Why Mimconnect Provides Mental Health Resources to Black and Brown Employees
Today more than ever, many blacks and POCs are grappling with their mental health due to the trauma of racial injustices associated with a deadly pandemic and economic instability. 2020 was also the year of accounts for Black and POC employees. With the impact of COVID-19 and the conversations surrounding police brutality and systemic racism coming to a head, black employees are consumed by a plethora of emotions like anxiety, anger, frustration and sadness, all of them. trying to accomplish their daily tasks.
With more employees open to their experiences, brands are finally being held accountable for their lack of diversity and inclusion within their companies. Resources to help them when they ask, “What can we do to help? Are critical. Although recent initiatives, such as the Pull or close it challenge and VSCO, #BlackJoyMatters campaign was widely accepted and appreciated, many black and POC employees are still suffering at work due to the national unrest. Unfortunately, not all businesses have the right resources for them.
Mimconnect, a digital community, is dedicated to helping their Black and POC members build their professional network, find employment opportunities, network with other industry professionals through personal events as well as access career resources and masterclasses. to relieve the anxiety and stress that many black and POC professionals experience in the workplace. Their BREATHE Sessions are personalized programs designed to create a safe space to address the concerns of Black employees. Designed to create a secure and anonymized space to address employee concerns, private sessions are offered to Black employees, allies and hands-free. After the event, they gather information that has been used to help leadership assess immediate next steps and opportunities for long-term advancement.
Netta Dobbins, CEO of Mimconnect, evolved the platform in 2016 from a panel discussion titled “Minorities in Media” to a popular and engaged digital community and trusted resource center for multicultural professionals. With the help of his team, Dobbins recently launched its Directory of black talents with the intention of recruiting black talent into the media industries, which are grossly under-represented. In addition to diversifying the current media landscape, she is also passionate about understanding the critical need for mental health resources and helping Black and POC professionals deal with grief and the escalating emotions during this time.
In honor of BIPOC Mental Health Awareness Month, I sat down with Dobbins to talk about the importance of mental health resources for employees of color and how she works to bring them to companies looking to support their employees through Mimconnect.
Dominique Fluker: Share your professional journey. What led you on the path to entrepreneurship?
Netta Dobbins: After working in marketing and public relations for a few years and continuing to find myself the only black person at the table in various corporate contexts, I decided to create an antidote to this isolation at work. I’ve always been a natural community builder, so I co-founded Mimconnect and developed it into the most engaged digital community and trusted resource center for multicultural professionals. Mimconnect is an external support network that enables people from marginalized communities to get to work fully. I fell on the path of entrepreneurship thanks to my passion for the development of my community and the creation of a space where multicultural professionals can feel seen.
Fluker: Mimconnect is a digital community helping Black and POC build their professional network, find employment opportunities, network with other industry professionals through personal events as well as access career resources and masterclasses. What inspired you to create this platform?
Dobbins: After realizing that my experience in the workplace was not unique and that many other people around me also felt isolated, I wanted to create a space for them to have the opportunity to build their network with other professionals who understood the nuances of workplace navigation. as a person of color. Knowing that we are starting to see the decline in representation of Blacks and POCs in the workforce around this mid to upper level, and that there are so many resources here to help diverse audiences secure internships and entry-level positions, I wanted to place a focus on that subset of the community to give them access to the skills to really take it to the next level and create more economic opportunities for them.
Fluker: What is the mission behind Mimconnect? What services and programs do you offer to black and POC millennial professionals?
Dobbins: Our mission is to create more economic opportunities for previously marginalized groups by providing them with the community, training and workshops, as well as the access they need to thrive in the labor market. On the community side, we offer the programming below.
In response to George Floyd’s murder and conversations about systemic racism, we launched the Directory of black talents. What we saw was that many companies were publishing statements about the importance of black lives, but did not have black talent in-house. The Black Talent Directory serves as a resource for companies to find, hire, and connect with Black talent who are actively and passively seeking new opportunities. Black talent can add their name to the growing list and companies can purchase a license to access the directory.
Additionally, we’re launching a new digital series this fall called, #Jobseekers. We understand that COVID-19 has kept people out of the office, so it can be difficult for potential new hires to truly understand the culture of the company and the environment they enter. #JobSeekers is a series of weekly events where we invite Diversity & Inclusion Leaders, Human Resources & Talent Managers, Hiring Managers and Recruiters to our community to provide insight into their company, diversity initiatives, the recruitment process, etc. It is also an open AMA allowing participants to get answers to even more specific questions.
Finally, we always promote the opportunities of our partners within our community, in our newsletter and on our job board.
Fluker: July happens to be BIPOC Mental Health Month, and Mimconnect offers programming to help black and POC professionals deal with the grief and emotions that are exacerbated during the current national unrest. Talk about the importance of BREATHE sessions.
Dobbins: This year was the year of accounts for the employees of Blac and POC. With more and more employees talking openly about their experiences, brands are finally being held accountable for their lack of diversity and inclusion or their inability to address the issues and traumas these employees face time and time again. .
Throughout the month of July, in partnership with Bright companies, Kokoro, and Fathers for Peace, we launched BREATHE, a digital grieving session to help professionals of color navigate their emotions surrounding police brutality, systemic racism, and more. These were intimate sessions that provided safe space and actionable tactics to overcome the emotions everyone was feeling.
We will continue to run BREATHE sessions every week for our communities throughout August.
Fluker: Mimconnect’s BREATHE sessions are personalized programming designed to create a safe space to address the concerns of black employees. Share the process behind the creation of these specialized sessions.
Dobbins: Designed to create a secure and anonymized space to address employee concerns, private sessions are offered to black employees, POCs, allies and everyone else. After the event, we collect the information that was used to help leaders assess immediate next steps and opportunities for long-term advancement. In order to be able to address a variety of different audiences and to bring in qualified professionals with a variety of skills to lead these conversations, we have designed this event in partnership with Bright companies, Kokoro, and Fathers for Peace. All of our communities were facing the same issues and we wanted to create a space to deal with the grief and emotions that are exacerbated by the current climate.
Fluker: How do you plan to evolve Mimconnect over the next 3-5 years?
Dobbins: Mimconnect will be the premier online destination for color professionals to access career-related matters and take digital courses to develop their skills. By understanding the nuances BIPOC faces in the workforce, we will be able to combine culture and professionalism to create programming and content that is not only informative but entertaining for our target audiences.
For businesses, we’ll set the standard by creating inclusive work environments and processes that increase retention while developing in-house talent. Mimconnect aims to be the one stop shop for all D&I needs and a true partner for the companies we integrate.
Fluker: Share your best tip for the millennial POC interested in entrepreneurship.
Dobbins: Entrepreneurship is not about doing things right. It’s about listening to your audience, iterating, and being persistent. One quote I have experienced is that “passion breeds persistence”. Entrepreneurship is not easy at all, but when you are passionate about your why and what you aim for, it may be enough to get you out of bed every day and continually working through the dark times that entrepreneurship can bring.
If you have an idea, I encourage you to bring it to the world as soon as possible. It doesn’t have to be well marked or good looking. The first thing you do is do a customer research to see if it’s something that people even want. Hear what your audience tells you that they need and build around it. It may change the actual product you envisioned, but it shouldn’t change the purpose you have behind creating it.
All of this will save you a lot of time in the end.