Being a young Black professional in corporate America feels lonely AF.
When less than five percent of senior leadership roles in major companies are filled by Black people (even less by Black women), it’s difficult to find our voices, feel included, or see a path for success in the workplace.
Listen: All we got is us–we need as much support as possible to advance professionally.
As I’ve navigated through my career during my twenties, one source of support, in particular, has always proved beneficial: professional organizations/associations.
Joining a professional association gives us more access to:
- Tools for professional growth
- Job openings
- Networking opportunities
- Education & pro tips in our industries
- Building genuine relationships with like-minded people
Simply put, many of these organizations provide a safe space and unique support system that we often don’t find with our employers. Whether you have a career in media/communications, finance, tech, etc. there’s likely an org for you to join; you just need to find the best fit for you.
Based on some research and personal experience, here are 5 membership organizations that are dedicated to supporting and advancing Black professionals in the workplace and beyond for you to consider joining:
ColorComm, Inc. is a professional membership organization for women of color in communications. With chapters located in several major cities across the US (serving 40,000+ professionals), ColorComm is the nation’s leading women’s platform addressing diversity & inclusion across the communications, marketing, advertising, and media industries.
Membership with ColorComm gets you exclusive access to:
- Job & career opportunities
- An expanded network of key industry peers & leaders
- Professional development events (at discounted rates if additional cost)
- Opportunities for community service & more
Between their annual conference, virtual seminars, and local chapter events [and the way they blow up my inbox with resources and job openings], this group makes the investment worth every penny!
National Black MBA Association (NBMBAA)
The NBMBAA provides educational, wealth building, and growth opportunities for those historically underrepresented throughout their careers as students, entrepreneurs and professionals.
NBMBAA Membership gives you access to:
- Professional development opportunities
- Career networking events
- Certification discounts & more
They also provide Black students, entrepreneurs, and seasoned professionals with programs that allow them to get hands-on corporate experience, connect with early investors, or advance further in their careers.
National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ)
As the largest organization for BIPOC journalists in the nation, NABJ provides career development opportunities, educational programming, mentorship, and other support to its members worldwide.
Though the name says ‘journalists,’ they accept media professionals from public relations, advertising, marketing backgrounds and more!
NABJ Membership gives you access to the following perks, benefits, and resources:
- Personal and professional development opportunities
- Access to the NABJ Annual Career Fair
- Discounted convention and career fair registrations and regional conference rates
- Access to NABJ Jobs Online
- Leadership and mentoring opportunities
- Scholarship and internship opportunities & more
NABJ breaks down into four regions across the USA, and there are local chapters in major cities like Baltimore, L.A., Detroit, New York, Philly, etc. and collegiate chapters at schools like Morgan State, FAMU, Howard, USC, and UNC, just to name a few (memberships sold separately.)
I’ve helped coordinate past conventions and career fairs for NABJ, and I can tell you first hand that it’s an invaluable experience. I’m forever grateful for the relationships formed and knowledge gained from work and membership with this organization.
The American Association of Blacks in Higher Education (AABHE)
With a focus on leadership, access, and critical issues impacting everyone from students to administrators, AABHE provides Black educators with opportunities for collaboration, support, and networking throughout academia.
An AABHE membership has the following benefits:
- Professional development opportunities
- Reduced event fees and registration for events
- Access to the Leadership Mentoring Institute
- Subscriptions to notable trade publications in Black American education
Above all, AABHE is dedicated to amplifying Black professionals in academia and unifying higher-education personnel as a force for change.
National Black Nurses Association (NBNA)
The NBNA advocates for Black nurses and strives to ensure equal access to professional development, promote educational opportunities, and improve healthcare for underserved communities.
Representing over 300,000 Black registered nurses, licensed vocational/practical nurses, nursing students and retired nurses, there are 114 chapters across the USA, Eastern Carribean, and Africa.
Benefits of a NBNA membership include:
- Early-bird conference registration rates
- Access to the NBNA online store
- Subscription to the Journal of the National Black Nurses Association, a bi-annual published professional refereed journal
- Leadership opportunities through committees and task forces
- Speaking engagements at national and local conferences, Congressional Black Caucus Health BrainTrust, National Medical Association Health Policy Colloquium, National Minority Quality Forum
- Exclusive webinars and networking events & more!
NBNA works to ensure that Black nurses, aspiring and professional, are apart of the healthcare conversation every step of the way.
Have any more professional organizations to add to the list? Feel free to share the wealth and comment below!