(WINSTON-SALEM, NORTH CAROLINA) — Among the honorees for the latest Black Business Ink 40 Under 40 Most Influential African Americans in the Triad are judges, bankers, anchors, writers, pastors, realtors and a hemp manufacturer. If that’s not impressive enough to get your attention – also on the list is a former Miss America. 

Nia Imani Franklin, Miss America 2019, headlines an impressive list of the 19-year-old magazine’s 40 Under 40 class. This is the second time Black Business Ink has named a 40 Under 40. The inaugural class, in 2020, was feted in February of that year in spectacular fashion at the Joseph S. Koury Convention Center in Greensboro, North Carolina. 

This year’s honorees will be celebrated on June 9 to kick off the 2022 State of Black North Carolina Conference that will be held on June 9-10 at the Winston-Salem State University Anderson Center. In a letter to the honorees, Black Business Ink Publisher Richard L. Williams, said “I am delighted that you are a member of the Black Business Ink 40 Under 40 club, joining the inaugural class selected in 2020. You were nominated by someone who was impressed by your professional and civic accomplishments. Your pursuit of excellence and unrelenting tenacity are outstanding traits for others to emulate.” 

On June 10, panel discussions on diversity, equity and inclusion will feature leading Black businesspersons including Dr. Tunde Sotunde, president and CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina; Dmitri Stockton, retired president and CEO of GE Asset Management Inc. who sits on the board of Target Corp., Ryder Systems and Deere and Co.; and Willie A. Deese, a retired senior executive at Merck and Co. who sits on the board of BCBS North Carolina. 

Williams founded the nonpartisan conference in 2003 for leaders from business, education, politics, ecumenical, nonprofits, et al, to address disparities in Black and Brown communities across North Carolina. Past conference attendees include the Rev. William Barber, former White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles, former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Henry Frye Sr., Dr. Johnnetta Cole, Sen. Dan Blue and the Honorable U.S. District Court Judge Loretta C. Biggs. 

Complete list of 40 Under 40 honorees: Alana Allen, Tabitha Allen-Draft, Tameshia Branch, Ebony Burnett, Lauren Coleman, Chanel Davis, Nichad Davis, Christina Evans, Crissy Faison, Nia Imani Franklin, Camille Gayle, Maya Gilliam, Britney Hamilton, Sonny Haynes, Crystal Hood, Rev. Kia Hood-Scott, Krystal Jett, John Johnson, Rasheeda Kabba, Jonathan Lowe, Jerald K. Neely, Sean McClure, Jonathan McElderry, DaVonté McKenith, Hasani Mitchell, Dr. Sabreen Mutawally, Marvin Price, Monique Robinson, Quamekia Shavers, Kiya W. Shears, Marcus Shields, Brandon L. Smith, Jamarkus Swinson, Tiffany Waddell Tate, Brooke Thomas, D’Najah Pendergrass Thomas, Joy Nelson Thomas, Marcus Thomas, Ashley Watlington-Simms and Magalie Yacinthe. 

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