Cape Fear Region MED Week Events Focus on Building Business Relationships

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Finance major Cynthia Pershia ’18 attended the annual Cape Fear Region Minority Enterprise Development Week Conference expecting to receive tips on how to be a successful entrepreneur. She left the event feeling empowered.
Insights shared by keynote speaker Gloria Shealey made her want to “just go for it,” she said.
Shealey, president and CEO of The Daniele Company, was among a slate of business leaders who participated in the event held Oct. 24 and 25 in the Burney Center. The Cape Fear Region MED Week Conference provides opportunities for networking and presents workshops to help grow and strengthen businesses. This year’s theme is “The Art of Mastering Your Business ROR (Return on Relationship).”
During her remarks, Shealey noted one of her key strategies in business is to pursue relationships, not projects.
“Projects are residual benefits of relationships,” she explained. “Relationships will help sustain you in the ups and the downs of the cycle of business. But, most importantly, it is the impact of individuals within your businesses as leaders, as executives, that drives business success. It doesn’t matter what business you are in, it’s still all about people and the relationships.”
Throughout the event, presenters shared information on various topics, including financial planning, winning government contracts and tackling issues related to recovering after a natural disaster. The conference was held in conjunction with the Coalition Business Roundtable breakfast. The Coalition, sponsored by Live Oak Bank and the Greater Wilmington Business Journal, comprises 10 entrepreneurial support organizations that provide services and support to startups and small businesses.
The event was hosted by UNCW’s Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion, Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and the Office of Facilities.
“MED Week focuses on one of the fastest growing sectors of the economy: small minority businesses,” said Kent Guion, the university’s chief diversity officer. Guion said that MED Week has “this spirit of giving back and exchanging ideas, which is important any time for the community, but especially in a time when we’re faced with recovering from a disaster.”
Diane Durance, director of the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, said the annual event is a valuable resource to the community. “It’s important to recognize the minority businesses in our community and in our region and what they contribute to our economic vitality,” she said.
During a reception on Oct. 24, organizers honored Wilma Daniels, founder and CEO of Daniels Development LLC; and Aaron Thomas, president and CEO of Metcon, for their business achievements. Daniels serves on several boards, including the Greater Wilmington Chamber of Commerce, Cape Fear Community College Foundation and the UNCW Board of Trustees. She is president of the Wilmington Black Chamber of Commerce, a graduate of Leadership Wilmington and a member of The Order of Cape Fear.
Thomas founded Metcon, a Native American-owned construction management firm, in 1999. Under his leadership, the company has experienced steady growth and is North Carolina’s largest minority-owned construction management firm. In 2011, Metcon was named the National Minority Construction firm of the year by the U.S. Dept. of Commerce.
Cape Fear Region MED Week recognizes the outstanding achievements of minority entrepreneurs and honors individuals and organizations that support minority business development. The conference is among the events being held nationwide as a part of the national observance of MED Week, created by presidential proclamation in 1983.
--Logan Matthews ’19 and Venita Jenkins

2018 MED Week Spotlights

Pictured from left to right: Chancellor Jose V. Sartarelli; Wilma Daniels, founder and CEO of Daniels Development LLC; Aaron Thomas, president and CEO of Metcon; and Dr. Kent Guion, UNCW chief diversity officer. Daniels and Thomas were honored for their outstanding achievements during the Cape Fear Region MED Week Conference.