By Tim Ryan

Town Center of Virginia Beach was illuminated with the theme “BLACK AUDACITY!” from November 2nd to 4th, 2023, as it embraced a myriad of entrepreneurs, retirees, students, and conference-goers. The eighth annual Black Diamond Weekend (BDW) was a resounding celebration of innovation, networking, and diamond-level business insights.

The weekend brought together hundreds of businesses, from fledgling startups to established giants across Virginia. Participants immersed themselves in revolutionary tracks such as “757 Bias™”, “Black Forbes List”, “Commerce St.”, “Impactology,” and “The Art of Possible.” Each session was crafted to inspire and provide continuing education credits.

BDW transformed networking by introducing attendees to new business and career growth dimensions. The event was marked by thought-provoking plenaries, interactive activations, a Black Vendor Marketplace, and the inaugural 757 Bias™ track, showcasing the finest opportunities our region offers.

This year’s event was bolder and imbued with greater audacity, packed with surprises and enriched opportunities for professional connections. The vibrant atmosphere was palpable, as every participant brought unique energy to the space, leaving an indelible mark on the collective experience.

A Glimpse into the Engagements:

– Nov. 2nd, 11:00 AM: King Ashley Ann led a transformative session in the Content Creators’ Tent, imparting valuable insights into content creation that can catapult an influencer’s status.

– Nov. 3rd, 9:00 AM: Culinary arts met AI in a tantalizing cooking demo that redefined the future of cooking.

– Nov. 4th, 10:00 AM: An exclusive brunch featuring the Wall Street Trapper offered masterclass strategies on building wealth, accompanied by the unique sounds of trap violin.

Beyond the enlightening talks and sessions, the weekend was a tapestry of networking events, competitive pitches, and celebratory gatherings. Each encounter was an opportunity to ignite entrepreneurial spirits and expand networks.

On a personal level, I was grateful to be invited to share the stage with Nancy Grden to share our experiences with merging two non-profits into a single entity.

Memorable Moments:

– Networking Parties: Guests mingled with the elite of Hampton Roads at The Westin, enjoying the tunes of The UCB Band.

– Gala Dinner: The 8th annual Black BRAND gala dinner featured the Black Audacity CEO Roundtable and the Black Diamond Community Awards presentation.

The Grand Finale:

– Nov. 4th, 3:30 PM: BDW wrapped up with a spirited pep rally, a yearbook signing, and a look back on the event’s milestones, celebrating everyone’s collective achievements.

As the curtains closed on BDW 2023, the “Black Audacity” echoes resonated throughout the community, heralding a future ripe with possibility and brimming with the potential for unprecedented collaboration and growth in Hampton Roads. Attendees departed with enhanced knowledge and connections and a reinforced commitment to drive innovation and entrepreneurship in our vibrant region.