“We cannot keep the awesomeness of Babson a secret,” declared Leticia Stallworth ’99, MBA’13, addressing a crowd of more than 200 at the 19th Black Affinity Conference. Organized by Babson’s Black Affinity Network and held Feb. 24-26 at the Boston and Wellesley campuses, the BAC promotes diversity and inclusion by fostering connections among Babson’s black alumni and positively impacting the experiences of current and future students. Stallworth, president of BAN, was one of several speakers—including President Kerry Healey and Sadie Burton-Goss, chief diversity and inclusion officer—who commented on the College’s efforts to create a welcoming environment for all members of the community.
The conference, with a theme of “Entrepreneuring While Black,” kicked off with networking and career-focused events followed by a welcome party at the Babson Boston campus. On Saturday, sessions addressed such topics as intellectual property; the challenges and rewards of managing side projects around the demands of a day job; the practice of mind mapping, which helps participants identify and work toward their dreams; and navigating the landscape of the media and entertainment industries as a person of color.
At a Saturday evening gala, keynote speaker Aaron Walton ’83, co-founder of full-service advertising agency Walton Isaacson, urged the crowd to “turn your dreams into a reality, instead of thinking your ideas are a dream.” A highlight of the conference was the presentation of the Black Affinity Achievement Award. This year, the honor went to Burton-Goss, who drives Babson’s mission to create and sustain a culture of inclusion, and Katrina Fludd ’08, MS’10, a diversity and inclusion specialist at Princeton University. A Sunday morning worship service was led by Cyril Guerra ’95. The weekend came to a close with a brunch in Trim.
The conference, with a record number of attendees, was deemed a tremendous success. Stallworth recalls the road that led to this point. “The Black Affinity Conference was the first affinity conference ever held at Babson,” she says. “So many people told me and my executive board that we weren’t going to be able to do it. And here, so many years later, it’s bigger and better than ever. I just couldn’t be more thrilled.”—Jane Dornbusch