Featured Speaker: Val Nicholas
Nicholas is an award-winning media producer, including 7 Emmys from his time in television. He was Vice President Creative Director for NBC News where his tenure was marked by innovation, including the launch of new digital properties for NBCNews.com and 360 initiatives such as "Hiring Our Heroes" that created to remedy the unemployment crisis for Post 9/11 veterans, the program provided image and sales promotion for NBC News, its national programs, local affiliates and resulted in 500,000 jobs for veterans.
As Vice President of Marketing at MSNBC, Nicholas gave the network its first solid identity and mission statement, "The Place for Politics" and developed new cross-platform sales opportunities generating millions of dollars in incremental revenue.
Previous positions include Vice President Special Projects ABC Entertainment, Creative Director NBC Entertainment, and Executive Producer for Programming, Marketing and Special Events at NBC's local affiliate KCRA in Sacramento.
Nicholas is now Senior Vice President, Creative Director for SummitMedia and is accelerating creative innovation in partnership with SummitMedia Sales, Marketing, Programming and Event leadership teams.
Featured Entertainment: Alvin Garrett
Most people in Birmingham have heard of or experienced the wonderful sounds and performances of the band, Just A Few Cats. In nearly 19 years of business, this band has continued to grace stages at home and around the country. The success and stability of this organization has been undergirded by solid business management of Samford University Graduate and Grammy-Nominated Songwriter, Alvin Garrett. Garrett earned a BSBA in Business Management in 2000; and after working two years in corporate America, he made the leap of faith and launched his own music business. While co-founding Just A Few Cats, Garrett established his management company, The Music Caterers, LLC, which manages the band and provides a variety of services in the entertainment sector.
After Just A Few Cats' original lead singer, Ruben Studdard, won the American Idol in 2003, Garrett joined him on the road as bassist and musical director. While touring the country with his good friend, Alvin Garrett continued to expand and explore the world of production, songwriting, and intellectual property. In 2012, Garrett was nominated for a Grammy for his contribution to Gospel Album of the Year candidate, Trin-I-Tee 5:7. That year, he also won a Stellar Award with Gospel artist, Deitrick Haddon. In 2013, Alvin Garrett wrote hit songs for R&B artists including Joe and Destiny's Child's own Kelly Rowland. Garrett's success as a songwriter was the catalyst for his solo career as a singer-songwriter.
In 2015, Darryl Johnson of 98.7 KISS FM debuted Alvin Garrett’s hit song, "By Myself.” The song would eventually reach #1 in Birmingham and several other markets and continues to receive national airplay to this day. Garrett is currently completing his new album entitled, “This HILL.” He has also launched a songwriting education and mentoring program called, “The Write Life,” which promotes positive thinking, communication, and expressing through songwriting.
Alvin Garrett has a genuine love for learning and education, which is demonstrated and his broad array of talents. Through his business ventures, Garrett aspires to be a pioneer and leader in the Birmingham area. Each year, he is training more musicians and singers while creating more job opportunities through his marketing and sales efforts. This husband and father of two beautiful little girls is proud to call Birmingham home, and plans to continue leading and adding value to the Birmingham entertainment sector for many years to come.