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SPOTLIGHT: Tawana Bain

Tawana Bain Founder & CEO of Derby Diversity Week shares the importance of equity.

As a businesswoman of color, who have you found to be your biggest supporters?

It’s always been women. The nice ones. Heaven help us all for the mean ones. Women of all backgrounds have been a huge reason for my success. There have been a few gents along the way too, but their support is nothing like the many women who have poured into me from around the globe.

What does empowerment truly mean for today’s society?

I firmly believe that true equity is having allies around the table that are hell-bent on seeing Minorities win. Making shared equity a priority means we leave no one behind, and we all get stronger together. Celebrating diversity means celebrating the things that make us different, along with the things we share in common. That’s the essence of who we are and what we do- business by day, festival by night. Many companies and individuals see the importance of what DDW is doing and know that by helping us make this a successful endeavor, they’re really investing in our community. And not just during the Derby season, but year-round.

What motivates you to continue doing this work?

I find that I’m interested in non-traditional concepts and themes, I’m all about providing experiences. Derby Diversity Week is the primary and flagship fundraiser for GEDDI, the Global Economic Diversity Development Initiative. GEDDI is, by its very existence, the essence of equity. 

Black organizations too infrequently receive the financial resources to make their infrastructure stronger in meaningful ways. Everything built during Derby Diversity Week fosters opportunities to transact and build wealth in the Black community because true wealth building is creating a vehicle where Black people can succeed. 

We have a responsibility to lead not just based on profits, but also on morals. I want to affect the type of change that emboldens us to speak up and call out hypocrisy that is suffocating our ability to prosper. Our mission is to inspire people to treat the earth and people better. Seeing the way that people connect, grow, establish authentic connections, take on new endeavors to do just that is truly inspiring! 


  For a growing number of diverse people, the letters ‘”DDW” are another way to say “home”


Who are some of the women who have made a significant impact on your life?

My mom Eleanor Bain, My late sister Veronica Bain. Dear friends – Prenashee Collins, Jade Melvin. MJ Diebold, Tara Abraham, Phoebe Wood and Eden Bridgeman Sklenar

What book can always be found on your bookshelf?

The books on my bookshelf change with the seasons. It really depends on where I am in life. Here are few that are within eyeshot of where I am sitting as I write this: Doing Business by the Good Book, by David L. Steward and Robert L Shook. Dear White Women, by Hannah Drake, It’s not You, It’s Me I am Breaking Up with You, The Holy Bible and Food, Fashion, Fun and Friendship by Chris Fulkerson.



ABOUT TAWANA

Tawana Bain is an entrepreneur on the move known for the growing and thriving Derby Diversity Week, The minority and gender inclusive meeting/celebration designed to open up Derby Season in Louisville for everyone. It’s a business conference by day and series of festival experiences by night, held during the week leading into Derby Day-the first Saturday in May. With a goal to attract 600 attendees daily at the Kentucky International Convention Center and over 1000 at night at various event locations, DDW is a unique experience that offers individuals and companies the opportunity to showcase and connect to grow awareness around diversity and establish equity for all. 

Tawana is perhaps equally recognized as owner of Black Jockeys Lounge, an elevated Louisville Restaurant, rich in history named to honor the forgotten original Black riders in the early Derby races, and as the founder of GEDDI, a 501(c)3 non-profit foundation seeking donations to afford its fund development arm the ability to make grants to nonprofit and for-profit recipients focused on building economic wealth for the Black community. GEDDI began operations in August 2020 and is continuing to build its capacity to become the leader in funding Black business development. The foundation is 100% Black-founded and predominantly Black-led.

Tawana Bain is an entrepreneur on the move known for the growing and thriving Derby Diversity Week, The minority and gender inclusive meeting/celebration designed to open up Derby Season in Louisville for everyone. It's a business conference by day and series of festival experiences by night, held during the week leading into Derby Day-the first Saturday in May. With a goal to attract 600 attendees daily at the Kentucky International Convention Center and over 1000 at night at various event locations, DDW is a unique experience that offers individuals and companies the opportunity to showcase and connect to grow awareness around diversity and establish equity for all.

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