Although the national recognition of Black History Month came to a close on Monday, our learning and celebration does not end. Black history isn’t just Black history, it’s the world’s history, and we recognize the volume of work that still lies ahead in achieving economic mobility for Black individuals.
Mentorship is key in closing the opportunity gap, and ANY’s Black mentors embody a critical element of the educational and career journey for our Fellows: representation. This mentorship lasts well beyond the Fellows program. In a recent Fast Company survey, Black professionals with mentors reported a higher level of trust in their organization and more comfort asking for help from their colleagues than those without mentors.
We are so grateful to the Black members of our community who share their time, experiences, and expertise, providing invaluable mentorship and motivation to all.
Please enjoy some of the highlights of our events and communications from the last month.
Business school professor, international speaker, author, and entrepreneur, Dr. Jeffrey Robinson, recently joined us for “Navigating as Black Faces in White Places and High Places.” He gives advice for thriving in entrepreneurial settings while making your identity and community top priorities.
“I hope you’re thinking about how to build your network and use power; I hope you are maximizing mentoring because mentoring is key to a lot of things; and I hope you’re realizing the strength in numbers or, in this case, how you can you can bring power from organizing amongst yourselves and in allyship with other folks so you can make a difference. We call that leveraging our might.“
-Dr. Jeffrey Robinson
Illinois Mentor Coach Keenan Artis sat down with UIC’s “28 Days of Black Excellence” podcast series where he shared his personal journey of self love and the importance of building connections.
“Don’t stop learning, and do things that terrify you sometimes. Make it a habit to build connections with others who don’t share the same skin as you, the same background as you, the same degree as you, or even the same ideas as you. You not only learn so much about the people you interact with but you also discover new pieces of your identity if you are willing to be open to the experience.”
Peer mentorship is uniquely powerful. Sharing hopes, concerns, and personal experience with those who are in similar situations normalizes feelings and strengthens communities. Our Fellows and alumni are always the first to give back, and their contributions are shaping the next generation of leaders and changemakers.
“Being a Black, first-generation student means trailblazing a path to future success for individuals within my family and community. Growing up in the Black community taught me to embrace my identity as a strength and use it to empower fellow young men and women of color to embrace their own.”
–Rene Mukendi, Fellow alumnus
“I have set the bar for my family members and peers, as well as those in my community who believe obtaining a degree is impossible because society has set the Black community up to fail from the very beginning of time. I am dedicated to breaking the cycle, and my involvement in ANY has motivated me to continue to exceed all expectations. I am proud to be a first-generation college student and role model in the Black community.”
-Princess Kelly, New Jersey Fellow