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Plant graphic with "National Black Men in Leadership Summit" and #AdvancingBlackLeaders" text overlayed
May 6, 2021

Grow Financial Sponsors the 2021 National Black Men in Leadership Summit

Grow Financial was proud to sponsor the 2021 National Black Men in Leadership Summit, “Advancing Black Male Leaders: The Voice, Truths, and Power of Black Men,” presented by the Michigan Diversity Council. This year, the virtual event drew attendees from across the country around the shared goal of learning and making a positive difference toward racial justice.

About the National Black Men in Leadership Summit

The event included a keynote address from Dr. Michael Eric Dyson, Georgetown University Distinguished Professor, best-selling author and MSNBC political contributor, along with general panel discussions led by a variety of notable speakers, and breakout sessions that focused on topics related to leadership development. According to the Michigan Diversity Council, the purpose of the Summit was to “educate, inspire and encourage attendees to reflect on their own goals and status as they strive to advance within their respective organizations” and “to help companies embrace and champion policies that dismantle an unjust system and move towards racial equity and inclusion in the workplace.”

Thoughts from our team members

As part of our continued commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, our organization seeks out opportunities to support progress toward racial equity. Participation in the National Black Men in Leadership Summit was an excellent chance for learning and professional development for our team members who attended. Here’s what a few of our team members had to say about the event:

Anthony Weston, Commercial Loan Officer
“The conversation around the challenge Black professionals face of having to ‘wear a mask’ at work and code switch with language was very relevant. It’s definitely important to embrace authenticity and be true to yourself. From a personal standpoint, the Summit reinforced that I know my value, which doesn’t necessarily equate to being promoted or having a specific title. Success is not measured against anyone else. A key takeaway for me is the importance of finding happiness in the process of career growth, rather than pursuing happiness as an end goal. It’s great to work for an organization that embraces diversity and, more importantly, understands that equity is where the rubber meets the road.”

Ashley Pittman, Manager, People Development Group
“I was so inspired to see and hear from so many professional and accomplished Black men because this is not something I get to see every day. It was empowering to hear the stories of triumph and resiliency, while seeing the passion and drive in their eyes to break the molds of what was and create something new for themselves and the other minority professionals coming after them.”

Marquise Davis, Fraud Investigator, Asset Protection
“One of the biggest takeaways I gathered was understanding the difference between a mentor and a sponsor. I’m sure many of us can name several mentors we have or had throughout our careers and personal lives. But can we recall ever having a sponsor? A sponsor is willing to put themselves on the line while going to bat for you. They typically help you get to where you are in your career, not by just being a mentor, but also by speaking up and advocating for you both behind closed doors and out in the open.”

Wendy Melton, Lead Corporate Developer, People Development Group
“I was particularly struck by the keynote speaker, Dr. Michael Eric Dyson. He repeated, ‘What would America be without…,’ naming many Black men who have made an impact in this country — Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Lebron James, Stevie Wonder, Barack Obama, just to name a few individuals he mentioned. Yet, as a country and as a system, we still do not treat Black men (as a whole) as equal to white men. Continued progress toward racial equity requires all of us.”

Margaret Mallory, AVP, Real Estate Operations and Services
“Two sessions that I attended, ‘Characteristics of An Effective Leader’ and ‘Why Race, Culture and Representation Matter,’ provided an enhanced understanding of the need for continued growth and practice of diversity in both my personal and professional life. The most profound takeaway from the Summit for me is: awareness of the need for diversity, without change and application, is not progress.”


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