Elevation through Innovation Panelist
Founder & Owner
The Whitaker Group
(Social Status, A Ma Maniere, A.P.B & Prosper)
Family Enterprises LLC
Born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA James is the middle child between two brothers. He graduated from West Mifflin High School in 1997 and continued his college education at Edinboro University where he graduated in 2003 with honors (cum laude) in business administration.
Shortly after graduation, James ventured into the real estate industry and focused on providing housing in the Pittsburgh, PA region. As of 2022, he owns and operates over 75 individual housing units for low income families.
In 2005, James continued his entrepreneurial endeavors to create a fashion and sneaker boutique company based in Charlotte, NC. Since then, the retail business has grown to 23 locations, along with multiple retail concept spaces that will include a boutique hotel, restaurant and café concepts. Currently, the company employs over 250 people across 13 cities in the US.
James also owns and operates The Whitaker Group which acts as the consulting, creative, and design arm for the retail business and other entrepreneurial endeavors. It is responsible for design, build-outs, strategy and marketing for all retail experience concepts including A Ma Maniere, Social Status, APB, Prosper, A Ma Maniere ‘living”, A Ma Maniere “eats" and Besocial.
These world-class experiential concepts continue to set new standards and break new ground in the dynamic retail space. Complementing The Whitaker Group's unique and powerful voice in the industry are key partnerships with nike and Jordan Brand, bringing to life award-winning collaborative projects grounded in forward-thinking design, impactful storytelling and continuing a shared commitment to a legacy of greatness of excellence.
In his free time, James enjoys spending time with his children Jaiden (17) and Trey (11). He is also passionate about giving back to the community and helping under privileged children by investing time and resources in The Whitaker Project non-profit organization. With an ever-expanding retail network, James and The Whitaker Group remain focused on making community impact an integral part of its mandate, particularly for underserved Black and Brown communities