ColorComm: The Sisterhood I didn’t know I needed

ColorComm: The Sisterhood I didn’t know I needed

So what is Colorcomm? Since its birth in 2011, ColorComm, Inc has become the nation’s leading women’s platform addressing diversity & inclusion across the communications, marketing, advertising, and media industries. ColorComm was founded by Spelman College alumna, Lauren Wesley Wilson. Ms. Wilson noticed a lack of networking opportunities for young professionals who looked like her and experienced similar hurdles in the professional scene. ColorComm has grown from a luncheon with 34 attendees in Washington, D.C. to a professional membership organization comprising 40,000 professionals spread across 10 chapters around the country and its network extending to London.

My friend, who is also a Newhouse Graduate alumna informed me about ColorComm’s fellowship program. This exclusive program is dedicated to cultivating the next generation of industry leaders. Perks of the fellowship include admission into the two-day C2 Next Gen Summit, one-year free membership and access to mentorship, training, participation in local chapter programs and most importantly the network. You can learn about the fellows criteria here!

 

C2 Next Gen Summit in NYC

Day one was a welcome reception held at the Buzzfeed Headquarters. As all the fellows began pouring in and warming up we all were introduced to the ColorComm organizers, partners, and industry professionals. I can truly say this was the first time I was NOT nervous at a networking event. (Stay tuned for my future post about networking for the shy) Although I wouldn’t consider myself an introvert or shy person, networking always felt awkward and disingenuous. However, once I began listening to the other young women in the room, I quickly realized that they have either experienced similar obstacles as me or they are simply just looking for a chance to showcase their incredible talents and abilities. It was so empowering mingling with young women from all walks of life just trying to excel in their careers.

 

“C2 NextGen is created for young diverse leaders by young diverse leaders. The Summit will provide the tools and resources Millennials need to advance. It also sheds insight into this group and better provides understanding as to how Millennials navigate the workplace,” -Lauren Wesley Wilson, ColorComm Founder and CEO.

 

Day two was the full-day conference jam-packed with interactive and insightful panels. Unlike most conferences, the Chelsea Piers venue was filled with no more than 300 professionals. Attendees learned so much from the panelists including:

Angela Yee Nationally Syndicated Radio Host and Business Owner, iHeart Media; Syeedah Smith, Financial Professional Associate at Prudential Insurance Co. of America; Alicia Rodgers-Alston, Vice President, Global Communications, Prudential Financial; Sallie Krawcheck, Co-Founder and CEO Ellevest; Bonin Bough, Founder, Bonin Ventures; Alencia Johnson, Director of Public Engagement for Presidential Campaign for Senator Elizabeth Warren, and so many more.

 

My most memorable takeaways were:

  • The importance of financial planning for young women.
  • Don’t be so rooted in the drawing board you made in college about where/how your life is supposed to go.
  • Have the courage to negotiate your worth.
  • Leaders don’t need to be a certain age or fancy title. YOU can start today.

 

A few of my favorite quotes:

“Be so rooted in your convictions for your dreams” – Alencia Johnson

“I have to adopt the mindset that I am the CEO of me. I have to have weekly and monthly financial meetings with myself.” – Syeedah Smith

 “It’s not a negotiation if you’re not willing to walk away from the table” – Zara Rahim

 

I did not realize the importance of spaces like the C2 Next Gen Summit for young professionals of color. I learned so much in those two days and wish all networking events were just like that one. As a first-generation American and a black woman, it sometimes feels overwhelming trying to break glass ceilings or “fit in” to certain spaces. I am so grateful to be selected into this transformative network and I am eager to pass the mantle to another woman in Newhouse. If you have any questions about ColorComm or their fellowship please do not hesitate to contact me! My email is: earawlin@syr.edu

 

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Erica Rawlins
Erica Rawlins is a graduate student at S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. She is studying Public Diplomacy. Her interests lie in advocacy, branding and harnessing the power of social media. Upon graduating from Syracuse University she hopes to tie her interests into a career that impacts emerging markets.
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