Grand Rapids chamber creates group for African-American women


Black Women Connect GR is a networking group. Courtesy Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce

Black Women Connect GR is planning to do exactly what its name says.

The Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce said yesterday that it has created the networking group to develop opportunities for African-American women at all professional levels in the community.

The group held its inaugural launch event this week at Blue35 in downtown Grand Rapids.

The event was attended by about 65 people and asked attendees to offer input on how to better create connections for African-American women within the city’s professional networks.

The group offers opportunities for “black women to meet with each other and develop meaningful relationships both professionally and personally,” said Sonya Hughes, VP of inclusion at the chamber.

Hughes said the chamber is “committed to building and enhancing diverse audiences within our community.”

She said the group augments the chamber’s other networking groups, such as OutPro and MAP, which help employers “attract and retain diverse talent.”

One attendee who is supportive of Black Women Connect GR is Melvene Tardy, ICARE assessment administrator at Partners for a Racism-Free Community.

She said she’s been “waiting for a group like this in Grand Rapids all my life.”

Black Women Connect GR helps “fill a void for black women at all career levels who are looking to actively engage in our community,” said Latricia Trice, VP of marketing and communications at the chamber.

The Black Women Connect GR Facebook group, which went live this week, has 323 members, and Trice said “many attendees” have also signed up to volunteer on planned committees.

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