If you are a woman of color who works in communications, Lauren Wesley Wilson thinks she has the perfect organization for you. She is the founder of ColorComm, an initiative that aims to uplift women in the communications industry.
BlackEnterprise.com sat down with Wilson to find out why the young dynamo’s ColorComm organization is different than the numerous other professional programs dedicated to people of color.
Founded in 2011 as a small, invite-only luncheon in Washington D.C., ColorComm has blossomed into a thriving 60-strong membership organization with hundreds, if not over 1,000, enthusiastic supporters.
“What makes ColorComm really stand out is that most professional organizations provide networking just for the purpose of getting a job,â€ explained Wilson. “This takes networking to a higher level. It’s about learning and growing and when possible, connecting personally. It doesn’t always have to be about landing a job because frankly a lot of these women are happy with their careers.â€
The ladies of ColorComm are encouraged to share with each other what they have to offer and what they would like to learn. Instead of stiff meet-and-greets after a dry speaker, ColorComm events are vibrant and interactive with carefully chosen guests. A recent New York City luncheon featured Marcia L. Dyson, Terrie Williams and Marvet Britto. That event was something of a teaser for ColorComm’s future official expansion to New York and Chicago. New York’s chapter will officially launch in the spring of 2013.
At the heart of ColorComm is a dedication to helping women help each other. We’ve heard for years about the “old boys networkâ€ that typically takes place on golf courses and cozy bars. ColorComm offers women the chance to help one another and find that perfect mentor, mentee or even just a new lunch buddy.
Before she started her organization, Wilson spent a year hunting down one woman in particular in hopes of becoming her mentee. When she finally snagged a sit-down with her, it turned out there was no chemistry. Wilson has learned from that experience.
“The most important thing is finding someone you have a connection with. It goes beyond idolizing someone. You don’t just go for the person with the awesome job title, but you connect because you both love tennis or went to same school,â€ said Wilson who counts BET’s Tara Jones among her mentors.
Wilson said that some have criticized ColorComm’s membership fees, but she insists you get what you pay for, and ColorComm is an exclusive opportunity for women that puts on high quality, on-time, meaningful events. Formerly a staff member for a US congressperson, Wilson is now working on President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign in Florida.