BRAC Announces Speakers for Regional Canvas Benchmarking Workshop

Trip to Cincinnati to feature prominent business, community leaders

Baton Rouge, La. (April 10, 2018) – The Baton Rouge Area Chamber (BRAC) today announced the speaker lineup for its upcoming Regional Canvas Benchmarking Workshop, scheduled for May 20 – 22 in Cincinnati, Ohio. A comprehensive listing of presenters and registration can be found online at The registration deadline for the trip is Friday, April 20.

The three-day workshop will expose participants to prominent business and community leaders in Cincinnati, allowing the opportunity for candid dialogue around shared priorities and challenges. The agenda features keynote presentations and panel discussions on topics including quality of place, workforce development, diversity and inclusion, entrepreneurship, and more.

Confirmed speakers include:

  • Steve Leeper, president and CEO of Cincinnati Center City Development Corporation (3CDC), the managing entity of over $1.3 billion in investments in downtown Cincinnati and Over-the-Rhine, a nationally-recognized redevelopment project that transformed a blighted, abandoned area into a business and talent magnet
  • Wendy Lea, CEO of Centrifuse, a public-private partnership designed to build a tech-based economy in the Greater Cincinnati Region
  • Mel Gravely, CEO of TriVersity Construction Company, a commercial construction company that proactively focuses on economic inclusion through its recruitment and talent development efforts. Gravely is also the founder of the Institute for Entrepreneurial Thinking, Ltd., a think-tank focused on getting the best results from minority business development initiatives. He is the author of eight books on business success, leadership and minority entrepreneurship.
  • Tamara Harkavy, CEO and artistic director of ArtWorks, a job-training and employment program for teens that leverages the arts as a workforce development opportunity
  • David Phillips, founder of Cincinnati Works, an organization dedicated to reducing the number of people living below the poverty level by assisting them to strive toward self-sufficiency through work
  • Darrin Redus, vice president of the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber’s Minority Business Accelerator, a nationally-recognized accelerator that supports the development of large scale African American and Hispanic firms through a series of partnerships with major corporations to impact job and wealth creation in underserved communities

More information on the speakers above, additional presenters, and their organizations can be found at In addition to content-rich sessions, the Canvas Workshop registration includes a walking tour of Over-the-Rhine, a Cincinnati Reds baseball game, accommodations at the AC Hotel Cincinnati, and all food and transportation. Registration will be accepted through Friday, April 20 at

The Regional Canvas Benchmarking Workshop is supported in part by generous sponsors. Cox is the hospitality sponsor, Jones Walker is a dinner sponsor, Humana and Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center are lunch sponsors, Baton Rouge General is a breakfast sponsor, Taylor Porter is a refreshment sponsor, and the Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport is the welcoming sponsor. Additional sponsorship opportunities are available; contact Michelle Mahaffey at for more information.

About the Baton Rouge Area Chamber

The Baton Rouge Area Chamber (BRAC) leads economic development in the nine-parish Baton Rouge Area, working to grow jobs and wealth and to improve the business climate and competitiveness in the region. Today, BRAC investors include more than 1,500 small businesses, mid-sized firms, large industry and entrepreneurial startups, as well as individuals and organizations that support business and economic development. In this capacity, BRAC serves as the voice of the business community, providing knowledge, access, services and advocacy. More information is available at


Morgan is the Marketing Manager for the Baton Rouge Area Chamber. In her role, she manages writing organizational publications and materials, oversees BRAC’s social media and blog, and coordinates timelines for all internal marketing projects.

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