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2018: You & Us. Welcome to the New Year!

Hello everyone and Happy New Year!

We hope the New Year is being more generous to you than the wind chill outside. The New Year is time for reflection, reinvention and action. Just like many of you, Black Young Professionals of Metro Detroit has been contemplating our year in review. While reflecting on the successes of the past year, we could not be any more grateful for our members. Each year, because of you, Black Young Professionals of Metro Detroit becomes stronger, energized and ready for the opportunities the New Year brings. Our number one goal is to continue to bring you programs that empower you personally and professionally, as well as improve the community as a whole.

 

We want to hear from you.
What would you like to see in BYP in 2018?

Please click below to access the Black Young Professionals End of Year Feedback survey.

ALSO! We would also like to extend the opportunity for you to grow within the organization this year.  We are growing our mentorship opportunities and there are a few positions open on the Internal Team. Click the link below to indicate your interest in getting involved.


Christmas in the D!

What can we say? December was a celebratory month for us. We had not one, but two events filled with holiday cheer!

Giving Toys for Christmas

On December 7th we partied for a purpose at the Detroit Yacht Club for the 7th Annual Toys for Tots Detroit Black Professionals Holiday Mixer. The event was organized by sixteen of Detroit’s Black Professional Associations, including Black Young Professionals of Metro Detroit. Throughout the night, we were entertained by D.J. Dean Beanz and were treated to a special performance by Detroit’s very own, Pierre Anthony. Among all of the black professional groups, it was awesome to see so many familiar friendly faces and to make new connections as well. We appreciate all who were able to attend. As a result of contributions from attendees, organizers, and corporate sponsors, together, we raised $3,000 for Toys for Tots of Southeastern Michigan. The funds raised were handed over directly to the Sergeant of Detroit Toys for Tots in a presentation made that evening around 7:00pm. These funds will be going directly towards ensuring Toys for Tots is able to support every family which approaches them this holiday season, is able to put something under the tree for their child to unwrap on Christmas morning.

Detroit Black Affinity Professionals’ presidents present a check for $3,000 to Toys for Tots of Southeastern Michigan

 

Toys for Tots mixer guests enjoyed a fine buffet of heavy hors d'oeuvre and a cash bar at the Detroit Yacht Club on Belle Isle

Toys for Tots mixer guests enjoyed a fine buffet of heavy hors d’oeuvre and a cash bar at the Detroit Yacht Club on Belle Isle

Participating Detroit Black Affinity Professionals organizations:

  • Black Young Professionals of Detroit (BYP)
  • Detroit Association of Planners (DAP)
  • Detroit Association of Realtors (DAR)
  • Michigan Minority Contractors Association (MMCA)
  • National Association of African Americans in Human Resources (NAAAHR)
  • National Association of Black Accountants (NABA)
  • National Association of Black Women in Construction, Inc. (NABWIC)
  • National Association of Minority Consulting Engineers (NAMCE)
  • National Black Data Processing Associates – Detroit Chapter (BDPA-Detroit)
  • National Black MBA Association Detroit Chapter (NBMBAA)
  • National Black Public Relations Society Detroit (NBPRS)
  • National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA)
  • National Society of Black Engineers, Detroit Alumni (NSBE)
  • Urban Financial Services Coalition – Detroit Chapter (UFSC Detroit)
  • Women’s Council of Greater Detroit
  • Wolverine Bar Association (WBA)

Our first Holiday Kick Back!

In maintaining the holiday spirit the following week, things got ugly…well, just our sweaters! On Thursday December 14th, we hosted our first ever Holiday Game Night and Ugly Sweater party. This was only our second in-house holiday social event since the organization’s founding. Over 70 members and followers joined us at The Scott at Brush Park in Midtown Detroit. This was truly a community driven event, with a full holiday meal prepared by Chef Xaviar Jaramillo of Xav’s Catering, and decadent desserts from For the Love of Sugar. All night long, guests enjoyed everything from roast beef and herb chicken, to cake and macarons. However, the parade of ugly sweaters was truly a sight for sore eyes with large panel of over ten strong contestants. The votes were cast, counted, certified, and we had a winner!

If you look at his sweater, you can see there was clearly no collusion in this election. It was definitely a family affair; there was enough positive energy and vibes in that room to get us through 2018. This was an incredible way to end the year.

Ugly Sweater Winner, Robert Mack

Ugly Sweater Winner, Robert Mack

 

As always, we appreciate and are thankful for each and every member’s support over the past year. We wish you a happy holiday season. We also would like to give special thanks to the following individuals for their strong support for these events:

 

More photos?

Click on the photo below to view that gallery on Facebook!

 


Established Entrepreneurs

On Friday September 8th, Black Young Professionals of Detroit hosted a panel discussion on Black business. Five Detroit-based established entrepreneurs spoke about their experiences as proprietors in the city as well as being Black business owners.

Our panel included:

  • April Anderson of Good Cakes and Bakes
  • Rufus Bartell of Simply Casual and RBI Events
  • Floyd Jones of JJ & Associates
  • Bryan Davis of Team LBR Real Estate
  • Nefertiti of Textures by Nefertiti

This discussion was a joint effort between Black Young Professionals of Detroit and the Independent Business Association (IBA). The event was held at the Livernois Pop-up Shop in the Avenue of Fashion neighborhood. The conversation flowed organically and was packed with history, great business tips and seeds for further discussion. Each panelist had insightful sound bytes to share. The panelists were asked questions about how they were able to finance their businesses, what is it like to have a business in Detroit as opposed to any where else and also the common misconceptions of Black owned businesses, amongst many other questions.

Successful businesses are crucial to healthy community development, so naturally a bulk of the discussion centered on development. Gentrification has been a hot button topic in regards to the City of Detroit’s development and a few of the panelist shared their opinions on the “G” word. Overall, the general consensus was that development, whether it is Downtown, Midtown or on Clairmont, is good for the City. Panelist Rufus Bartell said, “Detroit belongs to anyone who is going to invest or shop in it.” He also spoke about tilling the soil and working to maintain a legacy rather than merely occupying space. We also touched on the topic of the fear of displacement by means of eminent domain or an over zealous investor/developer. The panel believes in strength in numbers and felt that if more people became civically engaged, the transgressions of the past should not repeat themselves.

 

The Black dollar, and the topic of the circulation of the dollar in the Black community were brought up. The question was, how do we as Black consumers promote Black businesses and keep the money flowing into our communities? One of the most insightful answers was that we should buy from our community and sell to the rest of the world. This answer led into deeper conversation of the tribal nature of our spending habits as humans. Other ethnic groups tend to support businesses that are within their community and that is what effectively “keeps the lights on” in their neighborhoods.

 

 

The panelists had a lot of great advice to share as well. Below is just some of the guidance they had to offer:

  • Know your customer and the market for your product.
  • Get into an association –strength in numbers. Multiple panel members reiterated that associations could help open doors that would take years for you to get through on your own.
  • Learn to negotiate.
  • Learn real estate. Those negotiating skills can come in handy in regards to real estate. Rufus Bartell spoke about negotiating for the option of “first right of refusal” in your lease. Should your landlord sell, you would be first in line for the opportunity to purchase. He also explained that owning your space and running your business may not be ideal in the beginning.
  • Thou shall have good credit.
  • Find investors. Investors will help lighten the load until you get on your feet. Also plan on shouldering most of the operational costs on your own.
  • Take advantage of government programs and grant opportunities for small businesses.
  • Know that the world is open to you. No matter what, follow your passion!

The excellent photography was done by Chauncia VanLowe. Follow her on Instagram @chaunciavii