On November, 27, 2018, the Career and Workforce Program at Skyline College partnered with Brothers Achieving Milestones (BAM) to bring together 13 industry leaders where they provided expertise and valuable insight as they led candid conversations about race, overcoming barriers in the workforce and achieving career growth as a man of color.
Key leaders in industry engaged with over 20 male students of color involved in Skyline College’s Bam community. BAM is a student initiative designed to aid, support and encourage males of color at Skyline College.
The Men-tor Mixer event, delivered an engaging experience with key industry leaders in companies such as PayPal, PG&E, Dell, Intel, Yahoo and BAE Systems. Leaders shared their personal experiences in a panel discussion and provided guidance in one-on-one conversations with BAM students. No topic was off-limits to discuss, with industry leaders, getting extremely personal, sharing that being a man of color can be both an advantage and disadvantage in the work world. Barr Stokes, an Engineering Leader at BAE Systems, shared, “being a man of color can be a disadvantage because many times, you are the only one in the room, all eyes are on you and you’re expected to succeed. However, remember that you can bring a unique perspective and take advantage of every opportunity to be at the table.”
A theme emerged as the leaders shared their varied experiences, that it is essential to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. It is important to find your community, but not limit yourself, be open-minded, expand your perspective and build community with people different from you.
During the one-on-one conversations with the students, panelist were eager to share their business cards and to continue to support students at Skyline College. BAM students felt the event was incredibly impactful and are eager to collaborate with the mentors again. It was evident a genuine bond had been created between participating students and industry mentors.
The Career and Workforce Development team is excited to expand engagement in the Spring semester where they will organize continued mentorship events, company visits, internship opportunities and job placement partnerships.
Thank you to the Career and Workforce Team for their efforts in bringing together a remarkable mix of professionals and a class act event. Thank you to Michael Stokes, Director of BAM who leads the great work of facilitating partnerships that lead to BAM student’s personal development and leaderships skills, while enabling them to fulfill their educational goals and career goals and thank you to the incredible group of industry leaders who participated.
Article by Laura Dekelaita