Each February our nation reflects on the contributions and sacrifices of African Americans who have shaped our country. Black History Month is a dedicated time to make sure that history and legacies are honored, remembered and used for inspiration. WBENC will be celebrating WBE and supplier diversity advocates throughout February. However, we know that the need to highlight black business owners and innovators doesn’t end when February does.
WBENC and the WBENC Network of advocates from all walks of life have joined our country in calling for change during the past few years, the years of the COVID-19 pandemic, and, just as significantly, the necessary refocus and reignition of the social justice movement in the U.S. We have been listening, trying to listen more than talking, and have been guided by amazing WBENC WBEs and supplier diversity experts, especially those helping to lead our Women of Color program. Our leaders and guides include WOC Founding Partners Altria Group, Bristol Myers Squibb, the Coca-Cola Company, JPMorgan Chase, Southern California Edison and Walmart, as well as WBEs and WBENC program instructors and speakers.
The WBENC Women of Color Program was launched in 2017 to create an effective and successful business ecosystem designed to engage, advise and drive the growth of women of color women-owned businesses. Since then, hundreds of women entrepreneurs have attended in-person and virtual sessions at WBENC events, designed to address the challenges faced by many women of color business owners and provide resources and programming to address those challenges.
The WBENC Allyship program has been focusing on better understanding the Black lived experience to provide education and awareness so that we can all become better allies. The program is led by international speaker, certified coach, leadership trainer, diversity consultant, published author and WBENC-Certified WBE, Dee C. Marshall, CEO at Diverse & Engaged.
Additionally, the Black History Month theme for 2022 is Black Health and Wellness, a topic so critically important as the pandemic and social issues have disproportionately affected minority communities and healthcare professionals.
As NPR noted simply, “critics have long argued that Black history should be taught and celebrated year-round, not just during one month each year.”
We couldn’t agree more. That’s why our WOC program has a year-long plan ready for 2022, with our series of dedicated programming beginning February 8 from 3-5 pm focused on “Branding Basics for Small Businesses: Creating A Brand That You and Your Customers Will Love.” Learn more and register. Whether WBENC Certified or not, all are welcome.
Our programs, events, and communications year round also work to incorporate, celebrate and support our diverse WBEs and the outstanding contributions they make to the business community and their communities. We encourage you to participate, share and contribute with us throughout 2022.
To stay up to date on Women of Color and other WBENC programming and events, make sure that you are subscribed to our newsletter and Opportunity Alerts.