A few weeks ago, we hosted our largest digital event of the year, where we created a space for our community and professionals of color to network, learn more about some of our partner companies, and receive some useful advice from POCs working within some of the top tech companies. Partners who were involved with the event include Google, Spotify, Citibank, Facebook, UBS, American Express, Johnson & Johnson, BlackRock, Morgan Stanley, Bloomberg, Hershey, Gofundme, Goldman Sachs, and DTCC. Due to this being our first time doing Jopwell Talks, we decided to create a two-day event—one day for our campus and college community and the other day for our professional community and current job-seekers.
Each event began with an opening statement from our Head of Community, Tani Brown, where she welcomed guests and introduced the run of show. As the DJ played in between sessions, attendees were able to choose which sessions were most useful for them, as they traveled through the Hopin platform.
Five main stage speakers joined us including, Michele Roberts, Executive Director of the National Basketball Players Association, Oscar Perez, Manager of Diversity Recruiting and Programs at Facebook, Julian Brave Noisecat, Vice President of Policy & Strategy for Data for the Natural History Museum, Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick, President at Howard University, and Melonie D. Parker, Chief Diversity Officer & Global Director or Employee Engagement at Google. After all of our main stage speakers shared wisdom with our community members, we provided breakout sessions for people who wanted to explore myriad career advice. Session leaders included entrepreneurs, mentors, and Jopwell team members.
As a growing company filled with diverse talents ourselves, we want to make sure that we are sharing a wealth of experiences and perspectives within our community, which is why it's important for us to host events like Jopwell Talks. We are continuing to put DEI on the front of our partners' agendas by creating spaces for them to authentically connect with diverse individual to create equitable change within their organizations and map out actionable solutions for their companies' futures. If you weren't able to attend this years' event, no worries, there's more events to come.
A lot of individuals are afraid to ask for help because they may feel out of place or like their voice is not important. As Black and POC professionals, it's important to use your voice and find a community within your company where you feel confident and empowered—whether it's an ERG or an individual at work. There is a lot of strength in vulnerability and being able to learn and grow.
Considering we are living and working in a mostly virtual space, it's important to utilize this opportunity and expand your network, while also learning more about virtual engagement. We've created a major shift in the networking paradigm that we've been accustomed to, which has granted us even more opportunities to meet people at scale. This new virtual world has created more accessibility and convenience for people looking for events to join.
Mentors are people who can/should be guiding you and offering professional support to help you grow. It's important to identify these people as leaders—people who are often in positions that you are not in. You should be thinking about experiences and skills that you do not possess that you are looking to gain.
"If you're working for a company that has no ability to give you the respect and advancement that you deserve. Leave." Michele Roberts of the NBA shared some personal experiences of the importance of knowing your worth and being able to identify when a company is no longer concerned with your professional growth.
Oftentimes, Black and POC employees are the minority in some meetings and rooms. It's important to be prepared and make your contributions. It's going to take hard work to create a presence, but as long as you are qualified and confident in your skills, you should bring that confidence to every project you work on.