Nearly all CCD ministries—regardless of the programs they offer, their location, or their longevity—will tell you that one of the biggest needs in our under-resourced communities is jobs—good jobs, jobs that pay a living wage, jobs that allow parents to care for their families. Parents in under-resourced communities don’t want food pantries, Section 8 vouchers, or second-hand clothing closets; they want jobs—jobs that provide the resources they need to provide groceries, housing, and clothing for themselves and their families.
- Learn best practices and techniques for starting entrepreneurial ventures
- Share promising practices of business-ministry collaboration
- Jumpstart conversations for potential partnerships to create new enterprises and employment
- Hear inspirational accounts of business leaders who, through the deployment of their time and talents, are contributing to community transformation
*Be sure to check this site frequently as new information will be added regularly
Who Should Attend?
Market Solutions for Community Transformation is a one day event for anyone desiring to discover and learn best practices for birthing businesses and creating jobs in communities in an effort to increase opportunity and reduce poverty. Our audience includes: business owners, Christian Community Development practitioners (pastors and NFP leaders), city government leaders, students, entrepreneurs. This one day pre-conference will be an introduction for some and a deep dive for others, on the life-giving role that business plays in Christian Community Development.
|9:00am||Welcome to Market Solutions|
|9:10am||Creating Empowering Environments in Poor Communities Through Business: The Works (Roshun Austin)|
|9:35am||Creating Empowering Environments in Poor Communities Through Business: Prime Trailer Leasing(Wes Gardner, Dave Runyon)|
|10:15am||Four Marketplace Strategies for Addressing Poverty and Unemployment|
|11:00am||Forum: A Discussion on these Four Strategies|
|11:30am||Lunch with Discussion and Dialogue: How Business Can Create Opportunities for Low-Income Communities (Rudy Carrasco, Dick Gygi)|
|3:15pm||Social Enterprise & Kingdom-Minded Business Pitch Competition (Mike Harris, Anthony Harris, Tommy Lee, Leslie Lynn Smith)|
|4:15pm||Where Do We Go From Here? (Iris Gordon)|
|4:45pm||Pitch Competition Announcement|
As an entrepreneur, Mark Aardsma built multiple successful businesses in an economically challenged rural setting. Starting with few resources, he led two such companies to the multi-million dollar level. He’s passionate about businesses that positively impact employees while at the same competing successfully in the marketplace. His book Investing With Purpose, published by Career Press and Brilliance Audio is scheduled for Spring, 2016 release.
Joy Anderson is a leader at the intersection of business and social change. She is the president and founder of Criterion Institute, a nonprofit that does research and education to broaden who and what matters in the work of reinventing the economy. She has been a teacher, a consultant, and a founding principal of Good Capital, an investment firm that increases the flow of capital to innovative ventures creating solutions to inequality and poverty. Her thought leadership focuses on shaping financial markets, investing with a gender lens, and combining theological and financial imagination. She holds a Ph.D. in American History from New York University.
Ms. Austin is Chief Operating Officer of St. Andrew African Methodist Episcopal Church and the President/CEO of the Works, Inc. The St. Andrew Enterprise and the Works, Inc. combined employ 90 individuals and consists of a charter school, childcare center, a farmers’ market, a community life center and gym. She earned her M.A. in Urban Anthropology at the University of Memphis and her undergraduate degree at Middlebury College. She is currently the Vice Chairman of The Health, Educational and Housing Facility Board of the City of Memphis. Most recently Ms. Austin was selected to serve on the Collective National Advisory Board, Teach for America’s National Alumni of Color Association. She has one daughter who attends Bellevue Middle School in the Shelby County School system.
Hal Bowling is co-founder and Executive Director of LAUNCH, one of Tennessee’s only microenterprise development initiatives. LAUNCH assists underserved entrepreneurs with business start-up training, mentoring and support. In addition to LAUNCH, Hal has founded other successful start-ups. Among them are Foxmark Media, a mall advertising firm that sold to Eye Mall Media in 2006. Hal also developed $35 million in new business for Spheris, a Nashville healthcare technology firm, leading them to make the Inc. 500 Fastest Growing Companies in the U.S. list in 2004 and 2005. A graduate of Covenant College, Hal has worked as a consultant and business coach since 2006, facilitating millions of dollars in growth for more than 25 client organizations. Hal and his wife have three children and live near Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Rudy Carrasco is the U.S. Regional Facilitator for Partners Worldwide. Partners Worldwide mobilizes long-term, hands-on relationships to form a powerful Christian network that uses business as the way to create flourishing economic environments and end poverty in 25 countries. Carrasco’s articles have appeared in Forbes and Christianity Today. He is a board member of the Christian Community Development Association, a past board member of World Vision U.S., and a member of the Hispanic Scholarship Fund’s Alumni Hall of Fame. He lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan, with his wife, Kafi, and their four children.
Ethan Daly is Director of Strategy and Partnerships for Sunshine Enterprises, an initiative of Sunshine Gospel Ministries, in Chicago’s Woodlawn neighborhood. He joined the staff in 2012 to help launch Sunshine Enterprises, a program that recruits and trains entrepreneurs in struggling communities to help them grow sustainable businesses. The program has grown to serving nearly 100 entrepreneurs annually in Chicago and surrounding areas and was named by the Chicago Reader as the Best New Small Business Incubator in 2014. Ethan has over a decade of experience in community development working with adults, children, and families in low-income neighborhoods. He lives in Woodlawn with his wife and four boys.
Wes Gardner’s entrepreneurial spirit first surfaced when we he started selling worms to local fishermen at the age of four. At age 13 he began selling goldfish to local pet shops, which allowed him to incorporate his second passion, fishing while getting paid for it at the same time. He has since gone on to start, grow, and sell multiple semi-trailer dealerships. Wes currently serves as the owner and CEO of Prime Trailer which has over 100 employees and branches in four states. Prime Trailer has become a pioneer among small and medium-sized companies in regards to their “corporate community involvement” efforts where he incorporates bringing his faith into the marketplace. Wes’ has two wonderful children with his wife Allyson and enjoys spending time teaching their four grandchildren how to fish and hunt.
Iris Gordon is passionate about leveraging the intrinsic power of the marketplace to create systemic responses to social and economic issues that plague our communities. She launched the Social Business Laboratory of Trevecca Nazarene University’s J.V. Morsch Center for Social Justice. The Social Business Laboratory exists to structure, equip and mentor organizations with business models and strategies that maximize organizational capacity, assess mission impact, and establish sustainability. Iris’s education and experience provide a thorough perspective that has proven effective in developing high performing organizations. Her experience in organizational development, operational leadership and business law spans across sectors, from fortune 25 companies to grassroots organizations. She earned a BBA in Finance at the University of Memphis, a MA in Organizational Management at Trevecca Nazarene University and a JD at Regent University School of Law. She is married to Dexter.
For more than 35 years, Dick provided executive leadership to consumer products companies in the US. After 13 years as President of CPS Corporation, Dick led the sale of the company to American Greetings and merged CPS with Plusmark to form the largest gift wrap manufacturing company in the world. After attending a Halftime Summit in Chicago, Dick began the journey of a lifetime to discover his second half calling. With the concept of Business As Mission as their focus, during 2004, Dick and a partner, Tres Scheibe, founded ThriftSmart Stores, a retail thrift store concept to create jobs, serve the poor with an affordable shopping opportunity, and support local charities with 100% of the profits, while re-cycling gently used clothing and household items. In addition to being a profitable business which provides franchising opportunities, ThriftSmart embodies kingdom principles by choosing to pay above-market wages, sharing profits and contributing to 401k accounts for every employee, and by giving profits to charities.
Joel serves as the Executive Director of Sunshine Gospel Ministries, a 109 year old urban ministry in Chicago, where he has been on staff since 1999. His undergraduate studies were in Bible and Theology at Moody Bible Institute, and his graduate work was in Organizational Leadership at Philadelphia Biblical University. Joel’s recent work includes the development of a business incubator (Sunshine Enterprises) to combat poverty through business growth on the Southside of Chicago, as well as the creation and launch of Greenline Coffee, an independent impact-investor model business. Joel and his wife Paula have seven children. They live in the Woodlawn community on the Southside of Chicago and are members at Woodlawn Community Church.
Dr. Harris is the Medical Director of Community Occupational Medicine, LLC a rapidly growing full service occupational medicine provider with six locations throughout northern Indiana. Dr. Harris is Board Certified in Occupational and Environmental Medicine and has worked as an independent healthcare consultant with focus upon performing market research, product design, and business modeling strategy. He earned his Medical Degree and Masters of Business Administration from Indiana University School of Medicine and Kelly School of Business and a Masters of Public Health from the University of Illinois, Chicago. He is also fellowship trained in Biodesign and Innovation at the University of Missouri. Dr. Harris has co-invented & helped procure U.S. and international medical device patents, served on a gubernatorial appointed high-tech & life-science State Board in Missouri and currently serves on several Boards of Directors, including LARC, a not-for-profit company in Chicago focused on soil lead remediation and public awareness thereof. He has cofounded and served as interim-CEO of two medical device start-ups, one of which, EternoGen, LLC, he currently serves as chairman of the board.
Mike is a native Memphian who received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Vanderbilt University and an M.B.A. from the University of Chicago. For ten years, Mike served as President of Hope Christian Community Foundation in Memphis. Mike is a Chartered Financial Analyst who previously worked as a securities analyst and an investment banker. For twenty years prior to joining Hope Christian Community Foundation, he was employed by Morgan Keegan & Company, Inc., as a Managing Director in charge of the firm’s energy related investment banking activities. Mike has been active in urban ministry, serving as a tutor/teacher/mentor, board member, and elder through Second Presbyterian Church’s Mission USA. Mike has been married to Pam since 1978. They are parents of two daughters, Emily and Lucy.
Juanita W. Johnson, Director of Employment Support & Human Resources at Advance Memphis, has worked more than thirty years in the fields of Human Resources and temporary employment staffing. While working as the HR Manager for Georgia Pacific, Ms. Johnson began volunteering at Advance Memphis through the influence of its Chairman of the Board, who was also her immediate supervisor. Ms. Johnson joined the staff of Advance Memphis in January 2009 as its Employment Support Specialist. Ms. Johnson received her BS degree in Business/Human Resources Management and MBA in Management Strategy from Western Governors University. She also holds certifications as a Professional in Human Resources (PHR), and Certified Staffing Professional (CSP).
Pete is passionate about the future of agriculture with experience as a small farmer, policy advocate, startup cofounder, and consultant. He is focused on making the agriculture industry more diverse (people, crops, approaches) and creating new opportunities for farmers. Pete is part of a team creating an innovation ecosystem for agriculture. The ecosystem includes a venture development company which is commercializing licensed technology, a $25 Million early-stage venture fund in cooperation with USDA, and an accelerator program. He is a graduate of University of Memphis, lives in an intentional Christian community in an underserved neighborhood, has a wonderful wife and daughters, and loves to read, backpack and garden.
Attah is a graduate of Calvin College and Cornerstone University where he received his Masters in Business Administration. He worked in management in the banking industry for 10 years, managing and growing multiple branches and banking segments in retail, small business, mortgage, and investments. His passion for small business led him to start his own Speaking and Consulting business in 2013, AGO Design Group, where his mission is to empower and equip individuals to realize their full potential, envision and reach their highest expression of self, and design and build the life they were created to live. Attah also works as the Hub Coordinator and Lead Business Coach for Spring GR, a hands-on 12-week entrepreneurship training, mentoring and networking program designed to help budding entrepreneurs turn their ideas into thriving businesses.
Michael Rhodes has spent 5 years living in South Memphis and serving as Director of Education at Advance Memphis. As the Director of Education, he has taught and overseen GED, job-training, financial literacy, and entrepreneurship programs in the poorest urban zip code in the state. He also co-authored a new job training curriculum (Work Life). In the fall, Rhodes will begin a new project through the Memphis Center for Urban Theological Studies, which will equip local leaders to teach Advance-style classes in their churches. Rhodes is a deacon at Downtown Church, and has led a community group in South Memphis for years. Previously, he served as a missionary in Kenya. He has a BA in Community Development (Covenant College), an MA degree in Biblical Studies (Gordon-Conwell), and is a PhD candidate (Trinity College Bristol). He is married to a beautiful public school teacher (Rebecca) and is the father of three.
Dave Runyon is the Co-Founder and Director of CityUnite, which helps government, business, and faith leaders unite around common causes (cityunite.org). He also serves as consultant for businesses who have a desire to make a difference in their communities. Previously, Dave was a pastor for nine years at Foothills Community Church and The Next Level Church. In 2010, he launched a neighboring movement that has mobilized over 70 churches and 40,000 people in the Denver Metro area. That experience prompted him to co-author The Art of Neighboring which was published by Baker Books in 2012. Dave graduated from Colorado State University, where he studied history and secondary education. He speaks locally and nationally encouraging leaders to work together for the good of their cities. Dave and his wife Lauren have four kids and do not plan to have any more.
Shaun has been a follower of Jesus for 26 years, having been converted at 19. He married Shannon Abney in 1990 and they have been married for 25 years with three children. He graduated with honors from the University of Memphis with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. He then completed an MBA in 2008. Shaun currently serves as Senior Vice President at Barnhart, an engineered heavy rigging and heavy transportation contractor for heavy industrial construction. He also serves in several capacities for GROVE, the giving arm of Barnhart. He serves on the board of GROVE, on the Proposal Review Committee, and is a champion for several ministries in the GROVE model. In addition Shaun is on the board of Development Associates International, a parachurch ministry focused on empowering Christian leaders for the church, the family, and NGOs all over the world.
Leslie Lynn Smith
Leslie Lynn Smith serves as president of EPIcenter and vice president of Memphis Bioworks Foundation. EPIcenter serves as a central point of contact for the Memphis region’s entrepreneurship ecosystem and connects entrepreneurs to resources from various organizations in the community such as accelerators, incubators, mentors, investors, networking programs, and technical assistance programs. Together with its partners, EPIcenter is pursuing a common goal of creating a robust and vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem in Memphis. Smith is the former president and CEO of TechTown Detroit, a business accelerator and incubator that provides a powerful connection to a broad network of resources, catalyzing entire communities of entrepreneurs.
Renée Suhr is a graduate of both Messiah College and Geneva College. Her experiences as an Executive Director of Capitol Hill Pregnancy Center; Assistant to the President and Director of Continuing Education at Regent College; and Marketing Director of the Center for Creative Arts Expression all provided opportunities for her to work out her creativity, leadership, community involvement & public relations skills that would blossom into starting a business in Beaver Falls in 2014. Her managerial experience, paired with her creative sensibilities and passions, led to the marriage of founding, managing and working as an artist at the Stray Cat Studio in Beaver Falls. Because of her passion to see this recovering small “Steel Town” revived, she serves on the Beaver Falls Business District Authority as it’s Chair. Renée is married to Hank and they have 3 children.
Dr. Randy White is the founder of the Fresno Institute for Urban Leadership (FIFUL). He has worked internationally as head of the Bakke Graduate University global doctoral degree programs. He is the author of many articles, and his books include The Work of Our Hands (2012) and Encounter God in the City (2006). White is the Director of the Fresno Pacific University Center for Community Transformation and associate professor of community transformation at FPU Biblical Seminary. In addition, he serves as a community advisor to Fresno’s mayor, on the leadership team of the Central Valley Justice Coalition which fights human trafficking, and as a steering committee member of the No Name Fellowship. He has been married to Tina for 35 years, has two married sons and four grandchildren.
Jim joined the FCS team in September 2008 as the Executive Director of Charis Community Housing. Since January 2014, Jim has held the role of President at FCS. Jim brings a balance of ministry and business skills to this non-profit, community development organization. Prior to joining the FCS team, Jim spent nine years as the lead pastor of Common Ground Fellowship, a participating member of the Evangelical Free Church of America and before that Jim spent nine years in retail sales and management with Recreational Equipment Incorporated (REI). Jim and his wife, Jolyn, have four children. They have lived in the Atlanta area since 1995 and currently reside in Acworth, GA. Jim is an avid runner and tennis player and loves all foods Mexican.
Bill Terry, a Florida native, attended the University of Florida where he obtained his Engineering degree. He currently is Manager and Engineer at National Guard Products Inc. located in Memphis, Tennessee. During his time at NGP, several innovations and improvements have been made throughout the facility. These developments have made NGP’s operation more efficient, increasing productivity, capacity, and reducing our lead times by large margins. He enjoys mentoring, along with skills training to develop strong teams. Bill is married to Jill, IT Director at Youth Villages in Memphis. Bill and Jill have three daughters, Ellie, 12, Amelia, 10, and Isabell, 7. They live in Bartlett Tennessee.
Kayti Chung-Williams is the owner and chef of Koreole at St. Roch Market in New Orleans, LA. After working with St. Roch Community Church since her move to New Orleans in 2010 from Philadelphia, she has deepened her connection with food and community and founded Koreole with her husband, Gentri Williams. Koreole’s vision and mission is to empower people by learning and working with a livable wage while providing quality, delicious food all for the glory of God. She has worked with the CCDA NOLA network to deepen and strengthen community development through business and economic and leadership development. Kayti and Gentri live in New Orleans with their babygirl, Elyse.
Alexis (AJ) Willis is an IRONMAN competitor, writer, social entrepreneur. Her first company Natural Beautiful Me was founded in 2011 as a platform to empower women to embrace their natural beauty and value their identity. Alexis is a connector in the community and has been dubbed as The Startup Maven, having been steeped in the startup community for the last 3 years. Currently, she is Business Support Director for LAUNCH Chattanooga and has helped jumpstart close to a dozen ideas and businesses. Her biggest and most challenging task: raising her 8 year old daughter, Riley aka “Boom,” as a single mother. It is her most rewarding work yet.
- Introducing 2nd Annual Market Solutions for Community Transformation by Michael Rhodes (Advance Memphis, Director of Education) – It’s no secret that “business people” and “non-profit” people haven’t always gotten along. Business folks get tired of being treated like ATMs, while folks on the front lines working with the poor often associate business and commerce with greed and exploitation. But because work is both God’s original design and His primary poverty alleviation plan, this division between “bad business” and “good charity” can’t continue.
- Market Solutions speaker Joy Anderson, on imagining God’s economy – Market Solutions speaker Joy Anderson is bringing her expertise as a business person and the founder of the Criterion Institute to this important gathering of business people and practitioners sharing best practices in an effort to increase opportunity and reduce poverty.
- Market Solutions, the excitement is building by Ernie Hilliard (Market Solutions Marketing Committee Chair) – It’s almost here, and the excitement is building. The Memphis host team started working on this Market Solutions for Community Transformation Pre-conference last fall. It feels like eons ago, but these months have really flown by quickly, and it’s almost show time. I’ve been like a kid waiting for the circus to come to town.