To foster an environment of growth and belonging where young professionals of color can connect with each other, develop professionally and contribute to the local community.
BL²END (Business Leaders Linked to Encourage New Directions) was established in 2006, by a group of young professionals who found themselves living and working in the Grand Rapids area upon graduation. The transition from college to the professional world brought challenges, including building a new personal and professional network, and connecting within the community to add value.
The values of education, collaboration, community, integrity, and professionalism are demonstrated through three initiatives: Social Networking, Professional Development, and Community Outreach. BL²END concentrates on the need of young professionals of color to have consistent networking opportunities allowing them to build relationships, while being actively engaged in the community. BL²END enhances the Grand Rapids social experience after business hours, all while sharpening the skills of young professionals to thrive in the workplace.
BL²END adds significant value to the sustainability of young leadership and the diversity of Greater Grand Rapids. BL²END highly engages young professionals of color, thus impacting the future of diverse leaders in the area. As we engage participants with the goal of retaining them in the area, we reach a generation of individuals eager to contribute to their communities and develop as leaders and professionals. We help to capture their time and talents and give them an outlet to learn more about their community, their professions and themselves.
Review our informational document
to learn more about our mission, vision and values.
Watch the BL²END five-year anniversary video.