Educational advancement, economic empowerment and community service: A spotlight on the National Black MBA Association
Learn how the largest network of Black professionals is making an impact in Washington, D.C., and across the U.S.
As part of our pledge to the Black community, Raymond James committed $1.5 million to support racial equality, financial literacy and empowerment, and volunteerism opportunities across the country. The firm selected organizations across 10 U.S. markets to receive funding from the pledge – among them, the Washington, D.C. Chapter of the National Black MBA Association® (NBMBAA).
The National Black MBA Association describes itself as the premier business organization serving Black professionals. The organization works toward the creation of educational, wealth-building and growth opportunities for those historically underrepresented throughout their careers as students, entrepreneurs and professionals.
“NBMBAA was hugely beneficial for both my personal and professional development,” says Raymond James Investment Executive and financial advisor Lanta Evans-Motte. “It became a way for me to give back while also connecting with fellow volunteers, mentors and coaches early on in my career. I’ve met so many people I’ve connected with on a deep level.”
Evans-Motte joined the organization shortly after earning her MBA degree. She’s held several offices since, including a five-year stint on the national board of directors.
“NBMBAA was created to support Black grad school students trying to break into corporate America and move up the ranks,” says Evans-Motte. “The organization was founded in the seventies, a time in which there were not many Black professionals in corporate America, and even fewer in management positions. Through its multiyear strategic partnership with ‘Destination MBA’ and its annual conference and job expo, the MBMBAA is widely credited with helping to change that trajectory.”
Today, the organization continues to play a critical role in connecting minority students across the U.S. with mentors, job opportunities and other professional resources.
“Our three main areas of focus are educational advancement, economic empowerment and community service,” says NBMBAA Washington, D.C. Chapter President Lemar White. “Beyond the work we do with our existing members, I am personally very passionate about encouraging Black students to pursue higher education, especially at historically Black colleges and universities across the nation.”
NBMBAA and Raymond James
The Raymond James-NMBAA partnership has primarily focused on expanding opportunities for the Washington, D.C Chapter student members – from providing scholarships to facilitating career enhancement opportunities.
“Because of Raymond James, we were able to begin offering scholarships for financially disadvantaged students to attend our national conference,” says White. “This has allowed many students to land jobs and internships at companies they may have never been exposed to otherwise.”
A diverse and inclusive talent pipeline is essential to the future of Raymond James and the maintenance of the firm’s most important values. With this in mind, Raymond James HR professionals are working with NBMBAA to network with members and identify hiring opportunities.
“I want Raymond James to be known as a place where diverse associates can bring their diverse perspectives and, over time, help the organization meet the needs of clients from diverse backgrounds,” says Raymond James Senior Advisor of Diversity Recruiting & Strategic Partnerships Amber Grace.
Grace is actively engaged with NBMBAA and its members, hosting coffee chats at organization conferences, speaking to MBA candidates at HBCUs and connecting job candidates with Raymond James hiring managers. She is also leading an expansion of the firm’s partnership with the organization beyond Washington, D.C. and into New York City, identifying top talent for career opportunities in fixed income, public finance, compliance and global wealth solutions.
“As a first generation college student, I’ve really enjoyed my conversations with these talented students, many of whom are also first generation,” Grace says. “NBMBAA is such a needed organization doing great work to champion academic achievement in the Black community.”
Associates have also had the chance to partner with NBMBAA on community service initiatives in support of D.C.-area nonprofits.
“In honor of Juneteenth, we partnered for a day of service in support of the Prince George’s County Family Justice Center,” says Senior Vice President, Wealth Management and Washington, D.C., complex manager Warren Wright. “We held a food drive for the center and later visited for an afternoon of education and a Cajun cooking class. It was a wonderful opportunity to come together and recognize such an important holiday through service and learning.”
The largest network of Black professionals
Although the business world has evolved since the time of the organization’s founding, Evans-Motte says NBMBAA’s mission is as relevant as ever.
“[One of the most rewarding aspects of my involvement is] connecting students with companies who will truly appreciate who they are as a person of color,” says Evans-Motte. “The connections and opportunities facilitated through NBMBAA are invaluable.”
Learn more about the National Black MBA Association at nbmbaa.org.
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