T.J. Breeden, Founder and Executive Director, eMerging Entrepreneurs, Inc.
T.J. is the Founder & Executive Director of eMerging Entrepreneurs, Inc.; a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, that provides Career Transition Assistance, Small Business Training, and Entrepreneurial Developmental services to veterans, military spouses, and under-served minority communities. The organization employs a grassroots approach to assisting those who seek to advance their small business interests; partnering with state & federal agencies, universities, local chambers of commerce, and military installations in an effort to extend high-tech training & resource solutions to under-served communities.
T.J. is a 2012 recipient of the White House’s “Champions of Change” award, as well as the US Small Business Administration’s 2013 “Veterans Entrepreneurship Advocate of the Year” award for his efforts in advancing small business growth within the military community. He also serves on the City of Durham, NC’s “Small Business Advisory Committee,” is a former board member of the Board of Directors for the Greater Durham Black Chamber of Commerce, and was recently invited to serve on the NC Advisory Committee for the US Global Leadership Coalition; a broad-based network of 400 businesses and NGOs; national security and foreign policy experts; and business, faith-based, academic and community leaders in all 50 states who support a smart power approach of elevating diplomacy and development alongside defense in order to build a better, safer world. Lastly, T.J. is also the Program Director of the Urban Leadership Lab, a social-incubator that provides urban youth with access to mentorship and career development training.
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April Ellerbe, Founder and Senior Events Analyst, New Century Planning
April Ellerbe is the Founder and Senior Events Analyst of New Century Planning, LLC, an event consulting firm with over 20 years of experience in offering consulting, design, events coordination, and travel services. Founded in 2006, New Century Planning has grown into nationally recognized event management firm. With service hubs in Durham, North Carolina and Washington, DC, New Century Planning’s name commands instant recognition in the events and hospitality industry! Because of April’s talents and accomplishments, she was recently highlighted as one of the event industry’s top young professionals to know and has been awarded various awards, including the industries “40 under 40″ recognition, 1st place in AFR’s 2013 National “Design and Inspire” competition, as well as being awarded 1-of-12 contracts to host an official delegate event for the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, NC. Her work has been published in national media outlets such as Today, CNN, Politico, Biz Bash, Smart Meetings, Collaborate, and PBS; and her portfolio includes the likes of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, The Duke University Center for HIV/AIDS Vaccine Immunology, The Sundance Film Festival, and most recently she facilitated a gathering in the Nation’s Capital for “The Executives’ Alliance to Expand Opportunities for Boys and Men of Color,” also know as the My Brothers Keeper Initiative. April not only oversees the firm’s growth and development, but also plays an integral role in the day-to-day operations and client activities. Her efficiency, creativity, and spirit of excellence will prove extremely valuable to the development and expansion of our Champions program, and we’re excited to have her full commitment as we press forward in “creating environments where collaboration can thrive!
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Paul Dillon, President and CEO, Dillon Consulting Services LLC
Paul A. Dillon is the president and CEO of Dillon Consulting Services LLC, a U. S. Department of Veterans Affairs certified Service Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business, based in Durham, NC and Chicago, IL. He created and co-taught the highly successful course “Law and Veterans’ Issues: Policy Challenges and Best Practices” at the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago. Paul’s client engagements include a research assignment for Crain’s Chicago Business, for the highly acclaimed “Veterans in the Workplace” Focus section that was published in November, 2011. Paul is also the creator of the concept for a successful and widely adapted veteran’s startup incubator in Chicago, called The Bunker. He has been quoted in numerous publications about veterans issues, such as the National Federation of Independent Businesses newsletter (NFIB.com), eLearners.com, and USAA Magazine, and has been the subject of profiles, such as “A Veteran Fights Back”. Paul holds an A.B. Degree from John Carroll University, an M.S. Degree from Northern Illinois University, and has done advanced graduate study in Systems Management at the University of Southern California, Ft. Rucker, AL branch. He is a former trustee of the Chicago School of Professional Psychology, and a former Public Member and Commissioner of the national Commission for Case Manager Certification. Read Paul’s recent Op-Ed in Forbes Magazine, entitled: “Memo to Employers: Veterans Aren’t PTSD Basketcases, They’re Disciplined and Committed!” Mr. Dillon is a U.S. Army Reserve veteran, he served in Vietnam as a 1st Lieutenant, and was awarded 2 Bronze Star Medals.