Since 2019, Black Excellence KC (BXKC) has provided Black professionals in Kansas City with career development workshops, networking events and access to resources designed to help them succeed in their industry.
“That came from my own path,” said Craig Moore II, founder of BXKC, who has experience working in a number of industries. He is currently director at KC’s Venture for America, an organization that connects recent college graduates with jobs in startups and early-stage companies.
“I understand the importance of knowing exactly what you want to do. We’re focused on trying to provide opportunities for Black professionals to not only have a job, but feel fulfilled in their jobs and have a sense of community,” he said.
Moore said he wants BXKC to be that sense of community, while giving Black professionals the opportunities and resources they need. So far, BXKC has more than 300 members who will all soon have access to the organization’s newest tool.
In May, BXKC will launch a new website that provides members access to a professional network, similar to a Black LinkedIn. The new website will have job postings and a resource page available to all BXKC members. Individuals who sign up for the free membership will receive discounts to BXKC events.
BXKC will also launch a premium membership, which includes a career trajectory plan. This plan includes one-on-ones with Moore or another career adviser who help the member figure out where they are in their career and where they would like to go.
Premium members also have access to iHRU, a local business that looks and applies for jobs for the member helps them develop their resume and can help prepare them for job interviews. The premium membership is $300 each year.
Anyone can join BXKC, including those in civic leadership and entrepreneurs – not just those in corporate settings.
“Our biggest goal is to give Black professionals the leg up that they need,” Moore said. “If we want the Black dollar to circulate, we have to be able to afford it and have the jobs to afford it.”
He says Kansas City has the bones to be one of top cities in the nation for Black professionals. Currently, Kansas City sits at number 45 out of 80 on the list released recently by Apartments.com, while cities like Washington, D.C.; Atlanta, GA; San Antonio, TX; Houston, TX; and Dallas, TX rank at the top.
BXKC is working hard to create a community and safe space for Black professionals.
During the past year, the group hosted a number of panel discussions for members on topics like diversity, equity and inclusion, women in civic leadership and Black economics and finance. During those discussions, leaders discuss how to overcome any barriers members may face, and provide information and resources to support them.
At BXKC events, members have fun. They call it “partying with a purpose.”
At their quarterly Millionaire Mindset Brunch, members enjoyed food, drinks, networking, games and listened to a financial planning presentation by a millionaire. Members learned about saving and investing and were able to receive real advice from a successful Black professional.
“At mixers, we provide resources and helpful information, but there’s also a DJ and music because that’s our culture,” Moore said. “You can be your authentic self and you don’t have to code switch. You be who you are, because these are your people.”
Every first Monday is BXKC’s general body mixer where members can learn about job and volunteer opportunities, upcoming events, new resources and network with other members and community partners.
The next mixer is April 4 at Equal Minded Café, 4327 Troost Ave. The event is $5 for members and $10 for nonmembers. Sign up to be a member at: https://bit.ly/3KqTVHo.
Jazzlyn Johnson is a Report for America corps member based at The Community Voice covering Kansas City’s African-American community.