Boston While Black is a new membership network for black professionals, entrepreneurs, and graduate students seeking community in the Greater Boston area. Since starting in July, Boston While Black has launched a members-only digital platform for those looking to expand their network and discover a curated social experience.
The Career Development Center recently connected with some of the staff behind Boston While Black to learn more about how members of Emerson’s community might get connected and involved with the network. We spoke with Founder & CEO, Sheena Collier, and Brand Manager, Martina Wilson, about ways to get involved and much more…
Find Your Tribe. Grow Your Network. Navigate the City. Have Fun.
How would you describe the company culture at Boston While Black?
Sheena: “Everyone on the team is also a target member. We’re all in the demographic of being a Boston While Black member and we’re also thinking about what we want to get out of this kind of community. As we’re continuing to build the team, we definitely want folks that have a growth mindset. Folks who are very goal-oriented and understand the bigger mission. Folks who are willing to experiment and take risks and try new things.
I think we have a very big vision around how this can really change Boston’s brand as it relates to black people feeling welcomed here. For our culture and for our team, it’s having folks that want to contribute to a big mission like that.”
What are some of the known and lesser-known benefits of joining the network?
Sheena: “The things that we’re advertising are our virtual events and the digital platform, which is for members only. It’s where people can post as they want, chat with each other, and send each other private messages. Something that will become a more known member benefit, I think, is gaining access to leaders and mentors in the city.”
Martina: “We’re creating the first steps to a city that we want to live in. Now we’re all virtual, but we’ve always had the goal of seeking out certain spots or find the hidden gems in the city.
This is a platform where you can find people who are like you and for people who want to see what it’s like to be here, instead of going through all these extra steps of just vetting something yourself.”
The network benefits those who are either native and new to Boston by providing a place for curated discussion and experiences. It is a place where folks can get tapped into relevant resources, reviews, perspectives, and so much more.
What are some roles students and/or alumni can get connected with?
Sheena: “One of the main roles is having someone that helps us tell our story and really help on the content marketing and creative side to take these events that we do, take the conversations that we’re having, and create content that can be repurposed in our newsletter, on social media, and in reports that we give out to investors and funders. So really someone that has the ability to write and take content and make it come to life and have it be exciting and tell the story.”
In addition to telling its story, Boston While Black is also seeking folks to help contribute to and moderate discussion through its digital platform.
Sheena: “While we want to as a company be able to push the conversation, our goal is really for members to really be driving the conversation. We know to do that, we really need moderators who are helping to drive what kind of conversations we should be having.
Inside of our community, we have these different topic areas that people can post under. Because we’re really new, we still need to do a lot on our end to almost model for our members, like, here’s the type of conversations we want to have in Boston While Black.”
Like many organizations, they are also looking for folks to assist with virtual event production. You may find links to Boston While Black’s Marketing & Events Coordinator and Programs & Event Coordinator roles at the bottom of this article.
Sheena: “This was initially being built to be an in-person membership and for people to be able to come to X number of events per month. Like everyone else, we’ve had to switch to virtual. It would be great to have more folks on the team with virtual event production expertise or at least skills, like knowing how to run different virtual platforms.
During our virtual events, we kind of split it up amongst ourselves by who’s managing different parts. Zoom events actually take a lot of people to run a well-run event. I think having some more people on both the planning side of events and then virtual production.”
Do you have any advice for young professionals getting their start?
Sheena: “For me personally, I’m all about relationships and connections. Even in jobs that I haven’t liked, I could still pick up the phone and call my former supervisor or call colleagues because I’ve been very intentional about maintaining relationships because I think that is ultimately what is going to move you forward in your career.”