Inductees to be celebrated at Nov. 20 Ceremony. Chamber founder to be presented Legacy Award.
By Jackie Reau
The Greater Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky African American Chamber of Commerce (AACC) has announced its 2021 Black Business Hall of Fame inductees. The Hall of Fame members are chosen for their extraordinary and longstanding commitment to business, their Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky communities and the employment and promotion of African Americans in the region.
The 2021 Hall of Fame honorees will be inducted and celebrated on Nov. 20, 6 p.m., at Music Hall. They are:
Leaving a Legacy Awardee: Jim Clingman, businessman, author and civic leader. Clingman is the founder of the AACC and a strong advocate of economic empowerment for African Americans. He is a member of the Cincinnati Black Business Association and the Harvest Institute, an African American think tank.
Barbara Turner, president and CEO, Ohio National Financial Services. In 2018, Turner became Ohio National’s 11th president and chief operating officer. She is the first woman and person of color to serve in this role. She has a special passion for mentoring at-risk teenage girls and single mothers, and helping individuals and families achieve self-sufficiency and financial security and Independence.
Dr. O’dell Owens, M.D., retired president and CEO, Interact for Health. Owens was twice elected Hamilton County coroner and has been an adviser to Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine throughout the pandemic. In 1982, Owens established an in vitro fertilization program at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center and achieved Cincinnati’s first successful conception and delivery as well as the first pregnancy from a frozen embryo. In 2020, Owens was recognized as a Great Living Cincinnatian by the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber.
Tarita Preston, chief coach at Tarita Preston. Preston is a professional life and leadership coach, bringing clients closer to their higher selves. Preston honed her leadership and coaching skills by working in a number of challenging environments as a human relations business partner at a Fortune 10 company. Preston provided guidance to senior leaders during plant closings and national union negotiations and helped establish a shared services organization. Prior to working in HR, Preston held an array of positions in and outside of the United States, working in London as a parliamentary assistant at the United Kingdom Parliament.
Rico Grant, founder, Paloozanoire. Grant founded Paloozanoire, a nonprofit established in 2019 with a focus on support and the growth of people of color in the areas of corporate leadership, entrepreneurship and creativity. Grant is a serial entrepreneur and Cincinnati startup mentor working with Cintrifuse. He founded the wildly successful venture CrownMob in 2017 to create a marketplace for Black hair care, garnering more than 46,000 users in two years.
2021 Black Business Hall of Fame inductees:
Gail Billings, owner, Edibles-n-Such
Judson Pickard, owner, Pickard Enterprises
Carol Ruffin, owner, Blossoms Florist
Barbara Smith, owner and president, Journey Steel
Marvin Smith, owner, Ollie’s Trolley
Carolyn Wallace, owner, The Perfect Brew and promoter, It’s Commonly Jazz
“These Black Business Hall of Fame inductees are trailblazers in their respective industries,” said Eric Kearney, president and CEO of the AACC. “As we celebrate our 25th anniversary, your African American Chamber is proud and excited to recognize this impressive group of inductees for their vision, passion and dedication to Black businesses and the communities they serve.”
Tickets for the 25th anniversary AACC Black Business Hall of Fame celebration are $100 and include food, drinks and live music. Registration is now open at https://www.aaccleavingalegacygala.com/.