GREENSBORO, N.C. – Dr. Pamela Jolly, founder and CEO of Torch Enterprises Inc., a strategic investment firm committed to minority business growth and development, will serve as the keynote speaker for Bennett College’s annual Founder’s Day Convocation on Sunday, Sept. 29, at 4 p.m. The service, held in the Annie Merner Pfeiffer Chapel, will be the closing event of the College’s Family and Friends Weekend.
Jolly has an extensive background in financial services, strategy, community development and theology, which she uses to help entrepreneurs and organizations succeed. Since its founding in 2004, Torch Enterprises has helped more than 1,000 entrepreneurs, national nonprofits, trade organizations, foundations, financial institutions and the federal government find ways to develop wealth as a legacy in the African-American community. Her focus is to pursue business opportunities that pass wealth from one generation to the next, creating ownership and equity.
In 2005, she joined the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as a contractor and underwrote more than $200 million for municipalities in Mississippi that were impacted by Hurricane Katrina. She later went on to lead the team that authored the strategic assessment on how to rebuild the greater New Orleans area post-Katrina. In response to the inequities she found in the rebuilding efforts, Jolly launched OneTorch Inc., a nonprofit subsidiary that works to educate underserved communities and their stakeholders on how to organize and build teams of committed citizens capable of negotiating in the rebuilding effort in ways that rebuild their communities with equity and ownership.
In 2010, Jolly created The NarrowRoad™ to formalize her unique approach to working with business owners, investors and their communities. The proprietary business process combines elements of society with financial literacy, management, investment and risk. In 2015, she expanded the use of the NarrowRoad system to educate and empower organizations and communities on specific ways to close the wealth gap.
Before founding Torch Enterprises, Jolly worked in a variety of financial, strategic planning and market research roles with NationsBank, Accenture, Dubois Partners and Rosetta. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Hampton University, a master’s degree in business administration from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, a master’s degree in theological studies from the Boston University School of Theology, and a doctorate of education from the Graduate Theological Foundation.
The annual Founder’s Day Convocation is a time of reflection and gratitude for the Bennett College community. Representatives of the United Methodist Church, the college’s board of trustees, alumnae, faculty, staff and students gather together to appreciate those who founded Bennett College in 1872, it was recognized as a women’s only college in 1926. Convocation includes scripture reading, a litany of gratitude, appreciations and a keynote address.