Partners hosting virtual Young Professionals of Color Conference

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The ninth annual Young Professionals of Color Conference will take place online next week.

Cascade Township-based Cascade Engineering will host the virtual professional development conference online from 1-5 p.m. Monday. The 2020 theme is “Leading in Times of Change.”

The event will be free of charge this year, but spots are limited. Registration is required online.

“We started YPCC to provide young professionals of color the tools and skills to be successful in business and to help inspire the next generation of leaders in West Michigan,” said Kenyatta Brame, executive vice president of Cascade Engineering.

“We are convinced that cultivating and retaining young professionals of color is vital to the long-term vibrancy, magnetism and success of our region. Today, more than ever, we understand the frustrating fact that people of color face disparities in employment, education, housing, banking, health outcomes, the judicial system and many of the economic opportunities that make this country great. This frustration was a significant part of the social unrest and protests in the U.S. and around the world in 2020.”

Mark Washington Courtesy city of Grand Rapids

Grand Rapids City Manager Mark Washington will be one of many keynote speakers at the event. He will share personal lessons of leading a community through health, safety and justice crises and divisions.

Michigan’s Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist II also is on tap to speak.

Attendees will have the opportunity to hear from other local leaders on topics such as improving mental health and developing personal and financial foundations to meet these challenging times while building professional success. Interactive sessions will focus on the needed skillsets, networks and pathways to make change during uncertain times.

In partnership with Cascade Engineering BL2END (Business Leaders Linked to Encourage New Directions) is returning as the young professionals’ partner for the event.

YPCC conference schedule

Welcome — 1 p.m.

Message from Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist II — 1:15 p.m.

“Preparedness and Sustainability Beyond COVID” – BL2END Panel: Erica Soto, president; Andrea Blue, president-elect; D.L. McKinney, vice president-elect; Naomi Magallán, digital marketing chair; Jessica Lehti, Edward Jones — 1:30 p.m.

“Managing Mental Health for Professionals of Color” – Rebecca Spann, ABOUT U; Janee’ Beville, Centennial Park Counseling — 2:30 p.m.

“Being Engaged in Positive Change” – Mark Washington, Grand Rapids city manager — 3:30 p.m.

Learning dialogue and wrap-up/closing — 4:30 p.m.

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