POP, Too!



POP, Too! is GWBC’s Carolina based companion to the annual flagship POP Marketplace which is held in Atlanta, Georgia. During this one-day conference, WBEs  and procurement professionals interact with each other to promote growth opportunities and enhance business relationships.

The 5th annual POP, Too! Conference was held at the Harris Conference Center | 3216 CPCC Harris Campus Drive | Charlotte, North Carolina 28208.

GWBC 2019 POP, Too! Conference

Recap: 2019 Speakers

Meridith Elliott Powell jeans-sitting-thumb

Keynote Speaker: Meridith Elliott Powell — Business Growth Expert

Voted one of the Top 15 Business Growth Experts to watch by Currency Fair, Meridith Elliott Powell is an award-winning author, keynote speaker and business strategist. With a background in corporate sales and leadership, her career expands over several industries including banking, healthcare and finance. Meridith worked her way up from an entry-level position to earn her seat at the C-Suite table. She is Certified Speaking Professional, a designation held by less than twelve percent of professional speakers, and a member of the prestigious Forbes Coaching Council.

She has a cutting-edge message, rooted in real-life examples and real-world knowledge. She is the author of four books, including Winning In The Trust & Value Economy (a finalist in the USA Best Book Awards) and her latest “Own It: Redefining Responsibility – Stories of Power, Freedom & Purpose about how to build cultures the inspire ownership at every level to create profits at every turn. Meridith writes, speaks and is passionate about helping her clients understand everything they need to know about how to make this economy start working for them.

High energy and highly interactive, Meridith’s keynote will help leaders and business owners learn the new rules of success today. Including how today’s economy has changed, how that has changed today’s customers and employees, and specifically how that impacts your business.

In her highly engaging keynote-speaking sessions, Meridith shows her audiences how to attract more business, retain top talent, and leap into position to win in this new economy. No walking on coals, no breaking boards, just real-life strategies you can put into place first thing Monday morning.


Workshop Speaker: Evelyn Ashley — Managing Partner of Trusted Counsel, LLC

Evelyn Ashley is Managing Partner of Trusted Counsel (Ashley) LLC, which she founded in 2004. Trusted Counsel is a high touch, boutique corporate and technology law firm and certified woman-owned business. Trusted Counsel typically represents privately held businesses which utilize intellectual property assets as one of their primary competitive advantages.

Evelyn advises private company clients on matters such as strategy, negotiation and the execution of mergers and acquisitions, financing and investments, corporate governance as well as intellectual property protection. Her focus has always been on the overall strategic legal tools that support the growth and increase the value of business clients.

She is a member of the Board of Directors of nsoro Foundation which provides educational and supplemental financial support for college to young people who have “aged out” of the foster care system (www.nsoro.foundation). As well, she serves as a Director of Interact Law, worldwide organization of boutique law firms and is a member of the Board of Directors of the Greater Women’s Business Council.


Workshop Speaker: Dr. Banerjee — Assistant Professor of Finance at the McColl School of Business, Queens University of Charlotte

Dr. Banerjee is an Assistant Professor of Finance at the McColl School of Business, Queens University of Charlotte. Her research expertise and interests include Empirical Asset Pricing, Systematic and Idiosyncratic Risk Premium, Trading Strategies, Corporate Finance, Cryptocurrency, Market Microstructure and Portfolio Management. She has been invited to present her research in top Finance Conferences, including the Financial Management Association Annual Meeting, the Multinational Finance Society Conference, and the Southwestern Finance Association.

Before joining Queens, she was a professor at NEOMA Business School, France. Dr. Banerjee received her Ph.D. in Finance from the C.T. Bauer College of Business, University of Houston. Prior to her doctoral studies, she received her Master of Science in Electrical and Computer Engineering from University of Florida. She has been the recipient of the Presidential Graduate Fellowship and the Dean’s Award for Academic Excellence at the University of Houston.


Workshop Speaker: Patrick Dierberger — assistant vice president and Senior Procurement Officer at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta

Patrick Dierberger is an assistant vice president and Senior Procurement Officer in the Financial Management and Planning (FM&P) Department at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. He is responsible for FM&P’s financial management, accounting, procurement, travel, and discretionary functions as well as other duties associated with the Bank’s financial reporting.  Patrick, who has worked at the Atlanta Fed for over 20 years, held positions of increasing responsibility in the Payor Bank Services, Treasury Check Processing, Check Administration, and Unisys Information Security departments before joining FM&P. He holds a bachelor’s degree in aviation management from Auburn University, and has completed executive development programs with Harvard University and The Wharton School.  He currently serves on the board of directors for the Greater Women’s Business Council and the Center for Pan Asian Community Services, a nonprofit provider of self-sufficiency and equity programs for immigrant, refugee and underprivileged families.


Workshop Speaker: Larry Edwards — Six Sigma Black Belt, Chair, ASQ Charlotte

Larry Edwards is passionate about continuous improvement in all areas of life both personal and business. Over the past 20 years, he has played an instrumental role in the development and growth of multiple not for profit organizations and small business development initiatives. He describes himself as a “serial innovations engineer” seeking to make a positive impact in his local and greater communities.

Inquisitive and optimistic, Larry pursued and attained three bachelor’s degrees and his Master of Business Administration. These were accompanied with professional designations to include his ASQ Certified Manager of Quality Organizational Excellence (CMQ/OE), Certified Six Sigma Black Belt and PMI PMP.  He is currently employed by Mecklenburg County Government as a Senior Process Consultant and owns his own business Larry Edwards & Associates. He had served on the advisory board for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Community Relations Committee, the board of PMI Metrolina, Area 23 Governor Toastmasters District 37, board member on City of Peace (performance arts) and both Newsletter Editor and now Section Chair for ASQ Charlotte.

Larry’s other interest include family, faith, community engagement, public speaking and member of Toastmasters for the past 12 years, and travel.  Larry has successfully completed but continues a lifetime goal of seeing all seven continents and all 50 of our states.  Less successful endeavors included a brief stent as a standup comedian, singer and boxer. Can’t win them all!


Workshop Speaker: Eartha Jean Johnson — CEO of Risk Mitigation Worldwide

Eartha Jean Johnson is CEO of Risk Mitigation Worldwide (formerly LegalWATCH), an award-winning company she formed in 1997 after practicing law for Exxon and working for the United States Department of Justice, Kutak Rock, and AT&T.  Eartha uses her business background, experience and the knowledge she acquired practicing law to help executives avoid mistakes that often result in huge jury awards, compliance sanctions, negative media, and criminal liability.   Eartha has earned a Juris Doctorate Degree; Master of Laws Degree in Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Law; Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration; and Associate Degree in Criminal Justice.  She is also certified in training and development and holds a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) designation. Risk Mitigation Worldwide has earned numerous awards.

Eartha has been married for 39 years to her childhood sweetheart, Lonnie Johnson.  They have three children, Teiva Bell, Tiera Johnson Williams and Antuan Johnson. Eartha, her husband and all three of their children are attorneys.

Eartha has served as President of the Houston Lawyers Association; Chair of the African American Law Section of the State Bar of Texas; President, Texas Executive Women; Community Organizer, NPursuit of Justice; Board Member, Women Business Enterprise Alliance and Houston Minority Supplier Diversity Council;  National Founding Member, WIPP (“Women Impacting Public Policy”); Board Member, NISH (“National Institute for the Severely Disabled”); Chair, Women’s Lawyers Division of the National Bar Association; and served on the National Women’s Business Council, a bi-partisan Federal government council that advises the President, Congress and the U.S. Small Business Administration on economic issues important to women.  Eartha is also a Trustee of the University of Nebraska Foundation, and serves on University of Nebraska Law School Advisory Board.  She is a WBENC Woman of Distinction and a member of the Women’s Leadership Forum.


The commitment and support from our valued sponsors allows us to continue to grow our programming, enhance our event experiences, and provide relevant resources to develop women entrepreneurs and their supporters.

2019 Recap

Event Date
Thursday, March 21, 2019

Event Location
Harris Conference Center
3216 Cpcc Harris Campus Dr | Charlotte, NC

2018 Recap

Event Date
Thursday, March 8, 2018

Event Location
Harris Conference Center
3216 Cpcc Harris Campus Dr | Charlotte, NC