Kering and Black in Corporate Partner for New Mentorship Program


bic x kering

Courtesy of Christopher Tomas Smith.

Last summer during what can be described as a period of racial awakening, there was an influx of Black professionals shining light on the happenings at some of the industry’s biggest companies. The stories highlight that traditional office culture wasn’t made with Black employees in mind. In order to help bridge the gap, social media consultant and Parsons professor Candace Marie Stewart created Black in Corporate (BIC) to champion for change where it’s needed most. Now, on the cusp of the initiative’s first anniversary, BIC has announced a new partnership with Kering, complete with a virtual mentoring program.

The luxury conglomerate, known for housing names like Gucci, Bottega Veneta, Saint Laurent, and more, has teamed up with BIC to create a monthlong mentorship program in which applicants are partnered with employees from Kering brands in a variety of different departments. From human resources and operations to marketing and finance, there are many areas for professionals to explore that go beyond the traditional creative route one tends to associate with the fashion industry.

“Entrepreneurship is not for everyone,” Stewart explains to BAZAAR.com. “Corporate is not for everyone. What I do believe is that Black individuals should be able to choose which space they want to be in. Most times we don’t even have the option.”

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For those looking to take advantage of the tools and resources the program has to offer, mentee applications are currently open on the brand’s website and will close on July 2. In addition to getting an opportunity to learn from people working at leading companies in the industry, Stewart is especially interested in helping to bridge the opportunity gap—a lot of which, she states, comes from who you know.

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“My hope for this partnership is to link other Black professionals with Kering executives in order for them to build a strong relationship that can help steer their career path in a fruitful direction,” the BIC founder says about the initiative’s bottom line. “While brief, it only takes a moment to make a lasting difference in an individual’s life. I speak from experience. My last corporate role came about because someone spoke on my behalf in a room that I was not in. The professional relationship was brief, but the impact was life changing.”

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