On March 2, the Guelph Black Professionals (GBP) organization and the Lang Students’ Association (LSA) will host their inaugural networking and panel event, “Breaking Barriers, Creating Connections“, for students who identify as people from Black, Indigenous and People of Colour (BIPOC) communities.  

“Events like this can create a lot of encouragement. When you see people similar to yourself, achieving similar goals you think: ‘I can do this as well. I can learn from these individuals,’” said Tevon Pierre, a third-year chemistry and entrepreneurship student and president of the GBP business division.  

Students are encouraged to create connections with BIPOC business leaders – in fields such as entrepreneurship, higher education and corporate employment – to learn about available resources, garner advice specific to their career goals and learn tips on how to effectively network and find jobs.   

The event will also host a panel whose guest speakers will share accomplishments and obstacles to empower students to pursue business careers and provide a better understanding of the workplace. Moderated by Bankole Alade, who graduated from U of G with a bachelor’s in commerce, the panel will discuss finding employment; incorporating equity, diversity and inclusion into the workplace; and what can be done to create a more inclusive environment at U of G.  

Professionals to highlight their work

Participating panellists and networking professionals, who are mostly local U of G graduates, will also have a chance to showcase their business and the motivation behind their work.  

“Our goal is to inspire our students to achieve greatness in the business world,” said Alex Charette, a third-year commerce student and LSA director of events.  

Panellists and networking professionals include the following:  

  • Jide Atilola (real estate broker at RE/MAX, benefactor of Atilola Real Estate Scholarship in Business) 
  • Fy Virani (founder of Virani Law) 
  • Khalil Khamis (partner and CEO, Crafty Ramen) 
  • Clifton Flushy (national manager, Black Community Business Development)  
  • Shilik Hamad (vice-president, external, Central Student Association) 

The in-person event will take place at the Cutten Fields Golf Course, 6-9 p.m. COVID-19 guidelines and precautions will be in place. Registration and further details are available online.