Seven years ago, Bob Dickerson and Gaynelle Adams Jackson founded the A.G. Gaston Conference to honor the legacy of A.G. Gaston, named by Black Enterprise magazine as the nation’s Black Entrepreneur of the 20th Century.
Gaston passed away in 1996 at the age of 103, but Dickerson credits him for helping him get his career on track, after he worked as a loan officer at Gaston’s Citizens Federal Savings Bank, according to The Birmingham News.
“In a lot of ways, I owe what I’ve been able to do the past 25 years to that single opportunity,” Dickerson told the News.
The two-day conference kicks off today with an 11:30 a.m. luncheon with keynote speaker Victoria Ashford, a business coach from Helena, who plans to talk about how to be a fearless leader. Tickets are $75 per day and are available at the door.
Jackson, the head of Advance Planning Services in Birmingham, credits volunteers for the conference’s continued success.
“Together we are one vision, one cause and we work to elevate African-American entrepreneurship,” she told the News. Though focused on black business issues, Dickerson said the conference is open to everyone, regardless of race, who wants to learn more about Gaston and value diversity.
For those not familiar with Gaston’s story, he overcame poverty and built a business empire that made him a millionaire — his holdings included a construction company, a bank, an insurance company, two radio stations, two cemeteries and a business college. Gaston focused on black consumers in Birmingham who at the time were ignored by white businesses.
To read the rest of Dickerson’s interview with The Birmingham News, check out the article here.