Top 25 black event professionals in the event industry

Meet our Top 25 Black Professionals in the Events Industry.

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Posted on February 26, 2024

In a world where diversity and inclusion are increasingly recognized as pillars of success, it’s essential to spotlight those who are paving the way for future generations in every industry. The events industry, with its unique blend of creativity, logistics, and customer service, is no exception. This vibrant sector thrives on the contributions of professionals from all walks of life, yet the achievements of Black professionals within this space have often been overlooked. 

As we celebrate Black History Month this year, we’re changing that narrative by introducing you to the top 25 Black professionals in the events industry. These trailblazers have excelled in creating unforgettable experiences and demonstrated leadership, innovation, and a commitment to excellence that inspires us all. Join us in celebrating their accomplishments and contributions to making the events industry more diverse, inclusive, and successful.

Top 25 Black Professionals in the Events Industry.

Meet our Top 25 Black Professionals in the Events Industry
  1. Rita Okoye – Vice President Event Manager at J.P. Morgan

With over 20 years of experience in global event management, marketing communications, and business development, Rita is dedicated to creating high-value events that enhance brand visibility and client engagement. She has earned multiple awards and accolades for her exceptional performance and results.

Meet our Top 25 Black Professionals in the Events Industry
  1. Ciara Jabari – CEO and Executive Producer of Evolve Creative

Ciara has established a boutique creative agency dedicated to helping clients share their stories and engage audiences in impactful ways. With creative strategies, digital design, and event production expertise, Ciara collaborates with clients to execute effective campaigns.

Meet our Top 25 Black Professionals in the Events Industry - Tavar James
  1. Tavar James – Senior Director, Global Head of Field Marketing & Events

Tavar is passionate about bringing people together creatively and strategically to amplify a brand’s message. With a proven track record of developing teams and functions that deliver outstanding results, he champions events as a results-driven marketing and engagement channel.

Meet our Top 25 Black Professionals in the Events Industry
  1. Catriona Smart – Founder of That Good Inc

and owner of event venues, Catriona is a seasoned entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience in hospitality and event design. She champions diversity and women’s empowerment while creating successful businesses and supporting charitable initiatives.

Amber Owens - Meet our Top 25 Black Professionals in the Events Industry
  1. Amber Owens

As an event producer and marketing strategist at BrandFelt Activation, Amber crafts unique experiences that bridge online and offline interactions. Her agency specializes in micro-events and brand activations that foster customer loyalty and engagement.

Meet our Top 25 Black Professionals in the Events Industry
  1. Ron Thomas – Director of Events at Future Innovation Summit

Ron leads an organization that operates seamlessly, with each function collaborating to achieve success. Ron has cultivated a culture of excellence and innovation through effective strategic leadership and development programs.

Alex V. Sterling
  1. Alex V. Sterling

A versatile professional with expertise in project management, event planning, and executive liaison roles. Sterling’s journey beautifully illustrates the diverse skills needed to be a successful executive liaison. Starting from a customer service job in a call center to mastering the details of state protocol during his time at the Governor General’s Office. Sterling shows how varied experiences can equip someone to handle complex situations effectively. His story encourages readers to embrace a wide range of skills and be ready to adapt, especially in the ever-changing world of professional life. 

Tamika Smith
  1. Tamika Smith, Owner of Eyekhan Studios

Tamika specializes in Creative production with a focus on events and visual experiences. She exemplifies this by creating immersive messages through fabrication and design in out-of-home, retail merchandising, theater and stage production, live events, and brand activations spaces, and she also sings professionally for internationally acclaimed award-winning artists.  

Raphael Sofoluke
  1. Raphael Sofoluke – Founder and CEO of the UK Black Business Show

Raphael is an accomplished entrepreneur, author, and visionary. He is the driving force and CEO behind the UK Black Business Show, UK Black Business Week, Birmingham Black Business Show, and Black Tech Achievement Awards. Established in 2017, the UK Black Business Show is a prominent conference and exhibition held during Black History Month, dedicated to showcasing and promoting businesses founded by individuals from the Black community. 

Endorsed by Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, and David Lammy, MP for Tottenham, the show serves as a platform to highlight the remarkable achievements and contributions of Black businesses to the economy. Attendees can gain valuable insights and advice on entrepreneurship, leadership, and business from some of the UK’s foremost Black business professionals.

Crystal Powell
  1. Crystal Powell – Renowned Executive Chef and Food Stylist

She is a highly esteemed executive who is the proprietor of Kanvas, a restaurant known for its unique approach to hospitality. At Kanvas, we aspire to foster a space where exceptional individuals come together to craft their own memorable experiences. We take great pride in our collaborative approach with clients, ensuring that we offer tailored solutions to fulfill their requirements. Our commitment to exceeding expectations is evident in our attentive listening to requests and dedication to exceeding above and beyond to deliver exceptional service.

Cameron Bailey
  1. Cameron Bailey – CEO of TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival)

As the Chief Executive Officer of TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival), he spearheads the vision, strategy, and overall leadership of one of Canada’s foremost cultural institutions. Responsible for orchestrating the world’s largest public film festival, held annually in September, he plays a pivotal role in shaping the festival’s direction and impact. Additionally, he is a voting member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the esteemed organization behind the Oscars. Recognized for his contributions to the arts, he has been honored as a Chevalier in France’s Order of Arts and Letters. His influence extends beyond the film industry, as Toronto Life magazine has lauded him as one of the city’s 50 most influential figures.

Tre James
  1. Tre James – CEO and Executive Producer at Production Rockstars

As a curious child, Mr. James embarked on a journey initially sparked by an encounter at a public access TV station in Atlanta. From that moment, Mr. Tre James ventured into diverse realms, including live events. He broadcast TV production, gradually expanding his expertise across various domains such as sports, entertainment, corporate, and experimental projects. Drawing from his rich experience in live events, broadcast, live streaming, site logistics, and his innate creative flair, Production Rockstars came into existence.

Jared Wilson
  1. Jared Wilson – Chief Innovation Officer and Managing Director of Global Sales at ABCD & Company

Jared is a recognized leader, seasoned in innovation, growth, and data-driven business strategy, with a track record of excellence in strategic client engagement and new business development. His exceptional abilities have propelled him to the position of Chief Innovation Officer and Managing Director of Global Sales at ABCD & Company, a marketing and events consulting firm. Known for his strong communication skills, he has successfully built teams, led complex projects, and implemented strategies to drive success.

Tobi Olanihun
  1. Tobi Olanihun – CXO (Chief Experience Officer)

She is a forward-thinker committed to event production and project management, boasting over a decade of professional experience across private and corporate sectors. Her expertise lies in crafting extraordinary experiences, both in-person and virtually. With a proven track record, she has led diverse teams to create unforgettable customer experiences, orchestrating events and shows worldwide, from Lagos and Abuja to Accra, Atlanta, and New York. Known for her innovative approach, she takes great pride in delivering experiential solutions tailored to clients’ brand journeys at every stage.

Donovan Woodberry
  1. Donovan Woodberry-  Creator, The Black Excellence Gala

She is the creator of A Celebration of Us and The Posh Standard Media Group. The moniker “Posh Standard” draws inspiration from the connotations of “posh” as stylish, luxurious, and elite, coupled with “standard,” denoting a benchmark of accepted quality. This initiative represents an innovative endeavor to foster unity and elevate the interactions of African Americans within society and among themselves.

Event services by Nhychelle
  1. Nhychelle Lowe

A highly organized Global Events Manager with extensive experience in event management and production, Nhychelle excels in facilitating collaboration and delivering exceptional results under pressure. She combines outstanding communication and influencing skills to help her clients and turn their visions ‘’into tangible experiences and lasting memories.’’

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  1. Nikeva Lawrence

Lead Planner and CEO of Southwind Events, Nikeva is dedicated to creating dream weddings and events that reflect her clients’ unique style and vision. Nikeva’s brainchild, SouthWind Events, applies a sharp eye for design and communication and utilizes the importance of one-on-one conversations with the couple to curate a wedding experience that truly resonates with their essence, which can be seen in the size of her clientele over the years.

Nikeva Meet our Top 25 Black Professionals in the Events Industry

Nikeva, through her organization, has been putting smiles on the faces of many couples in Chicago and Northwest Indiana.

  1. Jacquie Noel – CEO of the Pryncess Foundation

Jacquie supports women in unlocking their potential and creating positive change through coaching and consulting services. She is committed to helping individuals and businesses discover their highest potential and drive real change.

Jacquie Noel - CEO of the Pryncess Foundation

For this leader, women and their upliftment ultimately matter, and that is why the Pryncess Foundation supports women across all levels and equips them with the tools and resources to thrive in a world that deliberately silences them. 

  1. Ebony Stewart – Event Planner at EbonyCattouse Events

Ebony boasts over a decade of experience planning weddings and corporate events worldwide, ensuring seamless execution and unforgettable experiences for her clients. A journey down her website shows you the level of expertise of this certified Travel Specialist, who finds satisfaction in helping clients get to the ‘destination’ of their dreams. 

Ebony Stewart

What makes Ebony Stewart a standout is not the size of her Instagram followers or her wealth of experience but her ability to create long-lasting experiences no matter the kind of event. 

  1. Karen D. Foster – Experience Curator, Event Producer, and Community Connector

Karen specializes in strategic event planning and flawless execution, ensuring all deliverables and timelines are met. She is known for producing flawlessly executed events, cultivating equitable experiences, and creating space for historically excluded communities.

karen D. Foster
  1. Andrew Roby – Event Planner and Fundraising Specialist

Since 2005, Andrew has produced over 600 events and helped clients raise more than 150 million dollars. His mission is to create meaningful events that make a positive impact, and he has been recognized for his outstanding work by international organizations and brands.

Andrew Roby
  1. Tachand Dubuisson – Chief Experience Producer at APT-122

Tachand is dedicated to amplifying diverse voices through live experiences and reshaping the future of storytelling in the experiential industry. She inspires change and cultivates inclusive experiences, creating safe spaces for brands and creatives.

Black Professionals in the Events Industry
  1. André Wells – Chief Event Planner, André by Wells

André is known for his exceptional ability to produce critically acclaimed events of all scopes and sizes. His keen vision and ingenuity have earned him recognition as one of the top event planners in the country, with clients ranging from Walt Disney to President Barack Obama.

André Wells

  1.  LaToya Williams – Manager, Global Accounts at HelmsBriscoe

LaToya Williams boasts over 23 years of hospitality expertise, adeptly managing events of all scales. She navigates venue selection, logistics, and vendor coordination with a keen eye for detail, ensuring flawless execution. LaToya’s commitment to excellence shines through in her tailored approach to each project, delivering unparalleled experiences. Leveraging her role at HelmsBriscoe, she cultivates strategic partnerships and negotiates contracts to maximize client value. Her track record speaks volumes about her dedication to surpassing expectations and crafting extraordinary event experiences.

Latoya  Black Professionals in the Events Industry
  1. Brittney Escovedo – Founder, Beyond8

If you love Nike, Gucci, and Solange Knowles, then there is a high chance you have experienced the sheer brilliance of Brittney Escovedo. Born and raised in the Bay Area in a family of scientists and creatives (fun fact: the iconic Sheila E is her aunt), it made a lot of sense for Brittney to fall in love with the world of entertainment, fashion, and lifestyle, which she nurtured and founded Beyond8, an experiential agency, offering experiential event production for the fashion, technology, art, music, and entertainment industries with brands such as Nike, Sephora, Gucci, and Universal Studios all in their clientele. 

Brittney Escovedo

To wrap up. 

In conclusion, the world of event planning and experiential design is not just about logistics and schedules; it’s about creating moments that leave a lasting impression on their audience. Each of these 25 innovators brings their unique blend of creativity, passion, and expertise to the table, transforming ordinary events into unforgettable experiences. As we look towards the future of events in 2024, one thing is clear: these trailblazers are just getting started. Their work inspires and shapes the industry, promising even more innovative and breathtaking event experiences.

These event professionals represent the diversity, talent, and innovation driving the events industry forward. They continue to inspire and empower others in the field through their leadership, creativity, and commitment to excellence.

Join InEvent in celebrating their contributions and accomplishments in the events industry. 


If you made it to this point, we have a FREE Event Management resource for you. Download your copy of our “Event Trends 2024″ ebook to discover the latest trends that guarantee engaging and successful events this year.

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