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By Scott Paulus  – Photographer, Milwaukee Business Journal

Prominent Milwaukee business executive Valerie Daniels-Carter, who runs the largest female-owned restaurant franchise company in the United States, was honored with the 2018 Business Champion award Tuesday as part of the African American Chamber of Commerce's Breakfast of Champions. See the attached slideshow to see photos from the event.

More than 500 Milwaukee-area business and community leaders packed Chrome at the Harley-Davidson Museum for the popular breakfast.

Daniels-Carter is president and CEO of V&J Foods Holding Cos. Inc., which operates quick-service restaurants all over the United States under many brands, including Burger King, Coffee Beanery, Auntie Anne's Soft Pretzel, Nino's Southern Sides and Captain's D Seafood Kitchen. She is also a member of the Green Bay Packers board of directors and a minority owner of the Milwaukee Bucks.

She gave an impassioned speech about the importance of never giving up and setting the right priorities.

"You should not run with turkeys if you want to fly with eagles," she said.

To go with the theme, a cereal box featuring Carter-Daniels' photo was included at each table.

Also honored at the event were Randy Crump, president of Prism Technical Management & Marketing Services Inc., who received the Pioneer Award, and Cherry Welch-Perkins, owner of Mr. Perkins Family Restaurant, 2001 W. Atkinson Ave., who received the Legacy Award.

The keynote speaker was Fallon Johnson, the millennial owner of Annie Bell Fragrances of Chicago. The company is an all-natural luxury homemade candle business that also specializes in a variety of aromatherapy products and services. The products are sold in Annie Bell Fragrances' flagship store, Whole Foods Market Stores and

The co-chairs for the event were Cecelia Gore of the Milwaukee Brewers Community Foundation, Tim Sheehy of the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce and Gaulien Smith of Gee's Clippers Barber & Beauty.

Milwaukee-area business and community leaders in attendance included Dr. John Raymond of the Medical College of Wisconsin, Kevin Newell of Royal Capital Group, Bob Monnat of Mandel Group, retired We Energies executive Thelma Sias, Milwaukee real estate developer Robin Reese, Milwaukee attorney John Daniels, Jr., Grady Crosby of Johnson Controls, Clifton Phelps of JCP Construction and Wanda Montgomery of Children's Hospital of Wisconsin.

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