2021 Black Business Hall of Fame inductees announced

The Greater Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky African American Chamber of Commerce has announced its 2021 Black Business Hall of Fame inductees, chosen for their extraordinary and longstanding commitment to business, their Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky communities and the employment and promotion of African Americans in the region. The 2021 Hall of Fame honorees will be inducted and celebrated, Nov. 20, 6 p.m., at Music Hall.


Leaving a Legacy Awardee

Jim Clingman, businessman, author, and civic leader.

Mr. Clingman is the founder of the AACC and is a strong advocate of economic empowerment for African Americans. He is a member of the Cincinnati Black Business Association and the Harvest Institute, an African American think tank.


Legacy Leaders

Barbara Turner, president and CEO, Ohio National Financial Services.

In 2018, Ms. Turner became Ohio National’s 11th president and chief operating officer and the first woman and person of color to serve in this role. She has a special passion for mentoring at-risk teenage girls and single mothers, and helping individuals and families achieve self-sufficiency and financial security and independence. 

Dr. O’dell Owens, retired president and CEO, Interact for Health.

Dr. Owens was twice elected Hamilton County coroner and has been an advisor to Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine throughout the pandemic. In 1982, Owens established an invitro fertilization program at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center and achieved Cincinnati’s first successful conception and delivery as well as the first pregnancy from a frozen embryo. In 2020, Dr. Owens was recognized as a “Great Living Cincinnatian” by the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber


Emerging Leaders

Tarita Preston, chief coach at Tarita Preston

Ms. Preston is a professional life and leadership coach, bringing clients closer to their higher selves. Preston honed her leadership and coaching skills by working in a number of challenging environments as an HRBP at a Fortune 10 company. Preston provided guidance to senior leaders during plant closings and national union negotiations and helped establish a shared services organization. Prior to working in HR, Preston held an array of positions in and outside of the United States, working in London as a Parliamentary Assistant at the UK Parliament.

Rico Grant, founder, Paloozanoire and Gallery at Gumbo

Paloozanoire is a community-based organization established in 2019 with a focus on support and the growth of people of color in the areas of corporate leadership, entrepreneurship and creativity. He now leads an entrepreneurial program at NKU (SoCap Accelerate, dedicated to the growth of healthcare startups in the region. Grant is the founder of Gallery At Gumbo, a barbershop and art gallery collaboration in the heart of OTR that thrives on diversity in the arts and culture space. And leads a podcast, Gumbo Talks, with more than 17,000 listeners region wide.


2021 Black Business Hall of Fame inductees

  • Gail Billings, owner, Edibles-n-Such
  • Judson Pickard, owner, Pickard Enterprises
  • Carol Ruffin, owner, Blossoms Florist
  • Barbara Smith, owner and president, Journey Steel
  • Marvin Smith, owner, Ollie’s Trolley
  • Carolyn Wallace, owner, The Perfect Brew & Promoter, It’s Commonly Jazz 

“These Black Business Hall of Fame inductees are trailblazers in their respective industries, said Eric Kearney, president and CEO of the AACC. “As we celebrate our 25th anniversary, your African American Chamber is proud and excited to recognize this impressive group of inductees for its vision, passion and dedication to Black businesses and the communities they serve.” 

Tickets for the 25th Anniversary AACC Black Business Hall of Fame celebration are $100 and include food, drinks, and live music.

Registration is now open.

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