Creating Strategic Partnerships to Grow Your Business  

June 10th, 2021 at Noon

Minority Business Series presented by KeyBank


Small businesses often start from a dream and passion of one owner or a small group. In this session, we discuss how to access capital and increase contracts through partnerships.  This panel of experts will provide information on mentoring programs and discuss the importance of creating relationships to grow and increase your business opportunities.

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Session Panel & Speakers


Deborah D. Oatts

President & CEO,
Nubian Construction Group

Deborah Oatts is President & CEO of Nubian Transport Management (d/b/a) Nubian Construction Group, a program/construction management company with divisions including tri-axle trucking transportation and outreach compliance program management company headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana. As a multi-talented businesswoman, Deborah has acquired a rich background through her 30+ years of professional experience. Deborah founded Nubian Transport Management in 1994 after a rewarding career at Eli Lilly & Company. She served for nearly ten years as Chief Financial Officer and Vice President of Human Resources for a family-owned business established during the mid-1980s.


Tasha Phelps

President & CEO,
Phelco Technologies, Inc

Protecting the integrity of information continues to be a strategic focus within Ms. Phelps’ Cyber Security efforts. She has seen the impact of businesses being compromised by malicious threats and shares how building contingency plans can be of value. Her approach is to align business processes with technical solutions to create powerful plans for sustainability.

Civically, Ms. Phelps has been involved with her community for over 30 years. She often shares her knowledge of the US Constitution and the public’s civic responsibility. As a requested speaker and panelist in business development initiatives, Ms. Phelps is also eager to share her experiences and knowledge of her industry and her journey into business ownership.


Vernice D. Mathis

Business Opportunity Specialist, Indiana District Office U.S. Small Business Administration

Vernice D. Mathis has over 30 years of federal government service in Washington D.C. and Indiana. During her 26 years with the U.S. Small Business Administration, she has held several positions, including Office Automation Specialist and Loan Processing Assistant. Vernice currently serves as a Business Opportunity Specialist for SBA’s Indiana District Office.


Adrian Russell

Director of Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion / Procurement, Shiel Sexton Company, Inc.

Adrian Russell currently serves as the Director of Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion / Procurement at Shiel Sexton Company, Inc. He is an inspirational speaker, mentor, musician, and visionary. A product of Indianapolis Public Schools, Adrian attended Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, earning a Bachelor of Science in Construction Management degree.

Adrian puts great effort in sowing into the lives of young people, perhaps most notably through Russell’s Building Camp which introduces children of all ages to the world of building and inspiring them to use their hands and minds to create a better future.

Series Sponsors & Partners
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