Black Entrepreneurs Day will be highlighted by Game Changer Conversations, presented by The General® Insurance, featuring Daymond John in one-on-one conversations with Black business leaders and cultural icons including Shaquille O’Neal, Gabrielle Union, Jamie Foxx, Robert Johnson, LL Cool J and more! These historic Game Changer Conversations are sure to inspire and educate across all ages and levels of success as we come together to celebrate Black business.
3X NBA Champion, Sports Analyst, DJ, Philanthropist, and Investor
Born in Newark, New Jersey, on March 6, 1972, Shaquille O’Neal is considered to be one of the most dominant basketball players in NBA history. At 7 ft 1 in tall and weighing 325 pounds, Shaq’s larger-than-life personality and powerful athleticism have resulted in worldwide adulation and one of the most passionate fan bases in sports and entertainment.
Shaquille O’Neal’s off-court accolades rival his athletic accomplishments, having found success in acting, music, television, gaming and as an entrepreneur. Currently, Shaq is an analyst on Inside The NBA, on the board of Papa John’s Pizza in addition to being partner and investor in numerous other businesses.
Philanthropically, Shaquille’s relationship with the Boys & Girls Club of America dates back to his youth in New Jersey. As a national spokesperson for the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, he has been participating in campaigns with the non-profit company for the past 15 years.
Renowned Actress, Activist, Author, and TIME 100 Most Influential Person
While many who have seen her perform mention her beauty, natural ability, and star quality, Gabrielle Union did not set out to be an actress. After an internship in the office of a modeling agency during her college years, Union was invited to get in front of the camera. She gave it a try, and the modeling soon led to small roles in television shows. Those in turn led to small roles in feature films, and by 2000, just a few years after her first television appearances, Union had won a major role in the popular movie Bring It On, starring Kirsten Dunst (1982–). Since then she has been offered significant parts in a steady stream of films, including Two Can Play That Game (2001), Deliver Us from Eva (2003), and Breakin’All the Rules (2004). She costarred alongside Martin Lawrence (1965–) and Will Smith (1968–) in the 2003 blockbuster Bad Boys II. Not a bad resume for someone who had never studied acting and who once told Jeffrey Epstein of E! Online that she used to think acting was a “cheesy profession.” Her list of accomplishments is even more impressive considering the general lack of decent roles for African American actors. In spite of poor odds, Union has forged a successful career, scoring one good role after another while at the same time maintaining a level head and a sharp sense of humor.
Jamie Foxx is an award-winning actor, singer, and comedian.
One of the most popular African-American comedians of the late 1990s, TV star turned screen actor Jamie Foxx was born Eric Marlon Bishop in the small town of Terrell, Texas, on December 13, 1967. Foxx was raised by his grandparents after his parents separated. He enjoyed a happy upbringing, going to church every day with his grandparents and excelling at everything from academics to music to football. During his teen years he had his first taste of the entertainment business as his church’s choir director and music director, and also started his own R&B band. Foxx studied music while a student at the U.S. International University in San Diego; it was during his college days that he got his start as a stand-up comedian. Attending a comedy club one night with some friends, he was encouraged to take the stage and perform some impersonations, which proved incredibly popular with the audience. Foxx’s enthusiastic reception led to his decision to move to L.A. and pursue a comedy career. At the age of 22 he was hired for In Living Color, and he subsequently landed a recurring role on Charles Dutton’s sitcom Roc. Foxx eventually broke through onto the big screen with small appearances in movies like The Truth About Cats and Dogs, The Great White Hype, and Booty Call. Foxx’s big break in film came in 1999 with Any Given Sunday, and he would henceforth find himself on a short list of bankable dramatic actors in Hollywood. He would go on to star in Michael Mann’s Ali and Collateral, before playing legendary musician Ray Charles for the biopic Ray, which found Foxx taking home a Golden Globe and an Oscar for his performance.
LL COOL J
Influential Rapper, Record Producer, Entrepreneur, Actor, and Author
James Todd Smith (born January 14, 1968), better known by his stage name LL Cool J (short for Ladies Love Cool James), is an American rapper, record producer, actor, author, and entrepreneur from Queens, New York. With the breakthrough success of his hit single “I Need a Beat” and the Radio LP, LL Cool J became an early hip-hop act to achieve mainstream success along with Kurtis Blow and Run-D.M.C. LL Cool J has released 13 studio albums and two greatest hits compilations. His twelfth album Exit 13 (2008), was his last for his long-tenured deal with Def Jam Recordings. LL Cool J appeared in numerous films, including In Too Deep, Any Given Sunday, S.W.A.T., Deep Blue Sea, Mindhunters, and Edison. He currently plays NCIS Special Agent Sam Hanna in the CBS crime drama television series NCIS: Los Angeles. LL Cool J also is the host of Lip Sync Battle on Paramount Network. A two-time Grammy Award winner, LL Cool J is known for such hip hop hits as “Going Back to Cali”, “I’m Bad”, “The Boomin’ System”, “Rock the Bells”, and “Mama Said Knock You Out”, as well as R&B hits such as “Doin’ It”, “I Need Love”, “All I Have”, “Around the Way Girl” and “Hey Lover”. In 2010, VH1 placed him on their “100 Greatest Artists Of All Time” list. In 2017, LL Cool J became the first rapper to receive the Kennedy Center Honors.
Founder and Chairman of The RLJ Companies and BET, Serial Entrepreneur
Robert L. Johnson was the co-founder and CEO of Black Entertainment Television (BET). In 2001 he was named by Forbes magazine as the first black billionaire. He sold BET to Viacom in 2001 and remained CEO until 2006. He has since invested in a variety of businesses, including the professional basketball franchise, the Charlotte Bobcats. Johnson grew up in Illinois and earned a graduate degree in international affairs from Princeton University. In the early 1970s, Johnson found himself in Washington, D.C. during the early expansion of cable television. After a few years as a lobbyist for the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, Johnson borrowed money to start his own cable brand, BET. Launched in 1980, it was profitable within five years. In the early ’90s BET became the first African-American-controlled company to be traded publicly on the New York Stock Exchange. In 1998 Johnson bought it back and then sold it to Viacom, pocketing a reported $1.5 billion himself and retaining his position as chairman and CEO.
Founder and Managing Partner of Backstage Capital, Barrier-Breaking Activist
Arlan Hamilton is the Founder and Managing Partner of Backstage Capital, a venture capital firm dedicated to minimizing funding disparities in tech by investing in high-potential founders who are people of color, women, and/or LGBT. She is also co-founder of Backstage Studio, which launched a four-city accelerator program in 2018. Arlan has been featured on the cover of Fast Company magazine as the first Black woman non-celebrity to do so, and is the author of “It’s About Damn Time” and host of the weekly podcast “Your First Million”. Arlan and her mother, Mrs. Earline Butler-Sims, announced their scholarship program which kicked-off with scholarships for Black students at Oxford University and HBCU Dillard University.
Global Head of Diversity & Inclusion at JP Morgan Chase, Reputable Leader
Brian Lamb is the Global Head of Diversity & Inclusion at JP Morgan Chase where he is responsible for executing strategies that build on the firm’s existing work and further incorporates a diversity lens into how the firm develops products and services, serves clients, helps communities, and supports employees.
Before joining JPMorgan from Fifth Third Bank where he served as executive vice president and head of Retail Banking. Over the span of his 13-year career, he has led Fifth Third Bank as head of Wealth & Asset Management and chief corporate responsibility & reputation officer. He has also served as chair of the Tampa Bay Partnership and held board positions with the Florida Bankers Association and Florida Council of 100.
Chief Revenue Officer at The General Insurance, Experienced Executive
Elicia Azali is bold and purposeful executive with 15+ years of experience in building brands, driving customer engagement and growing sales. Currently, she serves as Chief Revenue Officer at The General® Insurance. In this role, she is accountable for company’s marketing, sales and communication functions. Her team develops strategies to deliver the company’s growth goals across distribution channels. She also serves as Executive Advisor for The General® ’s Diversity & Inclusion efforts.
Prior to joining The General®, Elicia served in several executive roles at Nationwide®, including Vice President of Channel Marketing & Strategic Partnerships, Associate Vice President of Innovation and Diverse Marketing. Elicia began her career at Procter & Gamble where she held multiple brand management roles.
Elicia studied Marketing at The Ohio State University and earned the Pace Setters Award from the Fisher College of Business. She is a founding Board Member of Color Vision, an organization dedicated to developing and celebrating the next generation of creative women of color in Marketing. She also serves as a Board Member on the Shaquille O’Neal Foundation and advises Xceleader, an organization dedicated to building a community of leaders who will impact HBCUs and change the world She is the mother of 4 young men and wife to Nathaniel Azali Sr.