ColorComm is an organization for professionals of color in the communications space. Starting in 2011 as a luncheon for women of color, it has since then expanded into a membership organization, boasting chapters and events in seven cities, hosting an annual ColorComm Conference for women for the past four years, a Men Of Color In Communications community, and most recently, the C2 Next Generation Conference for Millennials which begins Thursday.
ColorComm founder, Lauren Wesley Wilson, is understandably quite busy with all the above, but took time to speak with Hello Beautiful about why she’s focusing on Millenials, the importance of helping men of color in the industry, and what’s next for the ColorComm organization.
In New York City at Bloomberg Headquarters on May 3rd and May 4th, ColorComm is hosting the C2 Next Gen Conference for millennials of color in communications. The conference will be addressing finances, teaching attendees how to build business partnerships and more. One of the panels will be on rockstar millennials. Arielle Patrick, a Senior VP at Edelman, who is 28 and a person of color. Wilson states, “We see white women rise above the ranks, all the time. It’s not shocking to see a 28, Senior Vice President, white woman, it’s not shocking. To be a person of color in this position, at 28, is shocking.” ColorComm was started, Wilson reveals, “because I didn’t see a person of color in leadership in this field.”
Gayle King is the keynote speaker for the two-day conference. Wilson says, “She’s a woman of color in media, leading a huge morning show via CBS. I think a lot of people know her based off what we see and what we hear, but what we are diving into is her view of the media, how she navigated her career, as someone who is inspiring to have it all, we’ll hear from her on a number of topics.”
This is the first year for the conference and came out of a response from their over 1500 members. Wilson reveals, “The feedback has been, most Millennials can’t get out to Hawaii and didn’t want to miss out on the ColorComm experience, but still wanted to learn in the ColorComm capacity.”
This is the 5th year of the ColorComm Conference and while it’s normally held in Miami, it will be held in Hawaii. Wilson tells Hello Beautiful, “We’re about diversity and exposure and many of our base has never been to Hawaii, it will be their first time. I’m looking forward to bringing something new to the organization.” Sophia Amoruso, Girlboss Founder, will be talking about transition. Journalist Soledad O’Brien will be the keynote speaker.
The organization is growing and this Spring will be expanding their chapter offerings to Houston and Miami. Wilson adds, “We’d certainly like to go international. There are similar challenges in London and Montreal and they could benefit from ColorComm.”
ColorComm is more than just conferences, it’s a community and a support network. Members even have access to a job board, but Wilson reveals it’s not a typical job board, “We put that member in touch with the hiring manager.” For people of color that are the only ones in their organization or company, Wilson advises, “Join organizations like ColorComm. In terms of growing, you are responsible for your own trajectory. You need to develop mentors and sponsors and they don’t need to look like you to advocate for you. I encourage people to find mentors that don’t look like them. All the advice that people give, it doesn’t matter if you don’t produce great work.”
The organization has expanded to help men of color in the industry with events that currently are taking place in both New York City and Washington, D.C. Wilson reveals, “The communications industry is 70% women,” the 30% men that are in the industry, when you think about men of color, the number is quite small.
You can find out more about ColorComm Conference happening June 4th – June 7th, here.
Find out more about the organization on their website, here.