The Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America (FDRA) and Pensole Lewis College of Business & Design, co-founders of the Black Footwear Forum (BFF), have announced that the next event will take place Sept. 15–17, 2023 on the school’s campus in Detroit. The forum will also kick-off with the first-ever DEI Summit (Sept. 14) that will bring together an array of footwear CEOs and executives to focus on increasing diversity and equity within the industry. Additionally, the BFF is launching a podcast, “Blacklights,” which continues conversations on diversity, highlights black footwear industry leaders and provides resources on how to navigate the footwear industry as POC. The podcast debuts Mar. 13, 2023, with hosts Dion Walcott, director of Partnerships & Engagement for Pensole, and LaShae Boone-McCray, director of Strategic Accounts at RG Barry.
“The BFF is on the move as we work to ensure that black employees in the footwear industry are well-served and empowered to make substantial gains in our industry,” states Dr. D’Wayne Edwards, president of Pensole Lewis College of Business & Design. “It’s my privilege to welcome the Black Footwear Forum back to Pensole Lewis College in 2023 and continue the good work that was accomplished here in Detroit last September.”
“After the amazing and empowering event in Detroit last year it was a no-brainer to have the BFF return to the Motor City in 2023,” says FDRA President and CEO Matt Priest. “Couple the national event with a new podcast, an active Advisory Board and dynamic and engaging regional chapters, and the future of the BFF and our employees has never been brighter.”
The BFF Advisory Board recently added two members: Darius Billings, vice president of Marketing & Outreach for The Athlete’s Foot, and April Dinwoodie, DEIB Lead at Steve Madden. The Board continues to direct the BFF in issues of community engagement, education, networking, in-person events and efforts by regional BFF chapters in key cities nationwide.
To support the BFF and get involved, contact Sabria Butler at firstname.lastname@example.org or Dion Walcott at email@example.com. Visit blackfootwearforum.com for more details.
Dr. D’Wayne Edwards, president of the Pensole Lewis College of Business & Design