The annual economic empowerment conference will take place Feb. 21-22, 2023, and will honor Birmingham entrepreneurs, corporate leaders, and educators.

Birmingham, AL (February 7, 2023) —The 19th annual A.G. Gaston Conference will be taking place Tuesday, February 21 – Wednesday, February 22, 2023, at the Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex (BJCC) located in Downtown Birmingham. The two-day event is a connector for business owners, aspiring entrepreneurs, corporate leaders, and community advocates.

“Once again, we’ve put together a can’t miss event as we celebrate the entrepreneur of the 20th century and use his memory, his story, and his legacy to elevate Black business,” says A.G. Gaston Conference Co-host Bob Dickerson. “I couldn’t be prouder of our lineup or pleased with our agenda, and I look forward to this conference almost as if I were an attendee, not one of the organizers.”

For the last 19 years, the conference has empowered African Americans to excel in entrepreneurship and business ownership. The conference has served as a platform where accomplished leaders and business owners share their experiences and foster an environment of celebration and empowerment.

For over two decades, the A.G. Gaston Conference has been an asset and platform for entrepreneurship in the African American and Birmingham community, providing essential

expertise from past speakers such as Dr. George Fraser, founder and CEO of FraserNet Inc., John Hope Bryant, founder of Operation Hope, and Dr. Julianne Malveaux, president emerita of Bennett College, who each gave their testimonials on the trials, challenges, and triumphs as business leaders.

The keynote speaker for this year’s conference will be Marc Morial, who serves as president and CEO of the National Urban League. Morial also served as the mayor of New Orleans, LA, from 1994-2022 and is the author of, The Gumbo Coalition, a collection of lessons on the power of unity in our democracy.

Other guest speakers include Natalie Cofield, founder of Walker’s Legacy; Nicholas Perkins, chairman, president and CEO of Perkins Management and Black Titan Franchise Systems; Kimberly R. Coffman, Director, Supplier Diversity of Voya Financial, Inc. and many more.

Each year, the A.G. Gaston Award recognizes individuals and corporations who use their resources to meet the needs of the community. These innovators have distinguished themselves as champions working tirelessly to benefit others. Award honorees for this year’s conference include Rashada LeRoy, CEO of LRY Media Group, Ron Mathieu, president of the Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport, and Dr. Cynthia T. Anthony, president of Lawson State Community College.

“Once again, the A.G. Gaston Conference has assembled a stellar lineup including nationally renowned business owners, nonprofit executives, and civil rights leaders,” says Gaynelle Jackson, co-host of A.G. Gaston Conference. “This is just the group Dr. Gaston himself would have wanted to see and be proud of.”

The A.G. Gaston conference was inspired by the life and legacy of Arthur George (A.G) Gaston, a successful businessman in Alabama during the Jim Crow Era. He amassed a fortune worth more than $40 million from a business empire spanning communications, real estate, and insurance. Given the title “Entrepreneur of the Century” by Black Enterprise Magazine, the late A.G. Gaston was the mastermind behind the A.G. Gaston Motel, Citizen Federal Savings & Loan, Booker T. Washington Insurance Co., Booker T. Washington Broadcasting, and many more that are in the heart of Downtown Birmingham.

To register to attend the 19th annual A.G. Gaston Conference in Birmingham, AL, please visit