The Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce says it has entered into a partnership with Boston While Black, a new membership network for Black professionals, entrepreneurs, & graduate students, founded by Sheena Collier and also known as BWB.

Through a virtual platform and customized programming, BWB enables access to mentors and leaders, providing curated social experiences, resources on how to navigate the city through a cultural lens and a supportive social network. BWB, the chamber said, is aiming to build a social infrastructure that will catapult the region in attracting & retaining more Black talent and redefine Boston’s brand among minority professionals and entrepreneurs. The city is currently seen as unwelcoming to Black students, professionals, and entrepreneurs thanks to a range of issues, including perceived clubbiness among some white members of its business community.

The Greater Boston Chamber will be a “Founding Accomplice” partner, it said, which includes sponsorship of BWB public and members-only events as well as annual memberships for Black entrepreneurs who are part of the chamber’s membership. This partnership also includes designated spots for Boston While Black members in chamber leadership initiatives, including Boston’s Future Leaders and Women’s Leadership program.

“We’re proud to announce the chamber’s new investment in Boston While Black. This partnership is going to benefit both organizations, and most importantly Boston, as we work to change the perception and reality of living in Boston as a Black professional. The Boston business community needs to recognize and take action to make sure that we’re attracting and retaining Black talent for our collective future,” chamber President and CEO James E. Rooney said in a statement.

Collier, who is also a chamber board member, was previously the director of economic opportunity at the chamber, She built the chamber’s Fierce Urgency of Now annual festival, dedicated to amplifying the experiences and challenges of young professionals of color in Boston, and also led the early stage development of the Pacesetters, the chamber’s program dedicated to transforming corporate procurement into an equity tool.

“When I moved to Boston to attend Harvard, I didn’t feel a sense of belonging. I’m not alone in this experience. Whether you grow up in the area or relocate for school or work, Boston presents a difficult reality for Black professionals. We’re changing that reality with Boston While Black by building a strong community, giving Black students and professionals a reason to stay and thrive. We’re looking forward to the partnership with the Chamber and its visionary leader Jim Rooney, to showcase what is possible when the business community invests in Black talent,” Collier said in a statement.

Greater Boston Chamber Joins Mentorship Network for Black Professionals

by Banker & Tradesman time to read: 2 min