‘Black Enterprise’ digital SVP Justin Barton says we need to disrupt industry

Justin Barton wants others to connect and network

Justin Barton is the senior vice president of digital strategy and partnerships for Black Enterprise. Barton was present at the 2023 Black Enterprise Disruptor Summit which is a business conference that connects, uplifts, and empowers Black entrepreneurs, innovators, investors, and creatives.

Barton spoke with rolling out about the disruptor summit and his role in the conference.

What are your day-to-day responsibilities?

My main role is to be in charge of the digital space of Black Enterprise. I have a lot of input into the disruptor summit and what we’ve done here, and it turned out well. The content we put forward is not your standard content, but it’s geared more towards what people are looking for in this space right now, and the disrupting of the industry of entrepreneurship. For example, I did a panel on raising capital, and it was about how we have a different way of looking at things, and how people do it differently than just venture capital. It’s more deliberate and more minority based.

What do you want people to take away from the summit?

I want them to feel, not that they also just got information on Black Enterprise, but they’ve been able to network with people like them. We had it here in Atlanta, which is somewhat like the Wakanda of the United States. I think it was deliberate for us having this here because we wanted to connect with people in this community and continue networking.

We flipped what we normally do at Black Enterprise with … content to move into something that’s more about networking, where people can experience other people just like them and come out of this thinking, “Hey, I met people that can help me in this portion of my business or that portion of my business.” It’s certainly one of the things that has been successful here so far.

What does a conference like this do for a young entrepreneur?

I think that’s some of the issues that I had in the corporate world, just growing up and not seeing anybody who was like me in that space. There are very few times in the mainstream media, corporations, and media companies I’ve worked for where there’s a Black person at any level. I was one of the few highest [level] Black people in iHeartMedia and I was a VP. I was kind of young, so seeing someone who was just [like] me … helps you see that you can get to that position, you could do this job, and someone got there and they can take me under their wings, and I can see myself in that role. That’s a big plus when you see people like that.

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