Athene Black & Brown Business Summit Presented by Wells Fargo Announces National Speakers for April 2023 Event

(EZ Newswire)

WEST DES MOINES, IA -- The West Des Moines Chamber of Commerce (WDM Chamber) has announced several keynotes for the third annual Athene Black & Brown Business Summit presented by Wells Fargo. The event is held at the corporate headquarters of Athene at 7700 Mills Civic Pkwy, West Des Moines, Iowa on April 20–21, 2023.

Over 60 expert speakers and panelists will be featured including this year’s keynote speaker, wealth strategist Dr. Pamela Jolly. Additional national speakers include real estate expert Shawn Goldstein, finance and triathlete guru Maurice Wills, television executive Douglas Holloway, Fortune 500 leader Malcolm Ellis, plus Rod Johnson and Pernell Czar with BLK & Bold Specialty Beverages.

The Athene Black & Brown Business Summit was created to elevate ethnic minorities and bring BIPOC businesses together to assist with connections building, programming, promotion, training, and resources to help their businesses grow and prosper. The third annual Athene Black & Brown Business Summit will bring everyone from entrepreneurs to seasoned companies from around the country together in a hybrid setting at Athene in West Des Moines. The Summit includes a nonprofit fundraiser benefiting the By Degrees Foundation, a pitch competition where over the past two years $52,000 has been awarded, breakout sessions led by top experts with over 60 speakers, the Mel Essex Award, a diversity week leading up to the summit, and more. The goal is to help advance the minority business community in the country and position Iowa as the best place in the nation to start and lead a minority business.

The Athene Black & Brown Business Summit has won numerous awards including the Greater Des Moines Partnership’s Inclusion Award for Equity Innovation, was recognized nationally by the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives in the 2022 Chamber of the Year USA application, and was one of the critical factors in the award of US Small Business Administration’s Small Business Community of the Year in 2022.

The core planning committee for the Summit includes Angela Jackson, Senior Vice President of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Athene and owner of The Great Frame Up in West Des Moines; Terrence Thames, CEO and Creative Director of Cocoa Creative Agency; Jennifer Smith, Partner at S&S Employment Services; Bobbi Segura, the Regional Manager of Women Lead Change; and Katherine Harrington, President & CEO of the West Des Moines Chamber of Commerce.

"We are looking forward to this powerful event and are proud to sponsor it for a third year,” said Grant Kvalheim, CEO and President of Athene USA. “It is imperative that we use our voice and leadership position at Athene to advance economic opportunity for minority business owners.”

Admission options to attend the Summit and inclusion in the Whova Conference App include:

  • $45 – All-Sessions, Two-Day Pass
  • $25 – Thursday Sessions
  • $15 – Thursday Afternoon Pitch Competition
  • $35 – Friday Sessions
  • $15 – Friday Afternoon Celebration
  • $25 – All-Sessions Pass (virtual)

Sponsors of the Summit help to make this event possible, and a portion of sponsor proceeds benefit the Pitch Competition, Presented by Bank of America, of which over the past two years $52,000 has been distributed to pitch winners.

For the 2023 event, sponsors, partners, and supporters include in alphabetical order: African American Museum of Iowa, Alliant Energy, Athene, Bank of America, Bankers Trust, Belin McCormick, BrownWinick Law Firm, Buena Vista University Strategic Partnerships, Central College, Chase, City of West Des Moines, Cocoa Creative Agency, Delta Dental of Iowa, Des Moines Performing Arts Presents: Tina: The Tina Turner Musical, Des Moines University, EY, EZ Newswire, F&G, Federal Home Loan Bank of Des Moines, FORVIS, Graham Construction Company, Greater Des Moines Partnership, Hy-Vee, IMT Insurance, Iowa Economic Development Authority, Kiva Iowa, Known Labs, Kum & Go, Merchants Bonding Company, MidAmerican Energy Company, NCMIC, Principal Foundation, RDG, S&S Employment Partners, Sammons Financial Group, The Great Frame Up, Two Rivers Bank and Trust, ViClarity, Whitfield & Eddy Law, Women Lead Change, Wells Fargo, and the West Des Moines Community Foundation.

To learn more and register, visit

About the WDM Chamber of Commerce

The mission of the West Des Moines Chamber of Commerce is to champion all things West Des Moines by strengthening our area companies, providing personalized resources, and attracting a top workforce to position WDM as the best suburban city in America to live, work, and play. A 2022 ACCE Chamber of the Year Finalist, the WDM Chamber produces programs and events for everyone. Learn more about the WDM Chamber and how to get involved at

About Athene

Athene, through its subsidiaries, is a leading financial services company specializing in retirement services with total assets of $246 billion as of December 31, 2022, and operations in the United States, Bermuda, and Canada. Athene specializes in helping its customers achieve financial security and is a solutions provider to institutions. Founded in 2009, Athene is Driven to Do More for our policyholders, business partners, shareholders, and the communities in which we work and live. For more information, please visit

Media Contact

Katherine Harrington
(515) 689-4447


SOURCE: West Des Moines Chamber of Commerce

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