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Big Dipper Innovation Summit, January 12-13, Register Now!

Rick Ross joins Art of Noise at the Big Dipper January 13

Rev. Dr. Howard-John Wesley kicks of the Big Dipper Thursday, January 12

Rev. Dr. Howard-John Wesley, one of the most dynamic spiritual leaders of our time, and rapper and record executive Rick Ross join BIG DIPPER.

RICHMOND, VA, USA, January 9, 2023 / — Rev. Dr. Howard-John Wesley, one of the most dynamic spiritual leaders of our time, kicks off the Big Dipper Innovation Summit at 9:00 am on Thursday, January 12 with an in-depth conversation in which he shares his journey, life lessons, decision-making process, and visionary mindset.

Plus, Rick Ross joins Art of Noise as their special guest on Friday, January 13 at 8:00 pm at the VSU Multi-purpose center. Tickets are available at

The Big Dipper Innovation Summit takes place Thursday, January 12 through Saturday, January 14 at VSU’s Multi-Purpose Center, located at 20809 2nd Avenue, Petersburg, VA, 23803. For full details, and to register and purchase tickets, visit

The Big Dipper is a three-day multi-faceted experience (keynote speakers, breakout sessions, etc.) designed to spotlight the foremost thought leaders and talents in tech, innovation, sustainability, entrepreneurship, music, and culture. Each day, during sessions and transitions, there will be opportunities for guests and attendees to network and engage in experiential activations as part of Big Dipper.

“The summit is a destination for creators, entrepreneurs, big dreamers, big thinkers, makers and curators who want to talk innovation, new ideas and the next frontier across major industries and emerging markets,” said Ken Johnson, President and CEO of Summit co-founder, JMI.

Big Dipper features a variety of speakers and presenters, including:
• Media mogul and Radio Hall of Fame inductee, Charlemagne Tha God
• Charis Jones, CEO of Sassy Jones
• CNN’s Bakari Sellers
• Stephen Benjamin, a former president of the US Conference of Mayors, with Mayor Levar Stoney of Richmond, and Mayor Sam Parham of Petersburg
• Kendrick Ashton, CEO of The St. James
• James Beard award-winning chef and restauranteur, Rodney Scott
• Join Dr. Dietra Trent, the Executive Director of the White House Initiative on HBCU’s, with VSU President Makola M. Abdullah, Ph.D., and Virginia Union University (VUU) President Hakim J. Lucas, Ph.D.

A full list of presenters is available on the website.

“The Big Dipper Innovation Summit experience will serve as a catalyst for attracting, preparing and developing informed, capable and ethical leaders,” said VSU President Makola M. Abdullah, Ph.D. “We are beyond excited to be a part of the journey.”

Additional programming includes breakout sessions on both days, and the Mega Mentors Fine Arts Benefit & Sale to be held at the Hippodrome in Richmond on January 13. Friday night also features Art of Noise, a DJ Dance party featuring surprise guests, from 8:00 pm to midnight at the VSU Multipurpose Center.

About JMI
JMI is a brand strategy and consulting firm focused on community engagement. They serve as a bridge, building dialogue and trust to forge meaningful, lasting relationships between their clients and communities.
About VSU
VSU is the nation’s first state-supported HBCU to offer both a college program and a Normal program, thereby opening doors for transformative experiences, opportunities, and access to a diverse population of lifelong learners in an inclusive environment for more than 130 years.

Contact: Frances Burruss | [email protected]

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