Hampton University

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Celebs Give Business Advice at UNCF Event


HU Director of Student Activities Sharon
Trabbold stands with R&B Singer Ledisi after
her listening party in the HU Student Center.
Ledisi was part of the UNCF Empower Me
Tour and panel discussion.

The United Negro College Fund (UNCF) Empower Me Tour this month cane to Hampton University this month. The tour is being hosted by 11 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU). Entrepreneurship was the event’s focus.

The day’s happenings included information sessions for students, as well as a panel discussion entitled “Purpose, Passion, Power – Successful Entrepreneurs Doing It Their Own Way.” Season Four “The Apprentice” winner Randall Pinkett moderated the panel, which featured young, black entrepreneurs including, comedian and actress Sheryl Underwood, Attorney and Talk Show Host Warren Ballentine and TV One’s Make-Over Manor Life Coach Dee Marshall.

All panelists encouraged students to identify what it is their good at and enjoy doing. Then, be passionate and purposeful about it.

“There’s a difference between a good idea, and God’s instruction,” Marshall said. Pinkett challenged students to keep good people around them who’ll be supportive and truthful.

“Brothers need to check other brothers,” he said. “If you show me your friends, you show me your future.”

Randall Pinkett

Season Four "The Apprentice" Winner Randal
l Pinkett and WAVY TV News Anchor Don
Roberts stand with an HU Student.

He also encouraged students to always be business minded. In addition to his victory on “The Apprentice,” Pinkett is co-founder, chairman and CEO of BCT Partners, a multimillion-dollar management, technology and policy-consulting firm based in Newark, NJ. BCT Partners works with corporations, government agencies and nonprofit organizations in the areas of housing and community development, economic development, human services, government, healthcare and education.

“Entrepreneurship isn’t a thing that you do,” he said. “It’s a way that you think.” A question and answer period followed the panel discussion, as well as a listening party hosted by Ledisi, featuring songs from her latest CD “Turn Me Loose.”

The tour is produced in partnership with Wachovia Wells Fargo Foundation. UNCF is the largest provider of college financial assistance to minority and low-income students.

-Leha Byrd