WCLO: Rock County Jumpstart hosts Black Business Month luncheon

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Rock County’s black businesses accelerator is highlighting the good work done by local individuals to foster the growth of Black and Latino-owned businesses.

Rock County Jumpstart Executive Director Genia Stevens says Madison Region Economic Partnership President and CEO Jason Fields will be the keynote speaker for the annual Black Business Luncheon.

Stevens says the event will take place at noon on August 12th at the Beloit Historical Society.

Stevens says several awards will be given out, including the Legacy Award, Business of the Year, Lotus Award, Peer Mentor of the Year, and Mentor of the Year.

While the tickets – which include lunch from Backyard Barbecue – are free, they do need to be reserved in advance on the Rock County Jump Start website.

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Justin Jones-Fosu to Speak on Sustainable Excellence and Bring Passion to Your Work

Justin Jones-Fosu MBA, CSP, is a full-time father with ventures in keynote speaking, social entrepreneurship, and meaningful work research. Currently, Jones-Fosu is the founder and CEO of Work. Meaningful. where he works to help others shift their perspective on their own work from finding work that they are passionate about to bringing passion to the work they are currently doing.

Jones-Fosu’s inspiration to start Work. Meaningful. came from his own experiences working in the business world. He started a dishwashing business at 14 and eventually landed a leadership position at a top financial firm.

At his firm, Jones-Fosu began experiencing the same workplace emotions that plague much of the workforce today – wondering whether there was any meaning to his work and looking forward to the weekend and vacations more than going to work. To combat this, Jones-Fosu asked himself two questions: “Who is the only person I can control?” and “What do I want to get out of this experience?”

These two questions helped shift Jones-Fosu’s perspective and his approach to work. Once he made the shift from trying to find his passion to being passionate about where he was at, the promotions and leadership positions began coming in droves.

After more than a decade in leadership roles at Fortune 500 companies, Jones-Fosu, pivoted to using his experience and research to help organizations create new rhythms of sustainable excellence, profitability, and engagement to inspire peak performance, well-being and empowerment for their employees.

Be sure to experience Justin Jones-Fosu’s dynamic and engaging presentation at the Madison Region Economic Development & Diversity Summit taking place on Tuesday, August 16 at the Monona Terrace Community & Convention Center (One John Nolen Drive, Madison, 53703) from 8:00 am to 3:00 pm.

Tickets are on sale now at

Javier Ávila to Bring His Unique Blend of Social Justice and Storytelling to the 2022 Summit

The 9th annual Madison Region Economic Development & Diversity Summit returns for an in-person gathering of business and community leaders committed to advancing workforce diversity, social justice and economic inclusion. Hosted by MadREP and the Urban League of Greater Madison, participants will hear from dynamic national, regional, and local speakers while engaging in ample networking opportunities.

One of the featured keynote speakers at the Summit will be Dr. Javier Ávila. Dr. Ávila is a man of many talents, all of which are on display in his one-man show, “The Trouble with My Name”, where he skillfully combines poetry and comedy to shed light on the American Latino experience.

While Dr. Ávila’s show has been a raging success with 150 shows in 22 different states, he has also experienced success in other avenues, most notably in academia where he was the first Latino to be named Professor of the Year for the state of Pennsylvania. Dr. Ávila is also an award-winning novelist having won the ICP Book of the Year Award and the Pen Club Book of the Year Award for his novels El Papel del Difunto and La Simetría del Tiempo, respectively. This will be Dr. Ávila’s first performance in Wisconsin.

The Madison Region Economic Development & Diversity Summit will take place on Tuesday, August 16th at the Monona Terrace Community & Convention Center (One John Nolen Drive, Madison, 53703) from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm. Tickets are currently on sale and can be purchased at this link. Purchase your tickets by July 1st to take advantage of the early bird special. On July 2nd, ticket prices will increase from $199 to $249.