“Everything you place after Black is too small a term to completely describe the act. Black nation, Black builder, Black entrepreneur…” - Sean Carter
As Forward Cities embarks on an unprecedented project to understand and shift narratives around Black business ownership, Durham’s historic Black Wall Street serves as a model. Winston-Salem has been selected as one of five pilot communities for Forward Cities’ Black Wall Street initiative.
Winston-Salem Ecosystem Builder in Residence
Toni Barnes proudly claims two hometowns in Northern Illinois. She deeply values family, community, education, sustainability, and personal autonomy. She strives for success in these areas and loves helping others in these areas as well. Toni graduated from St. Philip's College with an associate's degree in Business Administration and reigned as Miss St. Philp's College 2013-14. She received bachelor's degrees in Business Management and Fashion Merchandising from Texas State University.
Barnes soon realized that what she went to college for no longer aligned with her life vision and so she started her entrepreneurial journey in 2018 with a visual production company, Tony and Toni Productions, named after her father and herself. Throughout this journey, she soon became aware of the uniform way in which resources and information was being given to her unique entrepreneurial peers. Thus, she created Building The Boss, a business strategy and development company, focused on meeting entrepreneurs where they are and providing value that is customized for them specifically.
Toni has been involved in various capacities with HUSTLE Winston-Salem since 2019 and currently serves as its Associate Director. She is delighted to be a part of an organization that is ''a force of positive turbulence" and "is working towards bridging the gap of entrepreneurial inequality, and provid[ing] resources to women...and those in marginalized business districts".
Toni has plenty of hobbies and passion projects to keep her time diversified. She is an advocate for individualism within communities and hopes her work always centers on inclusiveness.
The Winston-Salem Pilots
Black Wall Street Experience (BWSX)
A comprehensive community engagement process that utilizes assets from throughout the community to produce an annual, city-wide campaign that produces measurable wealth, synergy and breaks down silos, which will include, but are not limited to, hosting a day of small group breakout sessions of Black business history in Winston-Salem, life and business coaching, and financial education.
Then/Now/Future of Black Wall Street
A presentation on then/now/future for city officials, philanthropic individuals, and entrepreneurs - to shape Black Wall Street.
Connect with us
For updates and information, connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram at @BlackWallStFwd.
To stay updated on The Black Wall Street Forward initiative and the various opportunities to get involved with the initiative, subscribe to the newsletter!
Pillars & Council Members
In order to catalyze this narrative change in each community and honoring past and existing efforts of Black Wall Street legacy stewardship, we will pull forward the following pillars of success from Durham’s historical Black Wall Street.
Collaborative Black leadership and innovation
Owner, Body & Soul
Culturally-rooted geographic business hub
Executive Director, ACCESS
Executive Director, Winston Lake Family YMCA & REACH Center
Ally investment and partnership
Community and Economic Development Program Administrator, Forysth County
Incoming Board Chair, Black Philanthropy Initiative | Winston-Salem Foundation
Talent pipeline seeded by education
Executive Director, S.G. Atkins
President and CEO, Action4Equity
Engagement with the broader Black community
Executive Director and Founder, Triad Cultural Arts
President, Black Chamber of Commerce
Self-perpetuating funding engine
Managing Member, Grand Street Capital Management, L.L.C.
President and CEO, Financial Pathways of the Piedmont
We're grateful for being able to partner with the following organizations to catalyze Black-centric Entrepreneurial Ecosystems: