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It's the last day of the Mighty Dream Forum. Here's what's happening in Norfolk.

The day kicked off with a special discussion between Pharell and Astronaut Leland Melvin, who worked for NASA on board the Space Shuttle Atlantis.

NORFOLK, Va. — The third and final day of Pharrell Williams' Mighty Dream Forum in downtown Norfolk put a focus on the importance of innovation and creativity. 

Attendees were set to attend discussion panels that focused on how to nurture ideas, how to promote inclusivity and how to encourage philanthropy in education. 

Other highly anticipated highlights, like the Special Session: Pitch Competition and the Dinner with a Purpose, were also on the schedule. 

That dinner is where Williams will announce the winners of the Black Ambition Pitch Competition.  

The day kicked off with a special discussion between Pharell and Astronaut Leland Melvin, who worked for NASA on board the Space Shuttle Atlantis. 

Panel: What's Behind Innovation

Company leaders sat down with Pharrell Williams at the Mighty Dream Forum and talked about what it means to be innovative. Access, belief in self, and drive were the big three things they landed on.

Melvin took part in that conversation and said it’s so important to have someone in your corner.

“In a lot of organizations that you go in, you may be the only person there,” he said. "So, you don’t have those people that are showing you up.”

Dan Rosensweig, the CEO of Chegg, said innovation can come in different forms, too.

“Innovation isn’t just founding,” he said. “Innovation is improving.”

Then, Sydney Sykes of Lightspeed ventures said part of the job was getting others on board with your vision.

“Find a way to sell other people your dream,” she said. “Find a way to convince them that, 'Okay, you’re a skeptic, but what if.'”

They even touched on how they are bringing people of color into the industry. For Megan Holston-Alexander, a partner with Andreessen Horowitz, that means creating generational wealth.

“You can also invest black dollars into technology companies,” she said. “So, ensuring that not only can we monetize platforms but that we actually have ownership in them.”

Message of diversity and inclusion sparks hope

Speakers at the Mighty Dream forum Thursday had a message for leaders in private and public sectors: diversity and inclusion must be focal points for success.

Annie Wu, the Global Head of Inclusion and Diversity for clothing brand H&M, said teams can “start small” by hiring and promoting different voices.

“Because without our leadership being the spokespeople and really pushing forward initiatives and projects and activities and also putting budget behind projects and all of these things, nothing gets done.” 

Wu said diversity in leadership is “critical."

Other panelists advised companies to set diversity goals, reinforce them, and track progress. 

But beyond hiring diverse faces, they say leadership must cultivate supportive spaces. 

“And if you create that trust within the team, within your company, that’s what people will stay for," Wu said. 

“Not having that in the spaces at the time of important conversations, how are you supposed to make decisions that are best for the people in the community?" asked Camron Phillips, Vice Chair and commissioner for the Chesapeake Housing Redevelopment Authority and part of the areas NAACP branch. 

Zakkiya Cunningham, Sophia Brimm and Camron Phillips all work in D-E-I fields here in Hampton Roads. They said this forum not only brings together people of different backgrounds and careers, but it allows them to have discussions with those who are not familiar with the issues and educate influential people on necessary change.

They all say education is key.

“What is said here stays here, but what is learned here leaves here," said Cunningham, YWCA South Hampton Roads director of Mission Impact. Cunningham’s work focuses on racial and gender equity training in the region. 

They each said Hampton Roads still has work to do, but this forum can be a spark for real change.

“I’m hoping we are able to have a holistic and solution-minded community," said Sophia Brimm, who is a Clinical Informatics Manager for Sentara health plans. 

"With us being present in the conversation, we can actually look at the data that affects us and be able to speak to things that affect our communities," said Brimm.

The three attendees said they appreciate people at the Mighty Dream Forum are diverse in background and profession. Brimm mentioned SITW returning is a big opportunity to push for more infrastructure. 

“I think the primary focus is going to have the opportunity to understand before being understood," said Phillips. 

"I’m hoping we are able to holistic and solution-minded community, " said Brimm.

Dinner with a Purpose

Ticketholders experienced a five-star yet family-style atmosphere on Thursday night. Dinner with a Purpose featured familiar names like Pendulum, The Veil, Smartmouth and 1865 Brewing Company.

13News Now caught up with the owner of Hummingbird Dessert Boutique. Kisha Moore has provided desserts for multiple events at the forum, including Thursday night’s dinner.

"Just seeing the energy of people in the area, the city and seeing what we can do, especially for the BIPOC community and so many small businesses like My Mama's Kitchen, Alkaline, just to name a few that have really partnered in making this endeavor. And Commune bringing that together in the culinary scene," Moore said. 

Attendees also saw Pharrell Williams and author Felecia Hatcher take the stage. They announced the winners of the Black Ambition Pitch Competition.

After dinner wrapped up, Mighty Dream Forum officially came to a close with a sold-out concert, featuring Kaytranada at The Norva.

RELATED: Day 2 of Mighty Dream forum brings block party to NEON District, speakers & panels to Norfolk

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