2016 North Carolina A&T State University FOCUSS Idea Competition

The presidios campus of North Carolina A&T State University will be the site of the FOCUSS (Framework for Opportunity Convergence and the Utilization of Sustainable Solutions) Idea Competition, which will be held on 19 April 2016.

Created to stimulate constructive thought surrounding concepts of innovation and discovery, the FOCUSS Idea Competition provides students a unique opportunity to share and cultivate creative solutions to a sponsoring corporation. Competition will be open to all current North Carolina A&T State University students. The corporate Sponsor of the North Carolina competition is Wells Fargo.

Platform for Idea Competition

Guided by the FOCUSS Areas of Concentration, students (with the optional assistance of associated North Carolina A&T State University faculty advisor) will propose an idea that resolves the following problem statement submitted by Wells Fargo.

Problem Statement

North Carolina A&T State University, undergraduate students are requested to present innovative solutions to the following problem statement:

Currently, the home ownership rate of African Americans is 42%, which is the lowest among ethnic minorities.

What strategies and/or marketing capabilities can mortgage lenders implement to build awareness, instill confidence and increase home ownership within the African American community?

Finalists will present their "Idea" to an audience of peers, faculty, entrepreneurs, social entrepreneurs, and distinguished guests from Wells Fargo. Each finalist will have eight (8) minutes to present the Idea to a panel of judges who then chose winners of the 2016 North Carolina A&T State University FOCUSS Idea Competition sponsored by Wells Fargo.


• Competition Registration Portal Opens: 26 February 2016

• Competition Registration Portal Closes: 10 April 2016

• Finalists Chosen & Notified by: 12 April 2016

• Wells Fargo Recruiting Roundtable: "Preparing for life after NC A&T"
    -    When: Monday, 18 Apri 2016 at 6:00 p.m.
    -    Location: To be determined
    -    Purpose:  Expose students and alumni to the many job opportunities within Wells Fargo. Discussion topics will include an
         overview of Wells Fargo businesses, key skillsets, applying online, and more.

• Date of Competition: 19 April 2016

Proposals will be judged on the following criteria:

  • • Innovative nature of the Idea
  • • Creative nature of the presentation
  • • Involvement of the University or business community
  • • Potential impact of the Sustainable Solution
  • Prizes

  • 1st Place - $1,000
  • 2nd Place - $750
  • 3rd Place - $400
  • 4th Place - $250
  • 5th Place - $100

Located in Greensboro, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University is a public, comprehensive, land-grant university committed to fulfilling its fundamental purposes through exemplary undergraduate and graduate instruction, scholarly and creative research, and effective public service. The University offers degree programs at the baccalaureate, master’s and doctoral levels with emphasis on engineering, science, technology, literature, and other academic areas.

As one of North Carolina’s three engineering colleges, the University offers Ph.D. programs in engineering. Basic and applied research is conducted by faculty in university centers of excellence, in inter institutional relationships, and through significant involvement with several public and private agencies. The University also conducts major research through engineering, transportation, and its extension programs in agriculture.

The purpose of the University is to provide an intellectual setting where students in higher education may find a sense of identification, belonging, responsibility, and achievement that will prepare them for roles of leadership and service in the communities where they live and work. In this sense, the University serves as a laboratory for the development of excellence in teaching, research and public service. Currently, North Carolina A&T nurtures ten thousand students.

Leading the Idea effort at North Carolina A&T is Thaddeus McEwen, Ph.D., Professor and Director, ICEEB, Department of Management, School of Business and Economics. Dr. McEwen received his Ph.D. and MS from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale and his BS from the University of Technology, Jamaica. Dr. McEwen has been published in journals such as the Journal of Small Business Management, the Journal of Business and Entrepreneurship, the Entrepreneurial Executive, the Business and Professional Ethics Journal, and the Journal of Education for Business. He is an active member of the United States Association of Small Business and Entrepreneurship, the Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship, the Academy of Management, and the Small Business Institute Director’s Association.

Leading the Idea effort at Wells Fargo is Sharon Murphy, Regina Edwards (NC A&T Alumnus), Michael Monday, and CaSondra Devine.

Sharon Murphy is Executive Vice President of the Team Member Infrastructure Services organization at Wells Fargo/Wachovia, which provides a breadth of technology solutions supporting End User Computing, 24x7 Corporate Technology Call Center (Technology Connections) and Enterprise Market Data Services. Sharon has over 20 years of technology experience and previously served as SVP within the Team Member Enablement organization providing enterprise solutions such as Enterprise Messaging, Corporate Intranet Technologies, and Enterprise Mobility. Sharon earned a BBA in Management Information Systems from Hofstra University and is a member of their Black & Hispanic Alumni Association. Sharon was previously Chair of the Wells Fargo Technology & Operations Diversity & Inclusion Council representing over 24,000 Tech & Ops professionals.  She also serves on the HP Executive Board of Advisors for Hewlett Packard/IPG  and previously served on the AT&T Financial Services Board for Mobile & Wireless. A native of Ewing, NJ, Sharon resides in Charlotte, North Carolina and is a former member of the NAACP/ACT-SO Computer Science Judge (NJ), National Urban League and Black Data Processors Association (NY/NJ).

Regina Edwards is Senior Vice President and Head of Supplier Diversity for Wells Fargo. With more than 14 years of multi-industry global supply chain and supplier diversity strategy experience, she leads a team that is responsible for developing and engaging certified minority, women, disadvantaged and small business enterprises to integrate them into the company’s sourcing and procurement processes. Throughout her career, Ms. Edwards has developed high-impact supplier diversity programs and led strategic supply chain initiatives globally in regions including Asia, Latin America and Europe. Ms. Edwards is a Summa Cum Laude graduate of North Carolina A&T State University and earned her J.D. from North Carolina Central School of Law. She serves as a national board member for the Women Presidents’ Educational Organization, as well as an Advisory Board Member for the Clark Atlanta University School of Supply Chain Management. She is a member of the Institute for Supply Management’s (ISM) Conference Board and, from 2010 to 2013, was Chair of ISM’s Diversity Committee, where she implemented a diversity undergraduate student mentoring program focused on increasing diversity within the supply chain management profession. Ms. Edwards has been featured twice by DiversityPlus magazine as one of the “Top 25 Women in Power Impacting Diversity,” and has received numerous other awards for her leadership in supplier diversity, including honors from Minority Business News and DiversityInc. Magazine.

Michael Monday, Senior Vice President, Information Security LOB Leader Customer, Deposits and Operations Technology, has over 24 years of combined experience in information security and technology. His most recent work experience has been in areas such as Cyber Threat Management, Security Program Governance, Privacy, Network Security, Incident Response, Physical Security, Security Architecture, Attack & Penetration Studies, Business Continuity Management, and Digital Forensics. Michael has provided several presentations on security at various security and industry conferences for organizations including: Secret Service Electronic Crime Task Force (ECTF), Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA), and numerous other corporate and client sponsored education and learning events. Michael earned his Bachelor of Arts in Professional Communication from Xavier University in Cincinnati Ohio.

CaSondra Devine is Senior Vice President, Program and Strategic Outreach Manager for Supplier Diversity at Wells Fargo. With more than 15 years of experience in the financial services industry, Devine leads a team responsible for marketing, benchmarking initiatives, and reporting. In addition, Devine is responsible for partnering with supplier development organizations and non-profits supporting diverse supplier inclusion. She is a highly requested speaker, both domestically and abroad on the topics of leadership, business development and supplier diversity. A certified educator, Devine is an engaged community leader devoted to social responsibility and the development of young leaders in her professional and personal life. She serves on the board of directors for the Greater Women’s Business Council, advisory board for My Sister’s House for women in transition, education and scholarship committee for the National Gay/Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, and procurement council for the United States Business Leadership Network. Devine earned her Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from South Carolina State University and her Master’s in Organizational Development with a concentration in Coaching from Queens University in Charlotte, North Carolina. Her work, “Defining Moments: Toward a Comprehensive Theory of Personal Transformation,” has been published in the International Journal of Humanities and Social Science.