Minority-Focused Professional Development Groups
I’ve been thinking a lot recently about the value of Minority-Focused Professional Development Groups. They exist in three realms primarily: 1) at school, 2) at work, 3) at large. Examples include the National Society of Black Engineers (student-run), and Blacks at Microsoft! (professional, company-specific), both of which I am a proud and active member of. I think that such organizations are important for a variety of reasons and quite beneficial to their memberships.
I’d like to ponder here the strengths and weaknesses of such organizations. The 2 initial ones that come to mind are:
1. They create senses of comraderie and community in their respective fields/industries of focus. This is especially important because they usually exist in fields/industries that are mostly white or non-minority-dominated.
2. Since people don’t trust people that are different, they can connect people with those whom they feel that they can trust to help/support them.
Do you think that these types of groups are a good thing? Do you participate in these kinds of groups or their sponsored activities? Why or why not?