Dear supporters of the Vermont Professionals of Color Network,
We are thrilled to share how our organization is growing in all aspects: in membership, employees, influence, and financially. Weiwei and I are learning a lot on a daily basis, including honing the considerable skills it takes to be effective leaders, such as team building and developing our organizational culture. We are currently focused on scaling up, sustaining growth over time, learning to leverage technology to streamline operations, and free up time to focus on more growth. It’s an incredible journey that we are on, and we are grateful to have the opportunity to share all we have accomplished through our patience, perseverance and hard work. We are committed and confident change-makers, and we know that the strong foundation we’ve created has set us up for long-term success.
Below are some of the noteworthy events of the previous quarter (Q2, 2023).
Organizational Growth: We have been very fortunate to have unearthed another gem in Mimi Duong who is our new full time Outreach and Member Coordinator, after the sad departure of DeVonna Sydnor. We also bade farewell to our Intern Alex Majmudar who graduated from college in May. We are also excited to welcome three new summer interns who will be supporting us in events, operations and outreach!
BIPOC Business & Workforce Development Programs: In 2022, Gov. Scott signed into law Act 183 as part of Vermont’s commitment to local, state, and national efforts to advance equity and to increase meaningful inclusion and representation of BIPOC. We are incredibly excited that this Act created the opportunity for VT PoC to contract with the state to continue providing outreach, support, training, technical assistance, networking, resource navigation, and development services to BIPOC business owners and professionals statewide.
Networking: Creating wellness through community and belonging matters. We loved spending time with over 150 of our members and their families who joined us in May to cultivate a space filled with BIPOC pride, connection, and joy as we celebrated the screening of the new version of “The Little Mermaid”. Our gratitude abounds for all who came out that night to celebrate us!
BIPOC Job Fair: On April 1st, we hosted our inaugural BIPOC Job Fair at the Flynn Theater. The inclusive space was filled with employers, people seeking employment, and the energy and joy that comes from our incredible BIPOC community coming together. We have had numerous organizations reporting that they have subsequently hired candidates as a direct result of this job fair.
Jobs, Internships, & Civic Engagement: We are planning to expand our current jobs board by offering large employers the option to have a dedicated evergreen space on the jobs board for them to advertise an unlimited number of jobs for a flat rate. Interested organizations should contact us directly. We also are appealing to organizations to post their internship positions and board of director openings onto our website. Help us to tear down the barriers that prevent the BIPOC community from being able to realize their professional, entrepreneurial and civic potential.
Supporting BIPOC Entrepreneurship: We are building an educational curriculum for BIPOC business owners around various challenges identified via the Community Navigator Pilot Project survey and listening sessions. We are currently supported by the Vermont Community Foundation to determine the best pathway to this offering, and the ACCD contract will provide us the opportunity to implement our ideas. We are excited to be in discussions with M&T Bank about tapping into their Multi-Cultural Business Labs, a program designed to develop racially and ethnically diverse business owners, as part of our curriculum.
Advocacy & Public Policy: We had the honor of visiting with Governor Scott twice in the space of a month. In April we were invited to Gov. Scott’s office to present to him the work VT PoC has been doing in the community. It was quickly followed up by a similar meeting to present to the entire Executive Cabinet. There have been a lot of productive follow up conversations including with the Department of Labor, the Department of Tourism, and the Agency of Agriculture.