Elevate Conference

Connecting The Black Business Community

April 6, 2019

BLack Culture & Influence Panel

How Influence Shapes Consumer Culture, Conversation and Consumption

“We’re in a time where cultural capital is becoming more valuable than a dollar, further empowering the creators shaping culture” – Julian Mitchell. Our panel explores how creators and brands should think about using this newfound power and how those synergies can be monetized authentically. By looking through the lens of content creators, brand partners and the distribution channels enabling these conversations, we provide our attendees with access into the complex world of multicultural marketing in today’s digital first world. You won’t want to miss this.


Erika Bennett

Global Head, Social & Influencer Marketing, YouTube Originals & TV

Erika has sparked conversation, shaped opinion and driven results for some of the world's most prestigious entertainment and consumer brands through insights-driven campaigns that have created meaningful and mutually beneficial brand/consumer relationships.

Erika currently serves as Global Head of Social and Influencer Marketing, where she oversees digital marketing and influencer efforts for YouTube Originals and YouTube TV. In her short tenure, she has already helped deliver YouTube Original’s first breakout hit, Cobra Kai, while leading social and influencer efforts in support of YouTube TV’s tentpole sports marketing sponsorships of the NBA and MLB.

Additionally, Erika spearheaded the agency’s presence within the diversity community and continues to develop and forge agency and client relationships with top multicultural entities to support campaigns and broader strategic diversity initiatives at YouTube.

Erika attended Northwestern University where she obtained her Bachelor of Science degree in communications with a focus on radio, television and film.


Alero Akuya

Senior Brand Director: Olympics, Athletes and Purpose Marketing at Nike

With over 11 years at Nike, Alero Akuya has held a variety of Brand Marketing roles in both New York and Los Angeles inclusive of Nike Sportswear, Nike Women, Nike Training, Brand Experience, most recently the Senior Brand Director of New York prior to moving into her current role as the Nike Senior Director of Olympics, Athlete and Purpose Marketing for North America. In her past roles, Alero redefined the brand operating model to deliver integrated marketplace strategies partnering cross functionally, categorically with geographies to bring best of Nike to local and global consumers.  

Working with a world class team, she drove the future vision leading organizational transformation of Nike New York by creating the consumer mindset offense yielding consumer propositions such as WIN NYC, NYC 100, and Membership strategies. She launched the first ever Nike NYHQ, Nike Soho, Nike Miami, and the New York Made city brand voice all while guiding the brand into the forefront of New York Fashion week in tandem with the US Open.

These strategies translated into brand experiences like Nike Off Campus, Jersey Suite, New York City Marathon – Breakthrough, The 1 Reimagined, Be True for Equality, ChooseGoNYC and NY vs NY – connecting Nike with NYC, bringing momentum back to the city with the consumer at center.

A self-acclaimed bi-coastal Los Yorker Alero is an avid dancer and traveler. Alero has run 9 half marathons and has been contemplating her 10th for some time… With an undying love and passion for sport she continues to celebrate both the Super Eagles and Serena Williams.


Walter Mosley

Entertainment Lawyer

Mr. Mosley leads both the Corporate and Entertainment, Media & Technology practice groups at Mosley & Associates where he participates in a broad-based corporate, securities, real estate, finance, intellectual property, sports, media, arts, fashion and entertainment practice.  He represents issuers, funds, investment banks, high-net worth individuals and small businesses in a variety of corporate finance, film finance, private equity, merger and acquisition and corporate advisory matters. Mr. Mosley handles trademark, copyright, licensing and general corporate matters as well as representing talent, producers, production companies and labels in film, music, television and fashion projects.  He also negotiates marketing, endorsement and other campaigns for his varied sports and entertainment clients. As a litigator, Mr. Mosley has defended both public and private billion dollar acquisitions, as well as a SEC investigation related to option back-dating. As a watchdog, he provides transparent checks and balances for his entertainment clients, monitoring the actions and deals of the sports agents, managers, business managers, accountants and agencies.  To that end, he has brought cases against business managers and large bookkeeping firms for fraud, mismanagement of funds and breaches of fiduciary duty for his entertainment clients.


Julian Mitchell (Moderator)

Entrepreneur, Journalist and Forbes Columnist

Julian Mitchell is an award-winning marketer, instructor, and multimedia journalist. He’s crafted content and campaigns for brands like Beats By Dre, Honda, Wells Fargo, Google, Sovereign Brands and Magic Johnson

Enterprises. In 2013, Mitchell worked alongside Sean Diddy Combs to launch REVOLT Media & TV as Social Media and Editorial Director.

Mitchell is currently a Forbes columnist covering disruptive entrepreneurs and startups. Prior to highlighting entrepreneurs, his Forbes column The Codecovered the biggest names and news across music, media and entertainment. Mitchell is also a Beats by Dre columnist, with his Corner Office series covering business leaders at the intersection of music, lifestyle and technology. 

In 2016, LinkedIn ranked Mitchell No. 9 on their list of Top Voices in Media, citing him as one of the must-know writers shaping culture. In the same year, Mitchell was tapped by Complex Networks to launch Complex Hustle, the networks first video channel for entrepreneurs.

Mitchell carries years of experience as an instructor for MediaBistro, and has been a speaker at CES, VidCon, Social Media Week, A3C, MegaFest, Tech808, UCLA, USC, and NBC Universal among others.


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