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Collaborating with The Diversity Org to Mentor Underrepresented Students
Jade Bosier

I had the wonderful opportunity to be part of a mentoring session earlier this year that Kellogg and The Diversity Org sponsored for high school students from the Chicago and Detroit areas.

The Diversity Org educates underrepresented and minority students on how to obtain corporate careers, including giving them direct exposure to people in those professions. The organization also helps students obtain internships, which in turn benefits companies like ours by helping to build a pipeline of diverse, qualified talent.

While I knew the event’s purpose when I volunteered to mentor, I realized many of these students have probably never been exposed to someone who works for a global company – especially someone who could relate to them like myself, a young, Black woman.

We had three Zoom rooms filled with students from University of Illinois-Chicago College Prep and Taylor Center Baptist Academy in Detroit. The session was titled, “Assertiveness for Women” and I was impressed by how confident, inspired and well-prepared the students were with their questions.

How can people of color, especially women, learn to talk and advocate for themselves?

What have you done to uplift other women of color?

The students’ questions were well thought-out and detailed – to the point where a couple of them might’ve seemed invasive, but they weren’t to me. I was impressed by their courage. How else are kids supposed to find out what an average corporate salary looks like, for example?

It was insightful to have a panel of mentors with a broad range of perspectives and experiences talk about their careers at Kellogg – including white allies. Hearing from allies about what they can do to support women of color in the workplace is a conversation that we should all have more often. We need allies to help amplify the successes and experiences of the underrepresented.

At one point in the session, a student asked how women of color can best be supported in the workplace. The two other Black women panelists and I stood still and waited for our Kellogg allies to answer that question first. Often when there is an act of discrimination, the burden is put on the marginalized group to explain, respond, and fix. Fortunately, the allies in this session spoke up on how to support their counterparts of color.

Instead of always asking someone like me about what happened in the news or how they can support minority groups, they should do their research externally to understand the best way to be actionable allies. I think the students were really engaged by hearing that.

We also talked about the impact that our Kellogg’s™ Better Days Promise Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) strategy has on our business by advocating for equity, diversity and inclusion in our workplace, workforce, the marketplace and the communities in which we operate.

Kellogg’s company vision is to create better days and a place at the table for everyone. With help from The Diversity Org, this session helped to extend our vision to the next generation of leaders.

I would do a session like this again in a heartbeat. Hearing from these students was an eye-opening experience.

That’s why I encourage my colleagues to find ways to get involved with initiatives like The Diversity Org. It’s so important that we listen to what young people are talking about – and show them that there is, indeed, a path to a fulfilling future.

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