Tourism expands from the Fort Lauderdale beaches to the Sistrunk Historic Corridor when members of the National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women’s Clubs, Inc., gather for their 82nd annual convention July 15-22. 

Over 300 movers and shakers are expected to attend sessions at the Westin Fort Lauderdale Beach Hotel, and the organization will also stage several special events as part of the conference at the Urban League of Broward County and African American Research Library and Cultural Center, the Sistrunk area’s economic and cultural campus.

Fifty local youth will be selected for a mentoring program with high-profile women of achievement in entrepreneurism, business, and professional careers. 

An open forum on the Me-Too issue will bring together representatives of the Broward Sheriff’s Department and community members for a candid discussion.

The Vocal Arts Competition, a signature convention event where young classical performers compete for scholarships, will be held at the Urban League July 17 at 7 p.m., and open to the public.  A gala on July 20 at the Westin will recognize and honor individuals in the local community.

In the process, convention participants will also get a firsthand view of the emerging Sistrunk destination, a cultural district offering heritage tours, performance spaces, service-learning tours, and arts experiences and a center for economic development projects.

 “We’ve always wanted to ensure that our communities are impacted by tourism - in education and in economics - and this is making Sistrunk part of the larger tourism story. It’s a strong initiative,” said Albert Tucker, Vice President for Multicultural Business Development with the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention and Visitors Bureau, a partner in the events.

The convention is hosted by the Broward chapter club with the support of affiliates in the Southeast region. “Many of the participants will be visiting Fort Lauderdale for the first time,” said Bernadine Bush, chair of the local convention host committee and a Miami club member.  “We hope that, in addition to enjoying the conference, we’ll develop new tourism opportunities where people will come, extend their stay, and come back.” 

The Washington, D.C.-based National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women’s Clubs was founded in 1935 by African American business and professional women excluded from access to the mainstream networks because of racism. The 2,000-member alliance of clubs has become a major promoter of opportunities for women in a wide range of workplaces and in the home. The group   also provides a bridge for young people entering businesses and professions and conducts programs in communities globally.

“We want people to know that we are a valuable hub representing  women who can share experiences on all levels,” said Diane Toppin, National President. “And, we look forward to learning about the area and seeing the changes to the community.”