Professionals of Color stemmed from Microsoft. The company has a variety of programs for their diverse young professionals, including Blacks at Microsoft, Asians at Microsoft and Military at Microsoft. After initially launching a Blacks at Microsoft program at the Fargo campus, their leadership team approached the Chamber about launching a program similar to this to the whole community.
The Chamber agreed that this is something that would bene t the entire community and that it fit the Chamber’s mission perfectly. Last month, they had their initial launch of the Professionals of Color program at the Plains Art Museum.
“The reaction was very positive,” said Alyssa Ralston, Professional Development Coordinator for the Chamber. “We were really excited about the turnout. … To see that we’ve been working on this in the background not really knowing all the individuals who would be interested in this and to see so many come out to an event just to hear what this organization will do for our business community, it was really exciting to see. It also reinforced that this was the right step for our community to be taking inclusion efforts.”
While the program is just getting off the ground, it has four main goals.
Social events with the sole purpose of providing members an opportunity to interact
2. Professional development:
Learning and development opportunities and resources members can apply to their daily work
3. Education Opportunities:
To learn about the diverse populations in our community
4. Service Philanthropic opportunities for members to serve in our community
Ralston who has been helping facilitate this event, along with the many volunteers, acknowledges that this is an important addition to the FM business community.
“It’s important to acknowledge the makeup of our community is changing and that with every individual who comes in, they’re going to have different needs,” said Ralston. “It’s important to create a program where there’s an intentional effort to include people of diverse backgrounds in the business community. … Our diverse community members have different needs and not all community members are going to know where those needs can be met but
It is important to note that Professionals of Color is open to everybody. The program is available thanks to Microsoft and Bremer Bank as sponsors. If anybody is interested in participating, it is $45 per year for membership and is open only to Chamber members.