February 15, 2024

Affinity and beyond: A look inside Sound’s Black Professional Network

With an organizational population as diverse and disparate as Sound’s, colleague connection and support are at the forefront of our well-being efforts. A significant way Sound bridges these gaps is through affinity groups. Developed to create a safe space for colleague communities to connect, these groups foster inclusivity, professional development, and acceptance.  

One of Sound’s longest-running affinity groups is the Black Professionals Network (BPN). Created to promote advocacy, increase cultural competence within the organization, and cultivate networking opportunities for people of color, BPN creates an environment where Black professionals can connect, share experiences, and build a supportive community.   

BPN was founded in 2020 and meets virtually every month, allowing colleagues nationwide to tune in and contribute to the conversations. 

“For me, BPN provides a safe and inclusive environment for people of color to come together as a community and be transparent about the struggles we experience both professionally and within society at large,” said Melissa Bryant, Regional VP of Operations and BPN leader.

Meetings revolve around a theme or topic pertinent to the black community such as health care disparities, emotional Intelligence, the challenges of being a black professional in the workplace, affirmative action, and more. The group also highlights celebrations such as Black History Month, Juneteenth, and Kwanzaa.  

“Usually, we’ll start with discussion questions and invite the group to respond and engage,” said Kimberly Robinson, Implementation Project Manager and another BPN leader. “We occasionally have guest speakers. Some have come to discuss medicine, professionalism, intersectionality, and art; Sound’s former CEO also came to talk to us annually.”  

One of the most popular aspects of BPN is how it facilitates colleagues’ connections with different parts of the organization. Mentorship, colleague spotlights, and interpersonal recognition drive are all opportunities designed for people to learn more about who their colleagues are outside of work and how their work is interconnected throughout Sound.  

“There are so many people I’ve met through being a part of BPN that I probably would not have worked with otherwise. I really value hearing the different perspectives,” Robinson said.  

As the group continues its efforts into 2024, the leaders look forward to a new chapter in BPN history. 

“This would not have evolved into what it is today without the support of our executive leaders,” Bryant said. “Groups like this don’t work without executive buy-in. People of color are underrepresented, and it’s essential for organizations like Sound to provide forums and resources to support them.”   

Learn more about Sound’s commitment to Diversity, equity, and inclusion here. 

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