The Fourth Annual Circle of Achievement Awards Gala - 2/20/14

Wednesday, April 30, 2014
6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Hyatt Regency New Brunswick, New Brunswick, NJ
Followed by Live Jazz:
8:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. 

$40 per person - includes hors d'oeuvres (cash bar)
We will present a video of the March 7th Installation luncheon at the 
Cocktail Reception.  Register today - Come show your support for
our Statewide President and National Chairman.
First and Foremost, God
Harry Alford and Kay DeBow, the Co-Founders of the National Black Chamber of Commerce
The NBCC Board of Directors
The AACCNJ Board of Directors
Jacqueline Baptiste, My Executive Assistant
Members/Supporters from NJ
John Nietzel, SVP, Commercial Lending, Investors Bank
Darren Dowdy – President of RAZAC
Lance Lopez – President-PBA 105
Family, Friends (Ms. Foster/Stephanie Jones/Adrian Hughes, GM Hyatt, Board Members/Tracey Syphax/ Rolanda Brewer)
Today has finally arrived!   With all humility, I accept this opportunity to serve as Chairman of NBCC! As I revisited this day in my mind, I paused to reflect upon our collective journey through the lens of our respective ancestry……because within everyone, there is a story, a point of origin…and if you will allow me, I would like to begin my story with a few Black Heroes; individuals that defied the odds in pursue of a better life for their people.

 The first, Fredrick ( Bailey )Douglas, a man who refused to be recognized as a slave, learned to read and write became an author, used his writing to purchase his freedom. Later travelled to Europe, where many people encouraged him to stay, however, he returned because he did not want to abandon his people.

Booker T. Washington, born into slavery, his education financed by a white man, founded the Negro Business League in 1900, which consisted of 40 chapters between Maryland and Texas.

Served as an Adviser to President Taft, who established the US Chamber of Commerce, in 1912. BTW encouraged Blacks to remain in the south and participate in the new economy post slavery due to a number of opportunities resulting from the massive migration of blacks to the north.

 Mary McCloud Bethune, a woman with a vision to educate her people, started a school with 5 girls and her son, using coal for chalk, milk crates for desk….sold bake goods and lemonade to support her efforts….later met the founders of Proctor & Gamble and sold them on her vision of creating a school….this strategic partnership led to the formation of Bethune Cookman College…..

Harriet Tubman, recognized for leading a number of slaves to the freedom, a feat that never would have been accomplished with the cooperation and collaboration of White Americans….This is why I often say, Black History is American History……Harriet Tubman carried two pistols, for those who were double mined……She often said, she could have save more, if they did realize, they were slave……

Why these particular  stories today?.....because, they serve as a constant reminder of where I come from, and provide a perspective of what’s required to truly be a successful leader in the Black Chamber of Commerce business today

-Vision -Awareness -Relevance -Value Proposition 

These are the guiding principles that I live by every day as I seek to navigate the vast challenges facing the 66,000 black businesses and the 1.2 million residents in New Jersey who are entitled to their equitable share of the states’ prosperity…..No this is not about charity, however, it’s all about speaking with a unified voice, beating back false perceptions and positioning our constituencies as an integral component of New Jersey’s success!

 In other words, by truly leveraging the state’s diversity, we elevate New Jersey’s competitive advantage over other states within the region. This same strategy can be applied nationally by engaging every chapter within our Federation….Throughout our history in the United States, we have a countless number of black heroes who exemplified greatness once the playing field was leveled……..Jackie Robinson in MLB, Reginald Lewis on Wall Street, Benjamin Banneker in Washington DC, Madame CJ Walker, the first female millionaire.

 There is no question, that Black people add value to the equation, however, for too long many of us, throw, our hands in, once the cards, are dealt……We have come too far to be mediocre or irrelevant…..our forefathers have left a legacy of excellence, notwithstanding the odds!
 Harry and Kay founded the NBCC on those same principles….

Therefore, as the New Chairman of the NBCC, I plan to pursue a very simple agenda in partnership with Harry, Kay and our Board of Directors:

- Aggressive Advocacy for full compliance of HUD Section 3 throughout our federation; by doing so effectively, we can leverage federal dollars to educate, train, employ and grow businesses, within their communities

 -Champion education; by working closely with our partners to provide books, technology and focusing on STEM we can elevate the competitiveness of tomorrow’s children while positioning them for growth and opportunity 

-Engage the Corporate and Financial sectors in a strategic partnership to derive mutual value. Starting with an honest conversation about their minority spend and capital access for Black Businesses and communities. 

Specifically, what are they spending with black business, and how can we work with them to improve participation levels of black businesses ………..through a targeted strategy, we will present our best and brightest to vie for opportunities with an understanding, they too must commit to hiring 2nd and 3rd tier black firms……   

We will prioritize those corporations we select by using our consumer spend data… that we grossly over spend on a per capita bases; cable television, smart phones, personal products, etc. to name a few, will be the first group that we plan to engage in an effort to strengthen the 1.9 million black businesses across America. 

This is critically important, given that Black Consumer spending is approximately $1 trillion dollars annually and Black Business Annual revenues are approximately $150 billion….thus producing an $850 billion deficit in the black community. We must do a better job at holding ourselves more accountable. 

Let me close with this, I am from a small city in New Jersey called Trenton; the state capital; county seat; the First Nation’s Capital, a former industrial giant at the turn of the century…..Many people from across the United States and around the world have come to know my city for its slogan “Trenton Makes The World Takes”…….. 

So I stand before you today, the youngest of 7 children, raised by two loving parents, who never completed high school…..I realized early on, that it’s not where you start but where you finish…… 

I went on to obtain two degrees, worked on Wall Street, owned a transportation company for 16 years, which transported commodities across the United States and Canada, ……and as a member of the NBCC, served as President of The Metro Trenton Chamber of Commerce for 10 years, Founded the New Jersey and New York State Black Chambers and as a result of working throughout my tenure with a spirit of excellence and an uncompromising love for my people, have received numerous awards and recognition for work, that I have a genuine passion………Is proud to accept the honor as the Next Chamber of the National Black Chamber!   Trenton is still Making What the World Is Taking! 

God Bless You and I am Looking Forward to serving as your next Chairman!

John E.  Harmon, Sr.

Next Live Broadcast:
April 21, 2014  5:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. - 
"The Empowerment Hour"
Hosted By John E. Harmon, Sr.  
Kim Lemon, The Lemon Group
Lance Lopez, PBA Local 105

Fourth Annual Golf Classic
June 16, 2014
Cherry Valley Country Club

125 Country Club Drive
Skillman, New Jersey

Full Day of Golf: $250.00 per person (cart included)
Networking Breakfast & Dinner: $150 per person
For Sponsorship and Registration Information visit our website at

Upcoming Events

Links of Interest

April 28, 2014
11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Lafayette Yard Hotel & Conference Center
1 West Lafayette Street
Trenton, NJ 08608
On behalf of the Board of Directors and members of the African American Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey (AACCN), we are proud to announce that the AACCNJ and the Statewide Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey (SHCC-NJ) will host a Trenton, Mayoral Forum on April 28th, 11:30 a.m., at                                                      the Lafayette Yards Conference Center, Trenton, NJ.
“The involvement of the business community is paramount to the success of Trenton’s future therefore I am pleased to announce that the following candidates have confirmed their participation:  James Golden, Jr., Paul Perez, and Walker Worthy.   The remaining candidates are  Eric Jackson, Bucky Leggett, and Kathy McBride.  Moreover, Deborah MacMillan, of the League of Women Voters, will moderate the forum, to ensure complete neutrality, and to uphold the non-partisan status of the respective chambers in accordance with the IRS Code”, John Harmon, AACCNJ, President and CEO.
"This is an important forum that will focus on the economic well- being of the city of Trenton. Given that there are a significant amount of Hispanic businesses in the city, it is important that the SHCC-NJ is involved to ensure that their voices are also heard", Carlos Medina, SHCC-NJ President and CEO.
The Forum will be broadcast live by WBCB. “WBCB-1490A.M. & is very proud to broadcast live the AACCNJ and SHCC-NJ, Mayoral Candidates Forum on April 28th. WBCB strongly believes in the City of Trenton and what the city means to the community and is honored to be associated with it”, Bill Rednor, WBCB.

The AACCNJ performs an essential role in the economic viability of New Jersey.  As affirmed in its mission statement, the Chamber seeks to economically empower and sustain African American communities, and businesses with direct outreach programs, thereby facilitating entrepreneurship and free enterprise activity, not serving as mainly an association of allied businesses. 
The SHCC-NJ is the vehicle to access the Latino community and its formidable purchasing power. The SHCC-NJ has been actively involved with the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
The African American Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey, Inc., (AACCNJ) is dedicated to economically empowering and sustaining African American communities through entrepreneurship and capitalistic activities within the State of New Jersey and via interaction with the National Black Chamber of Commerce, Inc. (NBCC).
The African American Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey has been incorporated as a 501(c)(3) in accordance with the Internal Revenue Code and provides advocacy and support for businesses throughout the State of New Jersey.


* Partnerships to increase contracting with women
    and minority owned businesses
*  Promotes a pro-business agenda
*  HUD Section
*  Title VI
*  Public Policy through Education Reform and Job Creation

Small Business

Click here to download the Hope VI Press Conference Video.
Training/Development Program
* Host Educational Forum and Networking events to connect
opportunities, and resources.
Promotes members through spotlights features in chamber marketing  materials and website.
Capacity building strategies.
Advocates membership access to public, private sectors, and community  opportunities.


* Supply Chain Diversity
*Corporate Advertising
*Marketing Penetration Strategies
*Promotional Opportunities
*Human Resource Recruitment Services
*Youth Mentorship and Entrepreneur Programs
 *Training and Job Readiness Programs
 *Assist in Developing and Implementing Public Policy  Strategies.

The AACCNJ Partners With
Add Us In - NJ

The AACCNJ is a member of The Add Us In - NJ/NY Consortium
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