• Networking Opportunities: MAP and BL²END

Grand Rapids is home to an increasing number of professionals of color. It is also home to two important networking groups whose aim is to help those professionals make connections and expand business opportunities.

The Multiracial Association of Professionals (“MAP”) is sponsored by the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce to create a strong network of professionals of all races in West Michigan and assist organizations to welcome, retain and connect professionals of color and their family. MAP strives to make West Michigan a place where racial diversity is seen across all levels of the community.  

MAP offers welcome lunches and a two-hour personal tour of Grand Rapids for professionals of color who are moving into the West Michigan community. In addition, MAP monthly networking events (MAP in the Morning and MAP in the evening) where professionals of all races get together to become better acquainted. More information about the organization and a membership application are available on MAP’s website. Members of MAP at Warner Norcross include, Steve Waterbury, Sue Conway, Chuck Burpee, Rodney Martin and LaMont Walker.

BL²END (Business Leaders Linked to Encourage New Directions) is an organization established in Grand Rapids in 2006 to increase the engagement of young professionals of color and to retain them in the greater Grand Rapids community. BL²END is geared towards, but not limited to, professionals of color ages 22 to 35 located in the Greater Grand Rapids Area.

The group engages in three types of activities:

  • Social networking – opportunities to build networks and develop relationships with other young professionals.

  • Professional development – personal and professional growth through a variety of presentations and workshops.

  • Community outreach – opportunities to serve the community in various capacities.

For more information about BL²END email grblend@yahoo.com and visit their Myspace page.