Valence was founded in January 2019 by Black entrepreneurs who wanted to help battle the racial wealth inequity by creating a space for Black industry rockstars to connect. They also wanted to make it easier for corporations to find and hire Black talent. In short, the founders Kobie Fuller, Emily Slade, and LaMer Walker wanted to build their own Wakanda online.
In November 2019, they launched their website and invited Black professionals in a variety of industries to apply. Since opening up for applications, they’ve seen their membership explode. Valence counts rockstars such as Arlan Hamilton of Backstage Capital, Boris Kodjoe, actor and entrepreneur, and Julia Collins, founder and CEO of Zume Pizza and Planet FWD among their members. It doesn’t stop there. In the community, you can find vice presidents from Google and PayPal, well-known actors and musicians, and a plethora of other talented Black professionals.
Taking Action Toward Socioeconomic Progress
Valence is now seizing the opportunity to help young Black professionals navigate the changing professional landscape created by COVID-19 and the current cultural uprising. Together with some of their most illustrious members, Valence has launched the Boost Challenge.
According to their website:
“The Boost Challenge will galvanize Black leaders across America to offer their expertise, insight and advice to ensure the racial wealth gap doesn’t explode due to the millions of college students and young Black professionals losing internship and job opportunities as a result of COVID-19.”
Their goal is to facilitate 5,000 boosts on the website by the end of August and so far, they’ve recruited some of their most high-profile members to offer one-on-one mentorship sessions free of charge.
Here’s what some of the participants have to say about the challenge:
“In my opinion, Valence is the community that is going to bridge all the Black creatives around the world that feel like there’s no community for them. It’s a platform that is doing everything that I’m speaking about: giving access to the people who don’t believe that they can be more than what they are – access to top creators and top business people to get the knowledge and information they need. If we all just get onboard and we support one another, it’s gonna blow up.”
– Derek Ali, Grammy Winning Mixing Engineer at Top Dawg Entertainment
“Valence can help me by continuing to provide access to educational resources, particularly around business and finance, and create forums for likeminded individuals to gather and form bonds.”
– Maiya Norton, Marketing at Netflix
How Do You Get in on the Action?
First, you have to be a member of Valence. You can apply for membership here. Once you’re accepted, you can then apply for mentorship sessions with the members offering Boosts. Spots are limited and vary between mentors, so be thoughtful when applying for Boosts. You can also offer Boosts! If you’re an experienced member of your industry and you’d like to offer some guidance to a rising star, you can also offer free one-on-one sessions to the community.