Durham Success
Summit returns
September 18th!

Click here to register

You Matter.


North Carolina's leading professional development program for young men of color

We exist for your success.

The Durham Success Summit returns for its third edition on September 18, 2021 determined to deliver professional development opportunities for young men of color. The Durham Success Summit is helping to level the playing field by empowering college-aged men, 18-24 years old, to take the critical first steps in their unique paths to success.

In 2021, professional advancement should not remain out of reach for young men of color. We know that we can do better, and we know that we must do better. This is going to require creativity, though. At the Durham Success Summit, we are proud to lead the charge, providing opportunities for growth and development in order to set our participants up for long-term success.

The Durham Success Summit is a unique opportunity for us to change our communities from the inside-out, championing those who are ready and eager to succeed. We are forging bonds that will lead to fundamentally different outcomes for all our participants.

In short, we are picking up where the schools have left off. We are standing up for the rounded, complete educations that are so elusive for our communities. This is a unique take on education and development – one that considers the gaps that plague traditional programs and hold young Black men back.

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"I'm grateful this was created."

"I think it gives people like myself and others a space to be themselves. We don't always fit into these social norms that we like to make about society. Some of us have different ways of being creative, of thinking. This space is for that."

Joshua Nicholson, 2019 and 2020 Summit Participant
Catawba College Student

"We can make a difference."

"For these young men we have the privilege of talking to, I want them to be able to begin to see change and hope that they are no longer judged by the color of their skin. I enjoy the action plan so that they feel like they can see change in their community as a result of this event."

- Nolan Smith, Board Member and Speaker
Duke Men's Basketball

"There's a broader movement."

"Growing up in Durham, I always imagined a back to school event that actually  got me energized about the school year. It's important to me that young people feel heard and that they feel like they have the resources and spaces they need to be successful. We're bringing the entire community out."

- Derek Rhodes
Founder of Durham Success Summit

Your support counts

Help us level the playing field for young men of color

Since 2019, The Durham Success Summit has helped to level the playing field by empowering more than 200 college-aged men of color take the critical first steps in their unique paths to success. Our one-of-a-kind leadership conference helps to connect the future entrepreneurs, innovators, and leaders of our community with the resources and network to take their goals to the next level.

While success often takes time, our high-impact approach recognizes that even one resource, insight, or connection can make a lifelong difference in helping a young person achieve their dreams.

In just one day, Summit participants can explore career opportunities, cultivate meaningful relationships with peers and mentors from a variety of industries, and gain the confidence to start turning their vision into reality. At our 2020 event, Gina Loften, Chief Technology Officer, Microsoft US was our keynote speaker.

To become a speaker at our 2021 event, please contact us today. If you’re a local business passionate about supporting the local community and young people with dreams, then please contact us to discuss our exhibitor and sponsorship opportunities today.  

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Our Founder’s Story

The story of the Durham Success Summit begins with Durham native Derek Rhodes, who believes anyone, with the right tools at their disposal, can become a success. Derek is a passionate advocate for local civic engagement, who started to develop his vision for a community development program while still an intern in Washington, D.C eight years ago. Derek has since turned the vision into a personal mission, leveraging his business acumen, community relationships, and event organizational skills, to create The Durham Success Summit. .

In The News

Durham native hosts virtual summit aimed at empowering young men of color
Read article
Healing Through Service - Why I Quit My Job After Just 3 Months, by Derek Rhodes
Read article
Durham Success Summit Unveils New Board of Directors and Advisory Council
Read article


A lifetime of support

More than just one day.

We hold ourselves accountable to our summit attendees, to the staff and volunteers who put their time and energy into its success, to ourselves as organizers, and to the well-being of future generations. That said, we are committed to being accessible to participants long after the Summit ends. This continuity is important because there are inevitable pitfalls along the way to success that can be mitigated or avoided with the right counsel.

Advisory Council

The Durham Success Summit Advisory Council was created to assist DSS and its partners in delivering a world-class event to radically enhance the career and personal development opportunities for men of color.

Council members share their strategic insights, expertise, and passion for building a better world for African American males, starting here in Durham, North Carolina.

Time to Play Your Part.

Every dollar raised goes directly to support programming for our deserving 200+ Summit participants. Your donation will support our annual summit experience, quarterly follow-up workshops, and exclusive opportunities we curate with our local and national network of partners. With your contribution and support, the Durham Success Summit will be offered at no cost to participants. All donations are tax-deductible and corporate gift matching verification can be provided.

$3,000 raised
of $100,000 goal