Previous Conferences

2021 A Seat At Our Table Conference and Pitch Competition

Duke Fuqua’s Black and Latinx MBA Organization (BLMBAO) is thrilled to virtually convene for the 2021 ‘A Seat at Our Table’ Black and Latinx Business Conference & Pitch Competition. Slated for March 5-6, 2021, ‘A Seat at Our Table’ is an annual event providing resources, networking, and support for Black and Latinx companies, diverse business leaders, and students while advancing critical thought leadership affecting underrepresented minorities in the workplace. Fittingly, our theme is ‘Building and Sustaining Momentum for Black and Latinx Businesses’ as we look to build on our community’s resilience in a post COVID-19 reality. Who should attend? Students, entrepreneurs, and business leaders of color as well as allies in business who invest in and advance diversity and inclusion.

This year, Duke Fuqua’s BLMBAO is excited to offer conference attendees free admission, and we look forward to building on the conference’s mission by hosting a pitch competition aimed at entrepreneurs on March 6th

Access the Pitch Competition’s application here.

Duke Fuqua Students Please Note: BLMBAO does not encourage participation in place of class but encourages student attendance around class times.

Friday's Agenda

 Refresh & Reset – Seated Yoga with Utopia Spa and Global Wellness

Friday, March 5th, 8:00 am – 8:30 am ET

Join Naya Powell, Founder, for a refreshing chair yoga session to start your day. Seated Yoga is a gentle form of yoga that can be done sitting on a chair or standing on the ground while using the chair for support. It is beneficial if you have limited mobility or if you want to practice yoga while at work or conferencing. All Levels Welcome! 

 Opening Keynote Address by Cara Sabin, CEO at Sundial Brands

Friday, March 5th, 9:00 am – 9:30 am ET

Prior to Sundial Brands, Cara held senior-level positions at Johnson & Johnson on Neutrogena, a leading mass beauty brand, and on KORRES, a prestige homeopathic Greek beauty brand. Before Johnson & Johnson, she held positions as Executive Director for Color Cosmetics as well as for Skincare at Avon Products, Inc., the world’s largest beauty direct seller. Cara’s beauty experience is rounded out by several years at L’Oreal, where she was the Assistant Vice President of Marketing for the L’Oreal Paris Haircare division. Cara also worked for Capital One Financial, where she launched the first “What’s in Your Wallet?” campaign, and at Kraft Foods, where she worked on the venerable Maxwell House coffee brand, among others.

Sundial Brands is a leading haircare and skincare company recognized for its innovative use of high-quality and culturally authentic ingredients. Sundial’s brands include SheaMoisture, Nubian Heritage, Madam C.J. Walker and nyakio™. Through its Community Commerce business model, B Corp and Fair for Life certifications, Sundial’s approach complements the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan (USLP) to accelerate growth while increasing positive social impact.Fri


Investing, Circulating, & Growing the Black and Brown Dollar

Friday, March 5th, 9:30 am – 10:30 am ET
In 2020, many large corporations made promising commitments to improving racial equity practices including higher representation of diverse suppliers along the supply chain. While representation at a corporate level is important, there is a fundamental need to revisit what it means to invest and grow diverse businesses. In this panel, panelists such as financial investors, policymakers, community changemakers, and innovators discuss the importance of investing directly in and retaining wealth in Black and Latinx businesses and communities, as well as how various stakeholders are successfully retaining and growing the Black and Brown Dollar to make good on corporate promises.

How can Institutions Build Supportive Ecosystems for Greater Inclusion?

Friday, March 5th, 10:30 am – 11:30 am ET
In the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement and COVID-19’s disproportionate impact on Black and Latinx communities, this panel focuses on dismantling White supremacy in the workplace, problem-solving on the edges (not solely for the majority), and building a truly diverse and inclusive culture through improved awareness and accountability in various institutional environments.

@plantkween x BLMBAO: Eat, Learn, Grow

Friday, March 5th, 12:00 pm – 12:30 pm ET
During lunch hour,  join Christopher Griffin, AKA @PlantKween, for a refreshing plant lesson and musings on all things botanical, community, and authenticity. 
From Brooklyn, N.Y., Griffin is NYU’s LGBTQ+ Center assistant director, a collaborator with the plant subscription service Horti, plant influencer and the subject of a profile on

If Not Now, then When? The Intersection of Business Leadership and Running for Elected Positions 

Friday, March 5th, 12:30 pm – 1:30 pm ET
As business leaders, it is vital that we are included as stewards of civic and corporate engagement to holistically and effectively support our communities. BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) constituents are under-represented in the makeup of our government as well as corporate and non-profit boards. In this panel, we discuss one solution: running for political offices and board seats. An intersectional and diverse set of panelists also dive into the very real systemic challenges and how they overcame them. 

Fireside Chat in Partnership with the Fuqua/Coach K Center on Leadership & Ethics (COLE): Advocacy in Sports Management

Friday, March 5th, 1:30 pm – 2:30 pm ET
In this panel, we cover players that have used their platform to spotlight injustice and chosen ceremonial moments to take a stand. We also highlight and analyze reactions from various stakeholders, namely management, and discuss future implications of advocacy in sports management.

BIPOC Representation in Marketing and Advertising

Friday, March 5th, 2:30 – 3:30 pm ET

Accurate and empowering representations of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color), both offline and offline, are truly important to business success and continuity. As Marketing and Advertising campaigns evolve in industries such as technology and consumer packaged goods, BIPOC want to make purchases from businesses that operate with diverse and inclusive values that are shown in the imagery businesses use in marketing campaigns and the products they feature. In this panel, speakers discuss why representation matters, its impact on greater society as well as the bottom line, and the actions that need to be taken to accelerate change. We also highlight real and exciting examples of successful marketing and advertising campaigns from both the campaign creator and consumer perspectives.

Saturday's Agenda

Pitch Competition Welcome

Saturday, March 6th, 9:30 am – 10:15 am ET

Finalist Pitch Competition – LIVE

Saturday, March 6th, 10:15 am – 12:00 pm ET

Watch live as entrepreneurs from diverse industries make their pitch to an all-star cast of judges. These five Black and Latinx-founded early-stage ventures compete for $10,000 worth of investment funding to advance their business.  Attendees will also have the opportunity to vote for the winner of Crowd’s Favorite. 

Pitch Competition Winners Announced & Closing

Saturday, March 6th, 12:00 pm – 12:30 pm ET

2021 Conference Fellows

Michelle Williams, 2nd Year
Malena Lopez-Sotelo, 2nd Year
Iboro Ikene, 1st Year
Lindsey Morgan, 1st Year
Syed Murtaza, 1st Year