This wasn’t first time I’ve attended a fantastic fundraiser and silent auction on a Friday evening in the Twin Cities. However, this event stood out to me because it was organized and implemented by four diverse organizations serving professionals of color. Event hosts: National Association of Black Accountants (NABA). Event partners: National Society of Hispanic MBAs (NSHMBA); ASCEND National Association of Asian MBAs; and the Association of Latino Professionals for America (ALPFA).
Most importantly, it represented a direct solution to our region’s retention, diversity, and inclusion challenges facing professionals of color. Here are some reasons why:
- Professionals of color cite lack of frequent, social opportunities as one of their main reasons for leaving the Twin Cities. At Friday evening’s event, over 250 multicultural professionals attended. The room was filled with laughter, energy, and great music. Most everyone lingered. As a black woman, it felt good to my soul to be surrounded by hundreds of people that look like me.
- The event represented a successful collaboration and partnership amongst the four organizations I highlighted above (NABA; NSHMBA; ASCEND; ALPFA). In particular, NABA was the catalyst for this collaboration, setting a precedent for other Affinity Groups of Color (large and small) to partner. Salsa, Sushi, Soul depicted the beauty and richness of the multicultural populations in the Twin Cities.
- Through raising thousands of dollars in scholarships for minority students, the event organizers created a critical pipeline for the following industries: accounting, finance, tax, consulting, and information technology. Our ability to thrive economically as a region is directly tied to an educated workforce that is encouraged to bring diverse thought and action into an organization.
I would be remiss if I didn’t emphasize that the NABA, NSHMBA; Ascend, and ALPFA are volunteer organizations serving professionals of color. As the Manger of Workforce Initiatives at SPACC, I had a front row seat to the many months these volunteers spent organizing, designing, planning, and marketing this event. I’d like to mention some of the volunteers behind the scenes that evening: Ashlee Malet (NABA), Latricia Flowers (NABA), Tomas Perez (NSHMBA), Andrea Jauli (NSHMBA), Akilah Mahon (NABA), Vivian Chow (ASCEND), Elisa Baral (ALPFA), Angelica Enwesi-Imhoede (NABA), Kevin Mtandwa (NABA), and Samuel Adejuwon Jr. (NABA). Godson Sowah, President of NABA, did a tremendous job as the primary lead.
I applaud these groups and individuals! It was an honor to attend the event and look forward to many more. Let’s continue to make sure these events are well attended and don’t go unnoticed.
SPACC is committed to retaining professionals of color in the region through our Professional of Color Initiative. If you have blog ideas or upcoming events pertaining to professionals of color, please contact Tasha Byers at 612-430-1496 or Tasha@saintpaulchamber.com.