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Bloomberg’s Black Professional Community Is Paying It Forward

April 25, 2014

High up on the 29th floor on a Friday night in the City that Never Sleeps, a smartly dressed crowd buzzed with excitement and delighted in each other’s company. On another day on another continent in a stadium normally jam-packed with Arsenal fans, a similarly savvy crowd rubbed elbows and exchanged advice and information.

No, these are not gatherings at the latest hip clubs in New York or London, but they were jumping with energy and vitality. These are just two examples of recent, buzz-worthy events co-sponsored by Bloomberg’s Black Professional Community (BPC) as part of a larger outreach effort to encourage young people to pursue higher education. It’s less about giving back to the community and more like paying it forward.

Ruth Rathblott from Harlem Educational Activities Fund (HEAF) moderated a panel discussion in New York.

Ruth Rathblott from Harlem Educational Activities Fund (HEAF) moderated a panel discussion in New York.

“We know that education plays a huge role in raising aspirations,” says London-based BPC co-leader Theophile Tonle. “We are committed to help uncover and inspire the next generation of talents from diverse backgrounds.”

In New York, the BPC held a film screening and discussion on opportunities for under-served youth in middle class families to pursue higher education. Bloomberg’s Global Engagement and Philanthropy team and the Harlem Educational Activities Fund (HEAF) co-sponsored the event. “It was such an incredible honor being in a room with so many intelligent, engaged, and motivated individuals,” says one attendee. “The event inspired all of us to continue our work to improve educational opportunities.”

Meanwhile in London the BPC jumped at the opportunity to participate in the “Your Future Your Ambition” event at Emirates Stadium to engage and inspire young people from predominantly ethnic minority groups to pursue STEM subjects and careers, as well as to increase Bloomberg visibility within this community. The event drew an eclectic mix of students and business professionals for a day of education and culminated in a professional networking event. Says Stephanie Kouame, BPC co-leader in London: “If we inspired just one child to pursue a STEM career we will have made a positive impact.” The group looks forward to participating again next year.

 Bloomberg Black Professional Co-leaders at the YFYA 2014 STEM Event in London.

Bloomberg Black Professional Co-leaders at the YFYA 2014 STEM Event in London.

“BPC is looking forward to expanding our leadership and business impact initiatives over the remainder of the year,” says BPC co-founder Monica Bertran, who is based in New York. “For example, we are in the planning stages of our Power of Difference signature event in the fall.” Last year’s Power of Difference summit featured executives from BNP Paribas, Viacom, and Boehringer Ingelheim.

Founded in 2013, the Black Professional Community seeks to foster a collaborative and inclusive business climate that leverages the unique perspectives and expertise of all employees in support of shared business objectives. The group has since grown to more than 200 members across offices in Dubai, Johannesburg, London, New York, and Washington, DC.

Bloomberg, as a globally established company, recognizes the benefits that can be achieved by supporting and promoting a diverse work force. The BPC is just one of several groups supported at Bloomberg through the office of Diversity & Inclusion. Bloomberg Communities – such as the Pan-Asian, BPROUD (LGBT & Ally), and Women’s Communities — are a vehicle for employees to share ideas, concerns, and successes; serve as brand ambassadors internally and externally; and grow professionally. The Communities are managed by the Diversity & Inclusion team, employee-run, and offer a platform for a global dialogue on diversity and inclusion within Bloomberg.

Contributed on behalf of the Black Professional Community