Our kind of people: Muzzles loosen on the young, minority Milwaukee professional


By Nyerere Davidson, President/Co-founder

If you’re expecting an ode to Lawrence Otis Graham’s best-selling book then I must forewarn you that you will be highly disappointed. However, this is an opportunity to give voice to the unnoticed, the silenced.

Who am I talking about you ask? The young, college-educated, minority (black and Latino) professional of Milwaukee.

The often overlooked and commonly ignored demographic, isn’t new to the city by any means but is continually overshadowed by the city’s slow-moving, segregated infrastructure.

In a city where there are 12 Fortune 1000 companies in the Metro Milwaukee area,  according to the 2014 Fortune 1000 Companies List for 2014, Milwaukee could be a good career move for any young, urban (a more condensed way of saying minority) professional  (YUP). Though it may be a tough sell to get them to move to a city voted the No. 1 in Business Insider’s “The 25 Most Segregated Cities In America” List in 2003, however, once the sell is made, the true test is keeping the talent here.  It’s not rocket science to do so.

It can be accomplished through engaging young, minority professionals outside of their nine-to-five jobs. You have to remember, Millennials are  outgoing, creative, work-life balance centric individuals that require a lot (outside of their offices and cubicles) to keep their attention.

On the downside, due to the city’s lack of outlets geared toward such a niche group of professionals, often seen targeted toward our white counterparts, they hop on the first thing smoking to cities like Chicago, DC, Atlanta, Houston and New York – cities that are full of thriving, progressive young, diverse professionals.

Ridding the city of the “brain drain” for young, minority professional isn’t a new topic either. After a rather quick Google search, this has been an outstanding issue in Milwaukee dating back to 2001. In the Milwaukee Business Journal article titled, “Lack of diversity compounds ‘brain drain’,” it highlights the GMC Diversity Task Force’s efforts towards developing recommendations on the making Milwaukee ‘more hospitable’ to minority professionals.

Focusing on the lack of young, black professionals in Milwaukee, Milwaukee Business Journal’s 2004 article “Strategies to stem the black ‘brain drain’” mentioned that groups dedicated to promoting and recruiting minority professionals like The Leaders Forum and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s Institute for Diversity Education & Leadership (IDEAL) would lead to an improved social life for YUPs – it never happened.

Social X, a team dedicated to be social hub for young, diverse professionals to stay engaged in the city, is doing what the aforementioned couldn’t. Started in 2012, our team consists of exactly what is essential in ridding the young, minority professional brain drain – young, minority professionals, duh!

Not just any YUPs, but those consisting of Milwaukee natives and transplants with different educational (Historically Black College or University and Predominately White Institutions) and professional backgrounds. We realize it isn’t just in creating a social life, but working with corporations and other outside entities to create YUP awareness and initiatives designed to keep their young, minority talent afoot.


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