About 200 people came out to participate in the first annual Economic Empowerment Summit sponsored by the African American Business Owner’s Coalition. The summit was held April 26 at the Nessmith-Lane Continuing Education Building on the campus of Georgia Southern University. The summit consisted of a day-long series of workshops, panel discussions and training sessions designed to provide participants with the essential tools and information they needed to effectively and successfully operate their businesses and improve their communities. Jack Hill, Republican senator for Georgia’s 4th District and chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee opened the summit’s morning general session by providing a wide range of topical information aimed at informing and empowering the audience to identify and tap into the state’s as well as the region’s economic and community development resources. “We really enjoyed the morning’s activities and thank the AABOC for sponsoring this event,” Hill said. “The summit is very timely and is very helpful to the citizens of this area given what’s going on in our economy.” Former Los Angeles Rams and Georgia Southern football player Fred Stokes – founder of Fred Stokes Youth Ranch and owner of Fred Stokes Foods, LLC, was featured as the keynote speaker for the summit’s noon session. According to Stokes, “You really could not have asked for a better turnout and a more enthusiastic crowd. I love talking to people who are looking for inspiration so that they can turn around and inspire others. Everything about the summit was just first-class.” In addition, a panel of community spokespeople, organization heads and business leaders engaged in what was billed as an economic empowerment roundtable discussion that reportedly left the audience asking for more. “We are proud of what we were able to accomplish this first year” Curtis Woody, president of the AABOC said. “We actually pulled all of this together in less than 75 days. It was truly a supernatural feat that I just can’t take any credit for. All of the credit goes to our God and our sponsors for getting things done.” Summit organizers have already begun the process of planning for the 2009 Summit. For additional information on the Economic Empowerment Summit or the AABOC, contact Curtis Woody at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.aaboc.org for a link to a photo gallery of images from the summit.