Mayor & Staff Welcome AACCNJ to Cherry Valley Golf OutingPosted on June 19, 2019
Photo above: Brian Dennis, senior vice president at Bank of America / U.S. Trust in midtown New York, Montgomery Township Administrator Donato Nieman, Montgomery Township CFO Michael Pitts, Reverend Derrick L. Green, a senior advisor to New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy (Office of the Governor), Montgomery Township Mayor Sadaf Jaffer, former Philadelphia Eagles, Kansas City Chiefs and Carolina Panthers wide receiver and guest speaker Jason Avant (a small business owner of Launch Trampoline Park franchises) and Chamber of Commerce President John E. Harmon Sr. (far right).
The African American Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey (AACCNJ) hosted its 9th annual Golf Classic at Cherry Valley Country Club in Skillman on Monday June 17. Mayor Sadaf Jaffer and Montgomery Township officials Donato Nieman (Administrator) and Michael Pitts (Chief Financial Officer/Deputy Administrator) welcomed 75 Chamber members, retired NFL stars and advocates to Montgomery and discussed the growth of the local business community both in the township and around Somerset County. Mayor Jaffer also drew raffle prizes for participants.
“We are so honored to host the African American Chamber and its guests for this event today. It is wonderful to see so many leaders from different business communities and backgrounds here. Congratulations to all honorees and sponsors of AACCNJ. In Montgomery Township we really pride ourselves on having a dynamic business environment and cultural environment that is so inclusive for everyone. I am so happy that you are able to visit us and for those of you who don’t live in Montgomery, we hope you will come back soon,” Mayor Jaffer said. After Mayor Jaffer the audience heard from Reverend Derrick L. Green, senior advisor for diversity, faith, urban and regional growth in the Office of New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy.
The AACCNJ was established in 2007 as a 501c3 nonprofit business to business (B2B) organization in Trenton. Today it promotes an active business membership base of 700 across New Jersey and serves as a beacon for minority and non-minority advocacy building, community and government relations, business development, job retention and education attainment.
On May 20, 2019 African American Chamber of Commerce founder, president and CEO John Harmon was selected as one of 34 state and local officials for the third cohort of the Business Leads Fellowship Program of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation in Washington, D.C.
The AACCNJ is the only African American Chamber of Commerce in the country that is accredited by the United States Chamber of Commerce. Harmon is the former chairman of the National Black Chamber of Commerce. He notes that on the local and statewide levels, AACCNJ is “a vanguard for New Jersey’s 1.1 million African American residents that strives to seek out current best practices and strategies to position the constituency for optimal success, while consequently strengthening the competitiveness of New Jersey….Each and every day we are striving to be best in class because there are perceptions already in place that we have to push back against every day to reassure society. This is about transforming New Jersey and country.”
University of Michigan football alum and former Philadelphia Eagles, Kansas City Chiefs and Carolina Panthers wide receiver Jason Avant, special guest speaker, left attendees of the June 17 African American Chamber event in Montgomery with the following message:
“You never know when you take a little time out and give back, who you will affect and how that may change their life. Early on I learned the value of working on character and things within my heart as I knew in the NFL, there are so many things at your fingertips as a professional athlete. I knew I had to have it within me to supersede the temptations. Life is about people that you come up with and the people you have next to you — how can you make their lives better? How can we each better one another? Choosing to pursue the Trampoline Park for my business and the balance of life is a microcosm for my belief, as we need to earn to take care of our families. But you can have millions of dollars and not be taking care, as I had one teammate on a $64 million dollar contract who was on the precipice of suicide over two years. It does not matter how much money you have unless that life path cultivates relationships around you. Those are the most important things,” Avant said.
He added the words current Chiefs Head Coach Andy Reid inspired the team with. “Offense I need you to put forth all your effort and energy — ‘Fear nothing, Attack Everything’ — because you can’t reach your goal with a little bit of doubt. And let your personality show, no one can beat you at being you.”