Valence Launches BONDS to Establish a New Ecosystem for Black Professional Development
Inaugural partners Accel, Electrolux, GGV Capital, Norwest Venture Partners, Providence Strategic Growth, Roblox, Silicon Valley Bank and Upfront Ventures sponsor their emerging Black executives to engage with exclusive resources and mentorship to position them for the C-suite
(Los Angeles, CA) May 6, 2021 – Valence – the leading platform connecting and empowering Black professionals – today launched BONDS, an innovative membership-based community focused on accelerating the success of emerging Black executives.
Corporate leaders, venture capital firms and private equity organizations are supporting Valence’s approach by sponsoring their rising Black employees to participate in the community. BONDS is continuing to accept applications for its initial cohort through May 31, 2021 at www.valence.community/bonds.
To commemorate the launch, BONDS is hosting an inaugural virtual gathering, “Black Success Built Together,” today, May 6, 2021 at 3:00 p.m. PT. Register for free at www.valence.events.
Addressing an Urgent Need to Foster Black Leadership in Corporate America
The lack of Black leadership in corporate America is an issue that requires attention and progress. While Black professionals account for 12% of entry-level corporate jobs, just shy of their 13.4% representation in the U.S. population, their numbers fall to 7% of management roles, according to McKinsey & Co. The drop off is a result of Black professionals who leave early-career jobs after they encounter a lack of professional and cultural support, and believe that there is little opportunity for them to advance.
“It’s no secret that Black professionals face unique challenges,” said Guy Primus, CEO of Valence. “Companies are slowly understanding that merely hiring Black talent is not enough; they must help cultivate their success. The professional development, mentorship, and community provided by BONDS creates an enduring ecosystem, with professional and organizational success as the output.”
“BONDS is an important step to how corporations can empower and retain great Black talent – helping them grow from emerging executives to senior leadership,” said James Lowry, the first Black consultant hired by McKinsey in 1968, and now a senior advisor at The Boston Consulting Group and advisor at Valence. “Companies today recognize that diverse leadership is critical to their success. BONDS provides a comprehensive roadmap and qualified mentorship network to support Black leaders in preparing for and taking the C-suite head-on.”
A Curated Learning Experience To Support the Emerging Black Executive’s Career
The annual BONDS membership is open to rising senior managers, directors and other leaders with 8+ years of experience at large/enterprise companies; CxO and senior executives at startups and small and mid-size companies; and founders, investors, technical and creative individuals pursuing executive or directional positions within their field.
Members will have opportunities to hone and develop their talents through executive coaching and a series of programs including live masterclasses with renowned content partners. The membership also includes a six-month on-demand curriculum, talent assessments, BONDS event series, and roundtable workshops to address current workplace challenges.
“We believe it is vital to provide career-driven professionals with the opportunity to join BONDS and advance their careers through our innovative community, programming and curriculum,” said Tracy Reneé Williams, Vice President of Learning and Development and Head of BONDS. “ BONDS creates a pathway for Black professionals to obtain quality mentorship, development, access and training that has been historically elusive at the executive level.”
Corporate Partners Sponsor Top Black Talent To Create Pathways to the C-Suite
BONDS has received broad cross-sector support from across the corporate and financial community. Inaugural corporate partners include Accel, Electrolux, GGV Capital, Norwest Venture Partners, Providence Strategic Growth, Roblox, Silicon Valley Bank and Upfront Ventures. These companies recognize BONDS as a unique opportunity to provide emerging Black talent with accelerated professional development and training, which can increase retention, optimize recruitment and increase workplace satisfaction.
“Partnering with a platform like BONDS allows us to bring a world class executive development program, mentorship infrastructure and peer network to many of the highly talented Black Professionals across the entire Accel portfolio,” said Richard Wong, Managing Partner at Accel Partners, which has backed industry-leading companies such as Crowdstrike, Facebook, Slack and UIPath. “We are excited to be one of their first VC sponsors and hope many others in our industry follow as we look to drive sustainable change.”
“Companies in all industries, including those in the innovation economy, are actively working to address the underrepresentation of Black executives in their boardroom and in the C-suite,” said Greg Becker, CEO of Silicon Valley Bank and a Valence investor. “We’re excited to partner with Valence to launch BONDS and provide the program’s executive coaching and contribute to the development and progress of our employees and clients. BONDS aims to dispel the narrative that it’s too difficult to find Black talent at the executive level by providing companies an opportunity to invest in Black professionals’ success, enhance their executive skill sets, and ultimately promote from within.”
“We’re so proud and honored to be part of the Valence movement and the BONDS community,” said Stephen Svajian, CEO of Anova, an Electrolux Company. “BONDS gives us the ability to say to our Black talent, ‘We’re going to invest in you.’ To me, that’s the ultimate form of inclusivity – we want you and will invest in you and your career. Valence BONDS gives us this opportunity.”
BONDS Beacons Serve as Guiding Light to Members’ Journeys to Success
The BONDS community is inclusive of the world’s leading and emerging executives, rising managers, directors and innovators. BONDS Beacons serve as inspiration to members.
Inaugural BONDS Beacons include Michael Siebel (CEO of Y Combinator), Beverly Bond (Founder of Black Girls Rock), Brad Gerstner (Founder and CEO of Altimeter Capital), David Krane (CEO and Managing Partner of GV), Bonita Stewart (VP Global Partnerships of Google), Charles King (CEO and Founder of MACRO), Mark Suster (Managing Partner of Upfront Ventures), Hans Tung (Managing Partner of GGV Capital), Robin Li (Principal of GGV Capital), among others.
"What it takes to achieve a level of high performance in the corporate setting is very similar to what it takes on the athletic field,” said Michael Johnson, the 13-time Olympic and World Championship gold medalist and a BONDS Beacon. “I am excited to share the mindset techniques that allowed me to be the fastest in the world with the entire BONDS community."
Join the BONDS Inaugural Virtual Gathering at 3 p.m. PT Today
At 3:00 p.m. PT today, May 6, 2021, BONDS will officially launch with an inaugural virtual gathering, “Black Success Built Together,” featuring industry leaders, community icons and corporate allies. Participants will share valuable insights, stories and personal experiences focused on the critical need for a dedicated community that amplifies Black leaders as our business and societal landscape evolves.
To sign up or for more information about BONDS and the larger Valence Community platform, visit www.valence.community/bonds.
Valence's mission is to create new paths to success for Black professionals. The Valence platform connects, showcases and empowers the Black professional community through professional development and career opportunities, with an eye toward a future where there are generations of Black professionals who are skilled in the art of business. Valence also partners with companies to help them recruit, retain and promote Black talent. Join by signing up at www.valence.community and follow along on Instagram at @ValenceCommunity.
Global Gateway Advisors
On behalf of Valence