What We Do

The St. Louis Business Diversity Initiative has established a series of programs to help companies, minority employees, and vendors expand their business inclusivity: from skill-building, to monthly networking opportunities, to sharing the best practices. The Initiative is a conduit to connect minority employees with employers and minority suppliers with purchasers.

NOTE: This is a program for which a participant must be nominated.

Leadership Development

The Initiative’s leadership program is designed to address the interests and challenges of professionals of color as they work to develop and advance their careers. Participants in our program are from a diverse multicultural background. The program features a holistic approach that creates a safe and stimulating environment for participants to receive valuable feedback, self-reflect on the feedback, acquire effective leadership strategies and build relationships essential to their individual and collective growth. The leadership program for professionals of color is for mid- to senior-level professionals.


The Initiative’s Fellows Program establishes a framework to enhance leadership capacity. The program further refines leadership competencies through a strategic curriculum and sharing the best practices.

Professional Development: In a open yet safe environment, participants reflect on their goals, performance, operating styles, and how they adapt to varied workplace cultures.

Relationship Building: Program forums, social events, and conferences with the full range of Fellows program participants foster a supportive professional and personal network essential to the success of one’s long-term professional growth and development.

Civic Engagement: Through volunteer and civic activities, professionals hone their skills, expand their relationships, and deepen their connection with the broader community.


Program participants meet monthly for one year.

Program Content

The Initiative Fellows program approach includes:

  • Mastering an effective style of leadership
  • Maximizing performance and adapting to change
  • Developing talent
  • Fostering a productive team
  • Creating balance through career and life choices
  • Leveraging professional expertise and resources to enhance the broader St. Louis region

Candidate Profile

A potential Initiative Fellow is:

  • African American, Hispanic American, Native American or Asian American working at a St. Louis regional company
  • Mid-level manager, high level individual contributor,  or a professional such as an attorney, doctor (MD and/or PhD), CPA
  • Employed a minimum of 7 years
  • College graduate
  • Recipient of personal or professional achievement awards
  • Demonstrated leader within the company
  • Invested in the betterment of communities
  • Committed to full participation in the program

Sample Program Year

Please see here for a sample syllabus

Gateway Connections

A welcoming orientation to the St. Louis region for people of color

Gateway Connections has been developed for professionals and their spouses or guests who have recently relocated to the St. Louis region. The program is designed to assist these professionals in making a smooth, knowledgeable transition to living in the St. Louis region. A half-day session has been designed to give the participants an opportunity to meet key business and community leaders and receive an extensive overview of the area’s history, economy, infrastructures, culture, and leisure amenities. Participants also meet other professionals who relocated to the area. The program goals are:

  • Introduce people of color who recently relocated to the St. Louis region
  • Inform participants about the historical, political, demographic, and current issues of the region
  • Provide information about economic development in the St. Louis region
  • Encourage the participants to become involved in the community by participating in local activities, civic groups, and the cultural entertainment scene
  • Create a shared experience for the participants
  • Allow the participants to meet and network with other professionals of color