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2016 Young Professionals of Color Conference

Cascade Engineering is hosting a one-day professional development conference for young professionals of color in West Michigan on Thursday, June 30, 2016.  Last year, the conference convened over 100 young professionals of color at Herman Miller in Holland, Michigan. This year, we are happy to have Steelcase as the Platinum Sponsor and BL2END (Business Leaders Linked to Encourage New Directions), returning as the Exclusive Young Professional Partner whose mission directly aligns with the purpose and intent of this conference.

The 2016 conference theme is Your Leadership Narrative: Leveraging Your Story. This year we will focus on how young professionals of color can identify, express and leverage their personal and professional story for their individual and institutional success. Gyasi Ross, a Blackfoot essayist and writer, poet and speaker, lawyer and activist, will keynote the conference inspiring young professionals to know and tell their personal stories in order to leverage them for personal and professional change. In addition to the keynote, participants will take a deeper dive into the conference theme by engaging in small break-out sessions focused around understanding and leveraging their stories, knowledge and value, bringing purpose to their involvement in the personal and professional community, and techniques for managing professional relationships.


Gyasi Ross YPCC 2016 Keynote SpeakerKeynote Address - Leveraging Your Story

Gyasi Ross, a Blackfeet storyteller, lawyer, activist and author will speak to Young Professionals of Color about the importance of their unique personal story. He will educate and engage the audience in his lived experiences as a Native American and his work to mentor and give voice to the stories of the people in his community. Gyasi believes that our stories are the most important and valuable thing we have. He will give attendees advice on leveraging their personal story for their own success and how this can lead the way to institutional change.

Breakout Sessions - Young Professionals of Color will have multiple breakout sessions to choose from that will augment the keynote and provide additional insight on how to share their story and leverage their value in the professional world. Topics include: Crafting Your Story, Building Your Social Capital, The Art of Negotiation, Volunteering and Networking with Purpose, Micro-Aggressions in the Workplace and Managing Up.


Event Program (Tentative) 

8:30 a.m. Registration & Breakfast
9:30 a.m. Welcome
10:00 a.m. Keynote: Gyasi Ross; Speaker, Activist and Author
11:30 a.m. Book Signing with Gyasi Ross
11:45 a.m. Lunch & Networking
1:00 p.m. Break-Out Sessions
  Each session will be 60 minutes - conference attendees choose 3 sessions to attend
4:30 p.m Learning Dialogue and Wrap-Up
5:00 p.m Closing

Event Location

Steelcase University
901 44th Street
Grand Rapids, MI 49508

Parking will be provided in the Lot off of 44th & Eastern Street - Shuttles will bring you to the University Building for the Conference.