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8th Annual Entrepreneurs of Tomorrow - Sonoma County


8th Annual Entrepreneurs of Tomorrow 

By Elaine B. Holtz

A good time was had by over 125 attendees at the 8th Annual Entrepreneurs of Tomorrow Foundation (EOT) Gala, an offshoot of the North Bay Black Chamber of Commerce at the Finley Center on Saturday September 19.

The evening started off with African music by Keenan Webster being played in the reception area while the crowd enjoyed good wine and conversation. Dinner was prepared and served personally to each table by Red Rose Catering of Santa Rosa

Former vice Mayor and City Councilman Lee Pierce was the Master of Ceremonies, whose warm personality and way of telling a good story added a feeling of community as people enjoyed their dinner and listened to music provided by “The First Addition.“ Two special songs sung by ten years old, Tamica Tishay captivated the audience with her beautiful voice. Board member Elaine B. Holtz, host of the radio show, “Women’s Spaces” led the group in saying, The Women’s Spaces Pledge on self-esteem.

Pierce had the honor of introducing the key note speaker, Dr. Lois Merriweather Moore, Past Vice President of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Gates Millennium Scholars National Alumni Association. Dr. Moore offered encouragement to the youth that attended by reminding everyone how one can do what they want to do if they have confidence in themselves and do not let the barriers that are presented get in the way of their goals. She also emphasized understanding that you are not alone in this world and that were many before you who paved the way for you. She talked about the importance of self esteem and believing in yourself. “Don’t let the nay sayers squelch your spirit,” she said.

For EOT Board President Nancy Rogers, One of the highlights of the evening is being able to assist with financial aid to high school and college/university students, so they may pursue their dreams in an industry that is exciting, ever changing and always evolving. According to Rogers the goal of EOT is to inspire students through mentoring, networking, education and funding programs and activities. “It is of essence to remember the importance of keeping our focus on our purpose, which is to prepare our students as character- centered individuals for success in school, in the community, and eventually in their careers,” she concluded.

Several scholarships were given out. The three Entrepreneurs of Tomorrow Foundation Scholarships presented by Nancy Rogers were awarded to: 

Darika Ramsey, Santa Rosa Junior College Business and Dance major, 

Elias Hinit UC Berkeley Social Welfare major and 

Nicole Rucker, Idaho State University Psychology major. 

The Jesse Love Scholarship which goes to help mentor high school students was presented by Harold Rogers and co-sponsored by PG&E was awarded to Christian Ho Sang, Cardinal Newman High School. 

Elias Hunt - Darika Ramsey - Christian Ho Sang, Senay Debessay (Nicole Rucker not pictured)

A special “The Element of Surprise (TEOS) Scholarship sponsored, created and presented by Lee Pierce was awarded to Senay Debesay, Santa Rosa Junior College who was surprised. This is a new scholarship that will be added to the EOT scholarship fund.

Each student said a few words after receiving their scholarships.  There was an overwhelming feeling of joy from both the recipients and those who attended as each student was acknowledged after they spoke. An anonymous woman turned to me and said “I am humbled to be able to support these young people and demonstrate to them the importance of education and that their lives matter to all of us.”