Conference on tap for professionals of color

Conference on tap for professionals of color

Gyasi Ross. Photo via

A day to leverage the legacy of Grand Rapids’ diverse professionals is at hand.

Cascade Engineering is hosting its 5th annual Young Professionals of Color Conference. The event, which will feature networking and a number of breakout sessions, is scheduled for 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m., June 30, at the Steelcase University Learning Center, 901 44th St. SE, Grand Rapids. Parking will be available in the lot off 44th Street and Eastern Avenue, with shuttles bringing attendees to the conference.

Last year’s event drew more than 100 young professionals of color.

“The 2016 conference theme is ‘Your Leadership Narrative: Leveraging Your Story.’ This year we will focus on how young professionals of color can identify, express and leverage their personal and professional story for their individual and institutional success,” reads the event page.

Gyasi Ross, a Blackfoot essayist and writer, poet and speaker, lawyer and activist, will keynote the conference.

Ross will host a book signing after his keynote address. The signing will be followed by lunch and networking, which will then be followed by six afternoon breakout sessions from 1-4 p.m. The sessions are designed to help participants to leverage their stories, knowledge and value, and bring purpose to their involvement in the community. Each session will be about an hour long and conference attendees can choose three different sessions to attend.

Topics for the breakout sessions include:

Building Your Social Capital with Jamon Alexander, adult program director, West Michigan Center for Arts + Technology

Micro-Aggressions in the Workplace: How to Handle You with Cicely Moore, programs manager, Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce

What’s it Worth to You: The Art of Negotiation with Rebeca Velázquez-Publes, director of programs, Health Net of West Michigan

Managing Up with Stacy Stout, assistant to the city manager, city of Grand Rapids

Crafting Your Story with Briana Ureña-Ravelo, community engagement specialist, The Rapidian

Volunteering with a Purpose with Angela Nelson, assistant brand manager, Amway North America

Tickets are $75 and available here

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