a movement. Nike and Colin Kaepernick, Pepsi and Kendall Jenner are contrasting examples of why brands should collaborate with social justice influencers and plan appropriately.

Filmmakers, music creators, and visionaries made up the Music, Film and TV panel, Our Voices, Our Stories Matter. They provided guidance to the attendees on creative ways to finance the stories and earn more from the stories.

“At MOBE, our content is unique in that we provide examples of case study successes, and connect budding and seasoned entrepreneurs with professionals to accelerate business success. Our intent is to leverage our ability to positively tap into our cultural base and creative influence and understand the economic impact of working and growing together,” says MOBE founder Yvette Moyo.

The Symposium makes some big claims.

“Unlike other large Symposiums who just push information at you, we’re dedicated to providing a fully immersive experience that follows attendees beyond the doors of our event,” said Shields. “With the help of Eventnoire’s ticketing platform, we were able to do a deep dive into our attendee audience and capture analytics that’s unavailable anywhere else.”

To date, the Symposium has generated more than $187 million in revenue for African-American companies as a direct result of associations conceived at the MOBE Symposium.

To find out more about the Symposium, visit MOBESymposium.com and follow them at @MobeSymposium on all Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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