Skip to content Skip to footer

American Hat Factory

Georgiette
Morgan-Thomas
CEO

Reverend Georgette Morgan-Thomas has loved hats since the time she was a little girl growing up in Mobile, Alabama. Now the proud owner of well over one-hundred hats, Reverend Morgan-Thomas is sometimes not recognized without her fancy head-wear. Having worked for community services, charities, and churches in Harlem, New York, for decades, Reverend Morgan-Thomas served as Director of Harlem Housing for Goddard Riverside Community Center which proved to be a challenging–yet ultimately very rewarding–experience. She retired from that position in and is now using her leadership skills more than ever for business…specifically, the hat business. In 2015, Reverend Morgan-Thomas purchased the S&S Hat Company in Pennsylvania. Despite having been in operation since 1923, the company’s profits were falling, and its business was failing. After the factory was sold via an IRS auction, Reverend Morgan-Thomas took over, renamed it “American Hats LLC.,” and started hiring designers to create hats of various shapes, sizes, and colors…most of which are flamboyant, joyful, and utterly unique–akin to abstract art or “wearable sculptures.”

Black Food and Dessert Expo

Annesah Smith
CEO

As the CEO of BFADE, I work with a dedicated team of entrepreneurs who want to specifically support, empower and uplift black and brown entrepreneurs that have a food business, talent or product idea. Started in 2017, we are known for our large showcases that happen bi-yearly exclusively to exhibit and showcase those black owned businesses that do not have a brick and mortar location or food truck. But we are so much more than an Expo; we facilitate a series of workshops that help entrepreneurs grow their food business both locally and virtually. In the midst of a global pandemic we have pivoted to host smaller Pop Up Experiences and help people reimagine their food business considering COVID-19 restrictions. We started a monthly virtual Chef & Baker RoundUp that connects us to people in the industry regionally and nationally. We want to continue to provide shared resources, access and a collaborative culture for local business owners.

Danse4Nia

Antoinette M. Coward-Gilmore
Founder, CEO

 

Antoinette M. Coward-Gilmore is the Founder, CEO and Artistic Director of Danse4Nia, Philadelphia’s premiere arts organization that is the home to professional project-based dance company Phoenix Danse and youth dance company Nia-Next.

A native Philadelphian, Coward-Gilmore began her dance training in 1985 at The New Freedom Theatre founded by John E. Allen Jr. and Robert E. Leslie Sr. under the dance direction of Patricia Scott Hobbs and later, continued her studies at the Franklin Learning Center under Master Lester Horton Technique

Teacher, the late Faye B. Snow. Coward-Gilmore continued to hone her skills at the Pennsylvania Governor’s School of the Arts and in the training program of the Philadelphia Dance Company (PHILADANCO.) She later earned a BFA in Dance from the University of the Arts and an MA in Dance

Education and Performance from the Steinhardt School of Education at New York University. Both institutions graduating with high honors and appearing on the Dean’s List.

As a dancer who was the last generation of LEJA Dance Theatre in Philadelphia and briefly a member of Philadanco II, Coward-Gilmore was a founding company member of Philadelphia’s Eleone Dance Theatre before moving to New York to dance with the Forces of Nature Dance Theatre Company touring nationally and internationally. In addition, Coward-Gilmore danced with the Rod Rodgers Dance Company, guest appeared in Melissa Vaughan’s “Shaka Zulu” and “The Leopard’s Tale” production with Ballethnic Dance Company in Atlanta, GA.

Coward-Gilmore is the original dancer/ choreographer for Mo Beasley’s “Love Suites” and “Urban Erotica” playing in legendary theaters and clubs like The Cutting Room, Don’t Tell Mama, Joe’s Pub, and the Black Box Theaters of Aaron Davis Hall and New Jersey Performing Arts Center.Coward-Gilmore additional theatre and film credits include Freedom Repertory Theatre’s Black Nativity, Purlie, Cooley High and Lazarus Unstoned where she was hired as a featured dancer, dance captain, and rehearsal assistant, as well as featured talent in a independent film about breast cancer and extra work on the film National Treasure. Coward-Gilmore is a seasoned choreographer who has choreographed for The Philadelphia Theatre Company, Camden Repertory Theatre, recording artist Kashiash, Prince Music Theatre’s Rainbow Company/ Youth Arts In Action and countless youth, dance and arts programs.

Coward-Gilmore is a certified New York State Dance Educator and a seasoned teaching artist having taught at Harlem School of the Arts, Kimmel Center for Performing Arts, Norfolk State University, University of the Arts, Coppin State University, Grambling State University, Temple University and currently teaching artist with the Philadelphia Orchestra and adjunct dance faculty at Drexel University since 2010.

GEGISOM Georgia E. Gregory Interdenominational School of Music

JOYCE
GAMBRELL DRAYTON
Owner

 

JOYCE GAMBRELL DRAYTON began her musical career under the guidance of her mother, the late Georgia E. Gregory. Various music teachers continued her education through private tutoring of piano and violin. Upon entering high school, Joyce served as accompanist for the Kensington High School for Girls Concert Choir. Her unique gift for music earned music scholarships to the Settlement School Summer Music Camp in piano and bass fiddle. She also served as accompanist for the Cheyney State College Concert Choir under the direction of the late D. Jack Moses where she received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary Education. Joyce continued her education studies at Temple University, earning a Master of Social Work degree as she served as vice president of her class. She furthered her organ and music studies under Dr. J. Edward Hoy,Westminster Choir College and Rosemarie Coleman of the Combs College of Music.

Let’s Go Outdoors

Tarsha Scovens
(she/her/hers)
President/CEO

Keisha Scovens
Let’s Go Outdoors
PAEE, Southeast Regional Director
Let’s Go Outdoors, Certified MBE

Black Female Co-Owners:  Tarsha and Keisha Scovens

Let’s Go Outdoors is equally owned and operated by twin sisters, Keisha and Tarsha Scovens, who have a combined 40+ years of activity coordination, professional communication and special education expertise.  They are spearheading a movement for Philadelphians, and others, to engage with their local outdoor spaces and become aware of critical environmental topics.  Keisha and Tarsha, through Let’s Go Outdoors, are increasing people of colors, especially African Americans, participation in activities such as camping, hiking, fishing, geocaching, birding, and archery.

With nearly 10 years serving neighborhoods, youth through adults, and residents of Philadelphia, Let’s Go Outdoors is rightfully becoming a trusted leader in engaging urbanites in community outdoor programs.  Let’s Go Outdoors is a certified MBE, set up as a partnership, LLC, which was organized in 2010 and is a minority female-owned business.

Mel’s Butter Blends

Melissa Lamarre 
CEO

Melissa Lamarre was already a serial entrepreneur by the time she graduated with a B.A. from Rutgers University. She started a handmade jewelry and fashion styling business at 15 years old. From there she combined her writing and marketing skills and worked as a freelance public relations consultant for entertainers and small businesses. After graduating from college, she obtained her real estate salesperson license in NY, eventually landing her a position as Operations Manager at a Brooklyn real estate firm. These experiences prepared her to eventually transition a new passion project into a business and Mel’s Butter Blends was born. While building her businesses, Mel has focused on mentoring high school and college students to pursue their professional development goals and plan for their futures.

3675 Market St. Suite 200
Philadelphia, PA 19104

(267) 766-0498

 

New Nurse Academy

Tiffany E. Gibson MSN, NPD-BC, CPN
CEO

I graduated from Temple University in 2005 with a Bachelor’s in Public Health, obtained my Bachelor’s in Nursing from Drexel University in 2008, and graduated from Walden University with a Master’s degree in Nursing Education in 2017. In 2019, I completed a post-masters certificate in Healthcare Diversity Leadership from Thomas Jefferson University – Institute of Emerging Health Professions, while maintaining my national Pediatric Nursing certification, and ANCC Nursing Professional Development Specialist board certification.

 I became a single mother very early in my pregnancy, and quickly learned the importance of leveling up in nursing to make more money without working more hours. I did this by l
everaging my work experience, education and skills to add value to my career.  As a single mom, I always understood the need and desire to prioritize my time and ensure that my work in nursing was aligned with my purpose and passion. This is the power of emotional intelligence to gain professional development.

When I left the bedside in 2016 , I made the intentional decision to activate my growth power by becoming a full-time Clinical Nurse Educator. I also expanded my expertise and education by obtaining board certification in Nurse Professional Development, specializing in Healthcare Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, and ensuring New Nurse Academy, LLC. is a thriving hub for continuing education for student, new and experienced Nurses. 

Through coaching, mentoring, educating and consulting, I illustrate how to make nursing education, growth, equity and inclusion with care, strategic and clear.  My nursing philosophy is to master the art of self through emotional intelligence to have the ability to positively 
relieve stress, communicate effectively, empathize with others, overcome challenges and defuse conflict while caring for patients. This is the essence of Nursing.

New View Institute

Dr. Helena Fontes
Founder, CEO

Reverend Dr. Helena Fontes is the founder and CEO of NewView Institute, which is a non-profit 501 ( c ) (3) organization, which delivers programming through counsel, training, psycho- educational groups, the arts, and spiritual support for both perpetrators, and survivors of domestic violence and other such violent crimes.  Dr. Fontes is a Certified Domestic Violence and Anger Management Specialist-1 through the National Anger Management Association (NAMA).  She is a graduate of Regent University where she earned her D. Min. in Clinical Pastoral Education, graduating with a 3.9 GPA.  Her research focus was the promotion of domestic violence awareness for the Black church; she graduated December 2015. On May 21, 2011, she graduated from Palmer Theological Seminary, where she earned her Master of Divinity degree.  Dr. Fontes is a Board Certified Hospice Chaplain through the Association of Professional Chaplains.  Her specialty is Acute Psychiatric, Hospice, and Palliative Care.  Dr. Fontes provides grief counseling and bereavement support for co-victims at Mother’s In Charge. In addition, through her non-profit, NewView Institute, Dr. Fontes oversees and provides counseling services for victims of crime for the 22nd., 6th. And 9th district served by Central Division Victim Services. 

Sequoya and Jaylins Gourmet Bar-B-Q-Sauce

Josette Adams
Founder

I started Sequoya and Jaylin’s Gourmet Foods out of a need to care for my family (daughter Sequoya and son Jaylin). As a single mother I had to do something that would bring in an income in so I turned to cooking as a way to provide for them. I experimented with a few recipes and came up this AMAZING bbq sauce. Sequoya and Jaylin’s Gourmet BBQ Sauce came to life and because my children are my inspiration it was only right for me to name it after them and have their picture on the jars.

My son, Jaylin, was born with cerebral palsy and needed care around the clock, so due to his health I decided not to return to work in the banking industry and become a stay at home mother. My daughter Sequoya was use to me being able to provide for her and as a young child understood why it was so important for me to stay home. Sad to say Jaylin passed away shortly after I started this business back in February 2005. He was just short of his third birthday and his passing devastated our family. I stopped making the sauce and went into a deep depression. Knowing that I still had to care for Sequoya and that people was asking about the BBQ Sauce I got myself together and got back into the kitchen to make the sauce and care for my daughter.

After Jaylin passed I started helping families that I would meet that have children with special needs children, and the way we are able to do this is by sales from the BBQ Sauce.

We had our dream come true when we were invited to sell our sauce in the Jeffery Browns Family Shoprites through out the Philadelphia area (52nd St, 24th and Oregon, Fox St, Cheltenham Mall and soon Island Ave and Roxborough). 

I also started making and selling cakes, dinner platters, and her homemade barbecue sauce to make ends meet.

Adams now has the sauce on Walmart.com, and Jeff Brown’s Shoprites are featuring the sauce in his stores’ meat departments around the city: Fox Street, Cheltenham Mall, 52nd & Parkside, 24th & Oregon, and coming soon to Island Ave. and Roxborough.