(CHARLOTTE) – February 22, 2019 – On Saturday, February 16th, the National Basketball Wives Association (NBWA) (www.nbwassoc.org), held its 2nd Annual “Women’s Empowerment Summit” in Charlotte, NC, during NBA All-Star Weekend. The event was hosted by Cari Champion (ESPN) and Baron Davis (Former Two-Time NBA All-Star), presented by Morgan Stanley, Business Inside the Game, and NBA Cares. The Summit benefited NBWA official partner charity March of Dimes and local Charlotte youth mentorship program Girl Talk Foundation, Inc.
The thematic for 2019 was “The Evolution of Women in Business”. Over 200 powerful women and men arrived at Foundation for the Carolinas to connect and share their life experiences as entrepreneurs, business professionals, thought leaders, and community organizers.
The day began with VIPs being greeted by NBWA President Mia Wright, along with delectable hors d’oeuvres as they arrived. Attendees networked inside of the beautiful venue, as they placed bids on silent auction items.
The illustrious two-part event began with a VIP luncheon, which honored former BET Networks Chairwoman Debra Lee, Google’s Global Head of Women & Black Community Engagement Valeisha Butterfield Jones, NBA Charlotte Hornets G-League affiliate, Greensboro Swarm Coach Chasity Melvin and NBWA Lifetime Member and Charlotte, NC native Courtney Ajinça.
After the luncheon, an All-Star panel line-up featuring NBA Wives Ayesha Curry, CleRenda McGrady, Shannon Allen and Sandra L. Richards, published author & Morgan Stanley Head of Global Sports & Entertainment, inspired attendees with personal journeys and key insights into gaining success in their various industries as pioneers, debunking the work-life balance myth. “There is a Season for everything”, shared Life-Coach and published author CleRenda McGrady.2019 Honorees Valeisha Butterfield Jones and Debra Lee discussed their plights as women in the corporate arena and the importance of diversity and inclusion. Actresses and powerhouse brands, Gabrielle Union-Wade and La La Anthony both addressed the pros and cons of being labeled a “Basketball Wife” and the drive to establishing their own paths for success.
The finale featured a special celebrity guest segment moderated by Cari Champion, Now That’s Real Talk: A Conversation with Jada Pinkett Smith. The Actress touched on the challenges of balancing marriage, motherhood, and dealing with pain from your past that left the audience deeply impacted.
Produced by Charlotte, NC based Event Design Company Jarrett Affairs and Baron Davis’ BIG (Business Inside the Game), other special guests in attendance included Jada Pinkett Smith’s Red Table Talk Co-Hosts, daughter Willow Smith and mother Adrienne Banfield-Norris. Additional notable guests included Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles, Gayle King, Sydel Curry and Sonya Curry, Roland Martin, former NBA player Antonio Davis, Nina Westbrook (wife of Russell Westbrook), Derek “Fonzworth Bentley” Watkins, Kelly Davis, Thomas Davis, Defending Dreams Foundation, Ashtyn Montgomery (girlfriend of Kemba Walker), Kay’la Hanson (girlfriend of Damian Lillard), Dee Dee Abdur-Rahim (Wife of NBA G-League President Shariff Abdur-Rahim), Ione Rucker Jamison and Ruby Rucker Cooper.
As the event concluded, each attendee was provided with a special gift bag. The posh gift bags included exclusive items from premium sponsors Britto, Raycon, Sol de Janeiro, The Giving Keys, HUE For Every Man, Buttah by Dorion Renaud, Stone Castle Vineyard & Winery, Savorfull and Tieks by Gavrieli.
Visit NBWA’s YouTube Channel for an exclusive event recap
Event Photo Gallery