April Ellerbe | Chief Executive Officer & Sr. Events Manager, New Century Planning.
April brings more than 12 years of relationship management and major events coordination experience to this venture; both as the National Sales Manager with the Durham Convention and Visitors Bureau (NC) as well as within several other successful entrepreneurial endeavors including “New Century Planning,” a national Events & Hospitality Management firm she founded. She not only assists in managing the firm’s strategic growth and development, but also plays an integral role in the day-to-day operations of expanding the program’s servicing outlet. April most recently served as Director of National Accounts with the Pinehurst Resort where she was responsible for driving and generating national group-business, specifically in the areas of National Defense, Government & Military Contracting, Education, and Religious Groups. She has developed and maintained professional relationships with clients such as the Fort Bragg Pope Air Force Base, USARC, FORSCOM, USASOC, Fort McPherson, Fort Hood, Booz Allen, K2 Solutions, General Dynamics, and Lockheed Martin.
April was recently featured in Fayetteville, NC’s own “Elite Magazine” as one of the most “influential people in the Fort Bragg community,” and has had the privilege of working with a number of professional communities, including:
Additionally, at conference held at the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art in uptown Charlotte on Tuesday May 22nd, the city’s 2012 Convention Host Committee announced April Ellerbe as one of 13 event planners in the US selected to manage welcome events for the 2012 Democratic National Convention Delegates. New Century Planning, whose emerging event management firm was selected as part of the DNC official event listing, will host delegates from Nevada, New Mexico, Guam, American Samoa, Wyoming, and Utah at the Historic Duke Mansion of Charlotte.
T.J. Breeden | Chairman & Sr. Small Business Analyst, eMerging Entrepreneurs, Inc.
T.J. Breeden’s passion for small business development is deeply rooted in his undergraduate career at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he majored in Economics and heavily participated in entrepreneurial symposiums administered by the Kenan-Flagler Business School. Wanting to further expand upon his knowledge in the areas of entrepreneurialism and developmental business strategies, T.J. later enrolled in the distinguished School of Continuing & Professional Studies at New York University; concentrating his studies in Organizational Development & Management Studies. His passion for knowledge provides him with a comprehensive understanding of various business, management, and developmental concepts. Also during his early undergraduate years at UNC, he was also initiated as a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.
On Thursday, May 24th, the White House Office of Public Engagement honored T.J. Breeden asone ofeleven individuals within the veterans’ community; those who served in Vietnam as well as those whose organizations support veterans’ advancement; who are “Champions of Change,” in conjunction with President Obama’s “Winning the Future” initiative. These individuals have shown continued support for efforts to end veterans’ homelessness, boost veterans’ employment, treat problems with substance abuse, and develop treatment programs for those dealing with PTSD. T.J. has also serves on the City of Durham’s “Small Business Advisory Committee” at the invitation of the Office of Employment & Workforce Development.
Further fueled by the entrepreneurial spirit, T.J. also serves as Founder of The IbL Media Group; a literary publishing and digital marketing firm based out of North Carolina. A published author himself; having released 5 major projects in addition to an advanced, digital magazine set to release in the Fall of 2012; he has dedicated himself to supporting the independent literary aspirations of local artists. His combination of educational training, small business acumen, and entrepreneurial experience will prove valuable within both the expo’s leadership structure as well as its Small Business focuses.
Joi Hawkins | Director of Brand Management & Promotion, New Century Planning.
The Director of Brand Management and Promotion will assume the leadership role of planning and implementing promotional initiatives pertaining to the event’s exposure generating initiatives. Joi will be responsible for managing and executing projects and marketing plans intended to maximize convention exposure, which will include developing objectives and strategies for overall effectiveness and execution. She will also help to design programs in the scope of the event’s targeted message, and develop marketing, advertising, and media programs.
Joi Hawkins has over 14 years’ experience in the hospitality and meeting planning industry. She began her career in North Carolina as a Sales manager, selling meeting space and hotel services to the Business Transient, Education and Government markets. After moving to New York to work at the Millennium Hotel in Times Square in the conference planning arena, she moved back to North Carolina and worked her way to the role of Director of Sales & marketing and managed a staff of seven employees in Sales & catering.
In 2007 she left the hotel industry, and began working full time in the meeting planning industry with different companies such as 5 STAR PLAN and Paragon International. She has held such roles as on site coordinator for US and International Meetings and Director of Business Development. She has assisted in the logistical planning of hundreds of meetings both small and large in the US as well as Europe, Thailand, Spain, Canada, Argentina etc. She has had the opportunity to work on all facets of meeting planning including: Budget Creation, Hotel/Housing/Site & Vendor Selection, Contract Negotiations, on -site facilitation and Post Program Wrap up. Having an in depth knowledge of both industries allows for a better understanding regarding spending and budgets, and also what it takes to have a successful meeting.
Michelle Roberts, MBA | Sr. Project Manager, eMerging Entrepreneurs, Inc.
Michelle is the Founder of Roberts Business Solutions, and has over 15 years of executive management experience in both an administrative & project management capacity. Michelle’s vast experience in these area will prove invaluable as she serves within the role of Senior Project Manager; taking on the task of assisting with the coordination of small business training programs within the Small Business Symposium. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from Strayer University with a concentration in Project Development, and also serves as the Major Projects Liaison at the School of Law at North Carolina Central University.
Tony Dhillon, CPA | Small Business Analyst, eMerging Entrepreneurs, Inc.
Tony Dhillon is a graduate of North Carolina State University, earning a degree in Accounting with a concentration focus in Financial Analysis and Cost Management. He later expanded his financial background by obtaining his Series 7 and Series 66 brokers licenses as he entered the Financial Advisory and Wealth Management industries. He started his career working within the accounting department of a prominent building company in Chapel Hill, NC. He later moved to the investment advisory field as a Financial Consultant for a number of years; working for such companies as American Express Financial Advisors, Ameriprise Financial, and SunTrust Investment Services. Eventually, Tony migrated back into his calling within the accounting industry, working as a Senior Accountant for Headway Workforce Solutions, a project based staffing firm where he worked closely with the management team in the overall accounting functions of the company. In addition he provides tax consultation services for Intuit which is one of the largest tax and accounting software companies in the world. The company developed such accounting software’s as QuickBooks, Turbo Tax, and Quicken.
An entrepreneur himself, he has also worked with numerous small businesses and individuals as it relates to various tax, accounting, cost management, and consulting matters. Tony has a superior knowledge of various accounting requirements for those small businesses working towards or attempting to secure various federal government contracts. He provides Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA) compliance services for Emerging Entrepreneurs and is able to guide small business owners in making sure their accounting function is setup correctly in order to remain in good standing with various federal contracting agencies. Tony prides himself on using the knowledge he has acquired to help individuals navigate through what can be very complicated financial issues. His expertise, and the value of his experience has proven to be tremendous resources to the eMerging Entrepreneurs servicing program, and will be equally as valuable in coordinating the Small Business Symposium component of the Momentum Expo.