This article was originally published on 02/11/2019

Mimconnect was founded on accident.

A GroupMe chat called “Minorities in Media” inadvertently led co-founders Netta Dobbins & Bianca Jeanty to launch the career resource platform empowering underrepresented media professionals. 

“I moved to New York and I didn’t really have a network,” said Dobbins, who relocated to pursue a career in public relations.

Dobbins started the Groupme to network and gain connections and within three weeks, the group had grown to roughly 300 people. The pair of founders knew they were on to something. 

“They were all talking about how they were isolated at work and how they couldn’t get their foot in the door at companies,” Dobbins said. “That sparked something bigger. Everybody was having these same experiences.”

Across the media industry, people of color are grossly underrepresented. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that only 10.7 percent of public relations professionals in 2018 were Black. Of the people employed in marketing and sales roles, only 6.7 percent were Black. Numbers for newsrooms aren’t much better. According to the Pew Research Center, 77 percent of jobs at news outlets in the country — reporters, editors, photographers, etc — are held by non-Hispanic whites. 

“Mimconnect is a breath of fresh air,” said Jeanty, the company’s chief marketing officer. “You have solace in the idea that there is a network of people that are rooting. You know you have a tribe ready to put you in a position to win.”

Mimconnect members can currently access the community through their Slack channel where they can connect with about 4,000 professionals and participate in digital events hosted in Slack featuring industry veterans who bestow their media prowess onto the community.

The platform also has a newsletter dedicated to promoting exclusive offline events with partners like Nike and a list of curated job openings.

The founders are slated to launch a new product this year aimed at bridging the gap between companies looking to diversify their talent pipeline and professionals. They plan to integrate features like job listings and career advice into a single hub.

“We’re creating that access point,” said Dobbins. “You can easily access people of color who can help you get your foot in the door.”

Since officially launching the platform in January 2017, Mimconnect has doubled its audience annually with engaged members across the country—all while both founders juggle full-time jobs.  

“We’re running Mimconnect on the side, but it’s actually full-time because this doesn’t stop,” said Dobbins, who works as a social strategist at a multicultural advertising agency and is also Mimconnect’s CEO. 

“Execution is key,” said Jeanty. “If you want to keep moving to the next level you can’t be scared. We make mistakes every day, we forgive each other and we move on because that’s the only way to keep going forward.”

Mimconnect has partnered with advertising agencies and public relations firms like Anomaly, Translation, and FleishmanHillard who leverage the platform’s unique audience to recruit and advertise events.

The founders have carefully crafted programming geared towards a group of professionals with a shared experience of navigating the corporate world. 

“The most important thing is community,” said Dobbins. “That’s what we started with. That’s the only way that we’re gonna be able to close this gap.”