Fusion Awards celebrates diversity, achievements, and passions among Birmingham innovators, entrepreneurs and community leaders.
The day of networking and recognition began with an empowerment panel discussion featuring Lajuana Bradford, senior vice president of Corporate Social Responsibility at Regions Financial Corp., and actress, producer and author Tonya Lewis-Lee, wife of famed producer and director Spike Lee. The two discussed the importance of diversity for women and minorities in the workforce and having the mental capacity and self-worth to dream big and attain goals no matter the obstacles.
“It will get harder before it gets better,” Lewis-Lee advised the audience of future entrepreneurs. “See your dream and keep working towards it. Don’t give up!”
Similar to ABC’s “Shark Tank,” Regions awarded $5,000 to the best startup company after several Birmingham-area businesses submitted written proposals on what they would do with the money. Birmingham’s Shoe Clinic won the pitch competition with a presentation on growing its sneaker repair company.
- Entrepreneur: Dr. Iyisha Jones, owner/designer of ISHI Boutique, an upscale women’s clothing boutique.
- Innovator: Dr. Anthony Hood, professor, University of Alabama at Birmingham Collat School of Business.
- Leader: Jason Eppenger, market president of Citizen Trust Bank.
- Game Changer: Yazmin Cavale, CEO/co-founder of GLOW, a beauty consulting business.
- Giver: Myla Calhoun, vice president of Charitable Giving at Alabama Power Company and president of the Alabama Power Foundation.
- Creator: Selena Rodgers Dickerson, president of SARCOR LLC, an engineering design, project management and surveying company.
- Energizer: Tracy Morant-Adams, executive vice president of Small Business and Community Development at Renasant Bank.