Minority Enterprise Development Week 2020

September 14 – September 19, 2020 | Virtual Conference

About MED Week 2020

The U.S. Department of Commerce, Minority Business Development Agency (www.mbda.gov) is the only federal agency solely dedicated to fostering the growth and global competitiveness of U.S. minority business enterprises. MBDA programs are focused on economic empowerment and leading minority business enterprises through business transformation. For more than 50 years, MBDA has helped minority-owned firms gain greater access to capital and contracts, build scale and capacity, and expand into new markets.

Since 1983, MBDA has hosted the National MED Week observance honoring the outstanding achievements and leadership of minority-owned firms, organizations and advocates from across the Nation. This year, MBDA has transformed its traditional programming to fit the dynamic virtual conference environment.  The virtual conference experience will host more than twenty unique forums featuring inspirational stories, industry insights, and networking connections. 2020 National MED Week is virtually unmissable!



Can’t decide which MED Week session to join today? Stop by at 9a.m. (Eastern) daily for a preview of the day’s sessions. Hear from special guests, learn about new initiatives, and see how you can participate in the first “Buy MBE Day!”

Get advice. Get perspective. Get Inspired. Hear from the nations top minority-owned firms, champions of minority businesses, and legacy makers in the minority business community. Each session is designed to get “up close and personal” with the 2020 MED Week award winners to tell empowering stories with key takeaways of uncompromising perseverance, triumph, and vision.

Tune in Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday afternoon during MED Week for curated eco-system sessions built on feedback from the minority business community. Each session is developed to help you overcome challenges and grow your business! Customize your week by selecting the sessions YOU want to attend!

MARK THE DATE- Saturday, September 19th is BUY MBE DAY. The inaugural awareness campaign promoting minority business enterprise is hosted by MBDA’s national network of Business Centers, Advanced Manufacturing Centers, and Federal Procurement – and coming to a city near you!



Wilbur Ross
Secretary of Commerce:
Keynote Speaker

Wilbur L. Ross, Jr. was sworn in by Vice President Mike Pence as the 39th Secretary of Commerce on February 28, 2017. Secretary Ross is the principal voice of business in the Trump Administration, ensuring that U.S. entrepreneurs and businesses have the tools they need to create jobs and economic opportunity.Secretary Ross is the former Chairman and Chief Strategy Officer of WL Ross & Co. LLC and has over 55 years of investment banking and private equity experience. He has restructured over $400 billion of assets in the airline, apparel, auto parts, banking, beverage, chemical, credit card, electric utility, food service, furniture, gypsum, homebuilding, insurance, marine transport, mortgage origination and servicing, oil and gas, railcar manufacturing and leasing, real estate, restaurant, shipyard, steel, textile and trucking industries.  Secretary Ross has been chairman or lead director of more than 100 companies operating in more than 20 different countries.Named by Bloomberg Markets as one of the 50 most influential people in global finance, Secretary Ross is the only person elected to both the Private Equity Hall of Fame and the Turnaround Management Hall of Fame. He previously served as privatization adviser to New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and was appointed by President Bill Clinton to the board of the U.S.-Russia Investment Fund. President Kim Dae-jung awarded Secretary Ross a medal for helping South Korea during its financial crisis and, in November 2014, the Emperor of Japan awarded him the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star.As a philanthropist, Secretary Ross has served as Chairman of the Japan Society, Trustee of the Brookings Institution and Chairman of its Economic Studies Council, International Counsel Member of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, Trustee of the Blenheim Foundation, President of the American Friends of the Rene Magritte Museum in Brussels and Director of the Palm Beach Civic Association.  He also was an Advisory Board Member of Yale University School of Management.Secretary Ross is a graduate of Yale University and Harvard Business School (with distinction). He and his wife Hilary Geary Ross have four children, Jessica Ross, Amanda Ross, Ted Geary and Jack Geary.

Linsey Davis
ABC News Correspondent:
Host of MED Week Awards Winners: How I Did It Series

Linsey Davis — who joined ABC News in 2007 — is a correspondent filing reports for “World News,” “Good Morning America,” “20/20” and “Nightline.” She also anchors two primetime news hours on ABC News Live. Davis has covered major news stories around the globe, including the Las Vegas massacre, Harvey Weinstein allegations and subsequent #MeToo movement stories, the Boston Marathon bombing, Nairobi Mall massacre and several of former President Barack Obama’s trips overseas.

Her coverage ranges from the 2016 presidential election to social injustice and various natural disasters, including the earthquake in Haiti and multiple hurricanes. She also moderated ABC News’ Democratic presidential debates in September 2019 and February 2020.

Davis got the only interview with comedian Bill Cosby in the wake of dozens of sexual assault allegations. Leading up to the Iowa caucuses, she interviewed the spouses of seven of the presidential candidates as part of a series called “Running Mates.”In 2009, Davis reported on the miracle on the Hudson and Michael Jackson’s death. That same year, she also made waves with her “Nightline” report “Single Black Female.” The story, which went viral, examined why African American women are the least likely of any race or gender to walk down the aisle.

Davis joined ABC News as a New York-based correspondent for ABC NewsOne, the network’s affiliate news service. Before joining the network in June 2007, Davis was anchor of the weekend evening newscasts at WTHR-TV in Indianapolis. She started out as a reporter in 2003 and, during her time there, reported from New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, from Torino for the 2006 Winter Olympics and from Athens for the 2004 Summer Olympics.

From 2001-2003, she was a reporter at WJRT-TV, the ABC owned station in Flint, Michigan. Davis has received several honors for her reporting, including two Emmy Awards and a regional Edward R. Murrow Award.Her children’s book, “The World is Awake,” became a bestseller in February 2019; and in August 2019, Davis released her second book, “One Big Heart,” which also became a bestseller.

Davis earned her undergraduate degree in psychology from the University of Virginia and a Master of Arts degree in communications from New York University.

D.J. Vanas
Keynote Speaker:
Thriving Through Adversity: Calling All Warriors!

D.J. Eagle Bear Vanas is a celebrated speaker and best-selling author whose expertise is showing people and organizations how to apply the warrior spirit at work. He is the author of the best-selling book The Tiny Warrior: A Path to Personal Discovery & Achievement which is printed is six countries. His latest book, Spirit on the Run, is his first novel.

D.J. is an enrolled member of the Ottawa Tribe and a former U.S. Air Force officer. He inspires organizations to strengthen their tribe and practically apply warrior spirit principles to serve at their best, stay resilient and lead with courage. For two decades, he’s delivered his dynamic programs in 49 states and overseas to clients such as Walt Disney, NASA, Intel Corporation, the U.S. Army, Subaru, Costco and hundreds of tribal governments and organizations. He’s also been invited to speak at The White House – twice.

He holds a B.S. from the U.S. Air Force Academy and an M.S. from University of Southern California and has served on the Board of Directors on the National Board of Certified Counselors. D.J. is the President and owner of Native Discovery Inc. and was featured on the PBS Special, The Warrior Tradition, which aired nationwide on Veterans Day of 2019.

Maria Elena Salinas
Peabody Award-Winning Anchor:
Keynote Speaker

Peabody award-winning anchor, María Elena Salinas, who is described as the “Voice of Hispanic America” by the New York Times is one of the most recognized and influential journalists in the United States. She is currently a contributor with CBS News across all platforms.

After over three decades as co-anchor and correspondent of Noticiero Univision and co-host of news magazine “Aquí y Ahora” Salinas began a new chapter in her career as an independent journalist and producer and principal of MES Multi-Media LLC. In one of her first projects she hosted and executive produced “The Real Story with Maria Elena Salinas” on the Investigation Discovery network.

Salinas began her journalistic career in television as a reporter, anchor and public affairs host for KMEX-34 in 1981. Being a witness to history, during her long illustrious career Salinas has covered some of the most important world events, from presidential elections in the United States and Latin America to Superpower Summits, armed conflicts and natural disasters among others. Salinas has interviewed dozens of heads of state as well as famous entertainers. She has received accolades for her coverage of the Hispanic and immigrant community in the United States.

Salinas was most recently recognized for her work by the National Association of Broadcasters and inducted into their Hall of Fame. In 2016 Salinas was awarded two honorary doctorate degrees from American University School of Communications and California State University, Fullerton. She also was honored with the Mickey Leland Humanitarian award.

In 2015 she received a Peabody Award, Walter Cronkite Award, an Emmy and a Gracie Award for her news and documentary special “Entre el abandono y el rechazo” (Between Abandonment and Rejection), a prime-time report on the exodus of Central American children to the United States, which judges have praised as “balanced and revealing.”

Additionally, she is the recipient of the 2014 Broadcast Legend Award from the Radio and Television News Association of Southern California. Among the 10 Emmy awards she has received, in 2012, she became the first Latina to receive a Lifetime Achievement Emmy from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

Focused on her mission to inform, inspire and empower the Latino community, for decades she has worked with several civic organizations encouraging immigrants to become citizens, register to vote and participate in the political process. Most recently teaming up with “Mi Familia Vota” in their voter registration campaign. For these efforts and more, Salinas is a recipient of the coveted Intrepid Award from NOW, the National Organization for Women, and has been honored by organizations including the Mexican-American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials and The Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, among others.

As part of her philanthropic work Salinas serves on the board of the Hispanic Scholarship Fund and has herself been awarding scholarships to journalism students for over two decades through the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. She is also on the advisory committee of She Works and a member of the Smithsonian’s American Women’s Initiative Advisory committee.








David J. Byrd was appointed as the National Director of the U.S. Department of Commerce, Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) on June 15, 2020. Mr. Byrd is the 18th National Director of the agency. In his role he oversees the development and implementation of Agency initiatives, policy agenda, and federal grant programs.

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Prior to accepting the fourth presidential appointment of his career at HUD, Mr. Byrd served as Deputy Assistant Secretary, Office of Policy Development, at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. 

In the latter part of 2016, Mr. Byrd served on the Trump Presidential Transition Team where he had dual responsibilities. He served as a “talent scout” identifying potential candidates for executive appointments to the new Administration while also serving as Co-Leader of the HUD Agency Action Team, organizing the blueprint for HUD policy and personnel infrastructure.As CEO/Founder of Byrd’s Eye, LLC, Mr. Byrd led a consulting firm that offered government relations, political consulting, executive and life skills coaching services to a wide variety of clients. He is also a Certified Professional Life Coach. Mr. Byrd founded his company in November 2003 and, after a five-year return to public service, restarted his company in October 2011.Mr. Byrd served as Deputy Chief Administrative Officer for Prince George’s County, MD, from April 2006 to January 2011. Mr. Byrd’s responsibilities included governmental operations and public infrastructure, environmental services, economic development, and internal support services. In this position, he was the county’s principal to DCWater, the region’s world class water utility serving as Vice Chair. Prior to his county government service, he served as Chief of Staff to the Maryland Lt. Governor. As Chief of Staff, Mr. Byrd directed the day-to-day operations of the Lt. Governor’s office and championed the Lt. Governor’s political, policy, and personnel agenda.In 2002, Mr. Byrd was Associate Commissioner for External Affairs at the Social Security Administration. He developed strategic relationships with national advocacy organizations and created the framework for the roll out of the President’s Initiative on Social Security Reform.Mr. Byrd spent seven years in New Jersey State Government, from 1994-2001, focusing primarily on economic development issues. As Director of the Office of Small Business, Mr. Byrd achieved a historic milestone when he and his staff worked with state procurement officers to surpass the $1 billion mark in small business contracting. Additionally, he led trade missions to South Africa, Namibia, and Ethiopia securing over $400 million in contract awards for New Jersey businesses.Earlier in his career, he worked at: the Republican National Committee, recruiting and training candidates for county, state, and federal elective office; the U.S. Department of Education, advising the assistant secretary on postsecondary education issues; the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, implementing policy on children and family issues; and the Joint Economic Committee of the U.S. Congress, as a researcher.Throughout his career, Mr. Byrd has received designations, awards, and accolades. In March 2010, the Prince George’s County (MD) Executive nominated him for Chairman of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission. In September 2009, BMoreNews.com and the Minority Business and Consumer Resource Directory gave him their “Champion for Minority Business Award” for his dedication and public service to the minority business community in the metropolitan region.Public service is a Byrd family tradition. A great-uncle was a butler at the White House during the Wilson and Harding Administrations. Another uncle was the third African-American police chief in U.S. history and the first west of the Rocky Mountains. An aunt was the first African- American elected to the Wyoming Legislature, and a distant cousin was the first woman elected Mayor of Washington, DC. His nephew is currently Assistant Attorney General for the State of Washington. His father once served as an aide to the Mayor of Newark, New Jersey.David John Byrd was born in East Orange, NJ, and grew up in Jackson Township, NJ. He completed his bachelor’s degree in English at Ohio Wesleyan University and completed his master’s degree in Corporate Public Relations at Rowan University (formerly known as Glassboro State College).He is a former member of Toastmasters International and the Public Relations Society of America. He and his wife, Jacquie, live in Upper Marlboro, Maryland.

David J. Byrd,

National Director

Registration for MED Week 2020 is NOW OPEN!



Antavia Grimsley

MED Week 2020 Program Manager



© Minority Enterprise Development Week 2020.

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