Women’s Empowerment Summit Hosted by NBA Stars Marcus and Markieff Morris’ Family Foundation
April 2018 — Since entering the league, NBA veterans and twins Marcus and Markieff Morris have used their good fortune to help others in their hometown of Philadelphia and in the cities where they play. Late last year, the twins, along with Thomas Robinson and their mother Thomasine Morris, established Family Over Everything Foundation, Inc. for their charitable giving.
While the brothers were busy closing out the regular season, Ms. Morris and Amber Soulds, executive director of the Family Over Everything Foundation, hosted a Women’s Empowerment Summit on Saturday, April 7 at the Hilton City Avenue. The summit, which was free and open to the public, was held from 10 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., and provided a day of information and inspiration for women in the Philadelphia area.
The morning opened with a riveting welcome address by Iola Harper, Deputy Commerce Director for the Philadelphia Office of Economic Opportunity. Harper talked about economic empowerment, noting the purchasing power of the women in attendance and encouraging attendees to invest in their communities by supporting local merchants.
Ms. Harper’s comments were followed by a panel discussion on financial literacy moderated by financial empowerment advocate Caroline Valvardi. Panelists included Jessica Green (founder, What College Didn’t Teach Us, LLC), Soneyet Muhammad, (Clarifi), and James Veal (JRV Wealth Management Group, LLC).
Local career coaches Dr. Fatimah Williams Castro (founder, Beyond the Tenure Track) and Dr. Tamiera Harris (CEO, Black Career Coach) led sessions focused on personal branding and strategies for career success.
Attendees were also offered a session on entrepreneurship, in which they were able to hear from Thane Martin and Tamra Childress of The Financial Consulting Firm; Hanifa Samad, owner of Fason De Viv boutique; and Jennifer Dent, health and success coach.
Sean Welch, founding partner of The IM Group, and Chanté Mears of Fulton Mortgage Company were also on hand to answer questions attendees’ questions related to tax issues and homeownership, respectively.
The afternoon keynote address was delivered by Philadelphia educator, entrepreneur and business extraordinaire Dr. Colona Roberts, and the final panel discussion addressed community leadership. Janine Saulsbury (founder, Share for Life, Inc.) moderated a thought provoking discussion about civic engagement and involvement with panelists Sydney Diavua (community engagement associate, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia), Mubarack Lawrence (founder, Rising Community Enterprises, LLC) and Sheshe Segar (executive director of operations, NYC Commission on Human Rights).
Closing with remarks came from motivational speaker, philanthropist, clothing designer and author Andria Mayberry, who gave closing remarks. “Ms. Berry,” who is also the mother of Empire actor Bryshere Gray, shared her experiences in motherhood and spoke about the importance parents advocating for their children.
The Women’s Empowerment Summit, the first Philadelphia event for the newly established Family Over Everything Foundation, was a success. “We wanted to do this because the community in Philadelphia really needs [this information],” remarked Ms. Morris, who noted that the Foundation wants to continue providing this type of programming to residents in the area.