Vision and Relationships 


Mark Yates


Mark Yates, President and CEO of the Black Business Association of Memphis, holds an Executive MBA from Vanderbilt Owen Graduate School of Management and Bachelor of Arts from Howard University in Economics and Finance. He is the President and Founder of The Enlightenment Center. A trained process thinker with a Six Sigma certification, Yates has led numerous teams and organizations on successful endeavors throughout his career.

Some of the titles he has held and organizations he has helped include Chief of Staff and CFO at LeMoyne-Owen College, Executive Director and Founder for Voices of Memphis’ Children at LeBonheur Children’s Hospital, Senior Vice President and Investment Banker for Rice Financial Products, Chief Investor Relations Officer and SVP for First Horizon National Corporation, SVP and Investment Banker for FTN Financial, Vice President and Commercial Lender for First Tennessee Bank, VP and Investment Banker for Morgan Keegan & Company, and Chief of Staff for the U.S. House of Representatives Office of Harold Ford, Jr.

A seasoned board member and community advocate, Yates currently serves or has served as Chairman of River City Capital, a Community Development Finance Institution, Memphis/Shelby County Land Use Control Board, Juvenile Court Foster Care Review Board, Memphis/Shelby County Industrial Development Vice Chair, member of the 100 Black Men organization, Shelby County Health and Education Board Treasurer, Shelby County Board of Equalization, LeMoyne-Owen College Finance Professor, DCS Community Advisory Board, Regional Medical Center Board, Star Academy Charter School, Leadership Memphis 2019, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., The Memphians and Chair of the Shelby County Democratic Party.

Roby Williams

Chief Relationship Officer

Roby Williams, Chief Relationship Officer for the Black Business Association of Memphis , is a graduate of Lemoyne Owen College where he received a Baccalaureate Degree in History. Upon graduation, Mr. Williams began his
career in Banking at First Tennessee Bank. At First Tennessee, he worked in the Branch Division in Commercial and Retail Lending in the Marketing Department
where served as the assistant to the advertising Director for the First Tennessee National Corporation and he was the first African American to work for the First Tennessee National Corporation.

After 5 years of banking, Mr. Williams began a career in Sales. He sold Yellow Pages Advertising for South Central Bell. He then went to work selling “Communications Related Solutions to Business Problems” for South Central
Bell Business Marketing and later for AT&T in Memphis. In other words, he sold telephone systems and network services for the Phone Company. Following his six years in telecommunications sales, Mr. Williams sold mailing and Manifest Systems for Pitney Bowes.

Mr. Williams then began a career in Broadcast Advertising Sales. He sold Radio Advertising for WDIA and K-97 FM Radio Stations. From Radio, he moved to TV sales. He sold television advertising at WREG News Channel 3 and WLMT UPN30. After six years in the television sales business, Mr. Williams became a Mortgage Broker and financed new homes here in Memphis. Mr. Williams became the president of the Black Business Association in October of 2002. There he assists minority and women owned business owners achieve success in their business operations.