IN THE BLACK Tour Salutes Multicultural Houston Small Business Owners

ABOVE: Kim Roxie, Houston Native & Founder of LAMIK Beauty; Winner of Odyssey Media’s “Keys to Success,” a $25,000 pitch competition

This past Friday, November 10th, over 150 women attended the 3rd Annual IN THE BLACK tour event for free, thanks to the generosity of The Coca-Cola Company and their partner Odyssey Media, the leading brand in the empowerment of multicultural women.

For the third consecutive year, the tour is a part of The Coca-Cola Company’s 5by20 program, an initiative developed to enable the economic empowerment of 5 million women entrepreneurs worldwide by the year 2020.

Carla Lane, Kim Roxie, Jackie Adams, Shawn Flowers, Denise Hamilton and State Rep. Shawn Thierry giving standing ovation

“We know that women are the pillars of our communities. We strongly believe in investing in women to foster economic growth and sustainable development,” said Lori George Billingsley, Vice President of Community Connections at The Coca-Cola Company. “We are proud to support women entrepreneurs by partnering with Odyssey Media’s IN THE BLACK Tour, a program that empowers women to build businesses, support their families and shape their communities.”

In a September 2nd Business Insider article, Houston business owners expressed that their small businesses, which make up 99% of Houston’s companies, face a long road of restoration after Hurricane Harvey devastated parts of Houston on Aug. 31. According to the article, many lack large cash revenues and are suffering from having to shut down temporarily or permanently due to extensive damages.

Linda Spradley Dunn, CEO and Founder of Odyssey Media, is quoted as saying “Harvey has been especially difficult for Black and Latina small business owners and it has discouraged many who wanted to start a business. Our sisters need us, and we will be there! We will customize the program and focus on where women can get immediate help.”

The Odyssey Media team did just that, as the customized program introduced 5 dynamic Houston businesswomen – Carla Lane, President and CEO of LaneStaffing; Jackie Adams, Owner of MELODRAMA Boutique; Denise Hamilton, CEO of WatchHerWork; Shawn Flowers, Professional natural hair stylist; and Kim Roxie, Founder of LAMIK Beauty.

(l to r) Racquel Harris Mason, Vice President, Coca-Cola and Coke Zero, The Coca-Cola Company; Mikki Taylor, author and Editor-at-Large, Essence Magazine; Linda Spradley Dunn, CEO & Founder, Odyssey Media; Lori George Billingsley, Vice President of Community Connections, The Coca-Cola Company, Cheryl Walker-Robertson, Executive Vice President, Odyssey Media.

Odyssey Media is known for bringing influential women together. The Honorable Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee received a standing ovation as she presented Linda Spradley Dunn with a Certificate of Congressional Recognition on behalf of the U.S. House of Representatives, 18th Congressional District of Texas. Congresswoman Jackson Lee was joined on stage by State Representative Shawn Thierry, representative of District 146.

Earlier this year, Linda Spradley Dunn launched “Keys to Success,” a $25,000 pitch competition and digital workshop designed to help solve the number one issue facing African American, female, small-business owners – access to capital. Ironically, the winner of this year’s contest was Houston’s own Kim Roxie, who was also presented with a Certificate of Congressional Recognition.

The national tour’s panels has also featured notable multicultural business women including Melanie Elturk, Founder & Co-owner of Haute Hijab; Sharmeen Hawkins, African American businesswoman who owns over 15 franchises; Mikki Taylor, author and Essence Magazine Editor-at-large; Kelli Fisher and Tana Gilmore, also known as “The Matchmaking DUO,” who quit their corporate jobs to start a matchmaking business for affluent multicultural men and women; and Lisa Price, Founder of Carol’s Daughter.

While the live national tour concluded in Bermuda this past Sunday, IN THE BLACK tour will extend to Paris in the Winter, and to over 40 virtual locations across the United States.