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California Black Media, AAC Host 4th Annual Summit

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By Cynthia Manker, Special to CBM –

California Black Media (CBM), a statewide media advocacy group, hosted its 4th Annual Summit and Newsmaker Reception in partnership with the League of California Cities African American Caucus on Thursday, May 19, 2011 at the Sheraton Grand Sacramento from 2:00 to 6:00 pm. This informative and empowering conference was attended by media publ ishers, media representat ives, elected officials, entrepreneurs, non-profit representatives, and other dignitaries.

The program began with a warm welcome by Cheryl Brown, cofounder of CBM. Following her welcome, there was an introduction of guest speakers for the first panel titled “contracting with our small businesses.” The panelists were Margaret Rawls, supplier diversity manager, PG&E, Debbie Lumpkin, senior manager of supplier diversity, SCE, and Rick Hobbs, director of diverse business enterprises, Sempra Utilities.

Moderating the supplier diversity panel was the on-point Tommy Ross, founder and former chair, Research & Policy Institute of California. The panelists disseminated critical information regarding their respective company policies in contracting with small business and diverse suppliers.

All three panelists agreed that small and diverse businesses bring new and creative solutions in the delivery of materials and services that ultimately better serve their customers. However, each panelist acknowledged that they weren’t doing enough to recruit minority businesses.

Nonetheless, they said they’re committed to increasing the numbers.

Lumpkin expanded on the success of SCE Supplier University (SCESU), a new supplier development initiative that offers a wide array of development opportunities including mentoring, workshops, and experiential learning.

SCESU works closely with new and existing small and diverse business enterprises (DBEs).

The next topic was themed “crisis in education” and was definitely an emotion-raising subject. The panel of passionate educators consisted of David Sanchez, president, California Teachers Association, Jeff Vaca, COO, California School Boards Association, Linda Morris-Williams, associate chancellor, UC Berkeley, and Marianne Steverson, CFO, Voices for African American Students.

This panel discussion covered a plethora of issues plaguing the education system in California.

The challenges include teacher training, tenure policies, and budget cuts. The question and answer session revealed additional trials faced by educators including overcrowded classes (48 students), testing preparation, which leaves little teaching time, a high percentage of foster children, and much more. The solution to the crisis, per the panelist is increased funding, additional mandatory teacher training, and implemented programs that will push California to the top of the quality education charts.

At the conclusion of the program, a special presentation was given to Karen Massie, news reporter for ABC 10. Massie was selected as CBM’s 2011 Newsmaker for her quality journalism skills and excellent community service. Massie joined News 10 in Sacramento in December 1987.

Although she is a general assignment reporter, her specialty is educational issues.

Karen has been honored with a number of industry awards from the Associated Press, Sigma Delta Chi Award and the California Teachers Association. Karen earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from Ohio State Universi ty. She also attended University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music where she majored in Opera. She is an active member of the community and her hobbies include directing and singing with gospel choirs, and racing Formula Ford racing cars.

She is currently the only black woman in the United States driving an open-wheel, open cockpit car. Karen thanked CBM for the award. She also shared a touching story of her high school experience leading to her career success.

“There is power in positive encouragement and reinforcement from teachers,” said Massie.

For more information about CBM visit calblackmedia.com or contact Ashley Jones at (951) 682-2664.

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