The annual economic empowerment conference will be a live experience that will begin February 22 – 23, 2022.

Birmingham, AL (1/24/2022) — The 18th annual A.G. Gaston Conference will be taking place Tuesday,
February 22 – Wednesday, February 23, 2022, at the Medical Forum located in Downtown
Birmingham. The two-day conference will feature an array of engaging panels and programs open to
aspiring entrepreneurs, business owners, corporate leaders and community advocates. Due to the
ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, CDC guidelines and protocols will be adhered to during the conference.
“For the better part of the last two decades our conference has been a place where conversations about
economic inclusion, economic empowerment, and black business development have taken place,” says
Bob Dickerson, co-host of the A.G. Gaston Conference. “Our 2022 focus has not changed because the
issues that our communities face have not changed. We hold true to our beliefs that economic
empowerment through enterprise development is a key element, necessary to close the racial wealth
gap, and events like the A G Gaston Conference where those topics are front, and center are vitally

The theme for this year’s conference is “Navigating the Journey from Civil Rights to Economic Justice.”
For the last 18 years, the conference has been empowering African Americans to excel in
entrepreneurship and business ownership. The conference serves as a platform where accomplished
leaders and business owners can share their experiences and fosters an environment of celebration
and empowerment. It will function as a place for participants to learn and develop better business
practices all while inspiring the next generation.

“We started the A.G. Gaston conference because we believed that Dr. Gaston set an example that
people should follow today and that he left a legacy that must be held up for people to remember,” says
Gaynelle Jackson, co-host of the A.G. Gaston Conference. “We also wanted to bring to the forefront, the
plight of Black businesses in Birmingham and to start the discussion on what we collectively can do to
bring about a change. We feel that these goals are as important today as they were 18 years ago.”
Featured speakers for this year’s conference will include Dr. Andre M. Perry, Senior Fellow at The
Brookings Institution, Autumn Kyles, CEO of Detroit Dough, Cheryl McKissack Daniel, President & CEO
of McKissack & McKissack, Dr. Odessa Woolfolk and many more.

The curation of the conference was inspired by the life and legacy of Arthur George (A.G) Gaston, a
successful businessman in Alabama during the Jim Crow law time period. 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
Broadcasting and many more that are located in the heart of Downtown Birmingham.

The A.G. Gaston Conference will be a two-day event for business owners, educators, community
leaders, elected officials, and anyone passionate about African American economic empowerment.

The schedule is as follows:
Tuesday, February 22, 2022

3:00 – 4:10 PM
A Conversation with Dr. Odessa Woolfolk

4:15 – 4:45 PM
Keynote Speaker: Andre Perry, Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution

4:50 – 5:45 PM
Panel Presentation – Corporate America’s Response to Closing the Racial Wealth Gap

6:00 – 8:00 PM
A.G. Gaston Legacy Reception and Awards Program

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

10:00 – 11:10 AM
Green Power Business Corner
A Conversation with Autumn Kyles, CEO of Detroit Dough

11:15 – 12:00 PM
Green Power Money in Action Panel

12:00 – 1:30 PM
The Green Power Luncheon

Keynote Speaker: Cheryl McKissack Daniel, President & CEO, McKissack & McKissack
The conference is supported by Birmingham’s corporate community.
To register for the 18th annual A.G. Gaston Conference, please visit