Internships are a great way to create diversity in the workplace—just ask Brandon Thompson, NASCAR’s VP of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I). He’s an HBCU grad who started at NASCAR as an intern, then rose through the ranks to become an executive officer of the company. He’ll be the keynote speaker at this year’s Magic City HBCU Breakfast, which is all about creating a diverse talent pipeline in our city. Get your ticket now.
1. It’s the perfect way to kick off the biggest HBCU football weekend in the country
ICYMI, the last weekend in October is a huge deal in Birmingham. That’s when rivals Alabama A&M and Alabama State come together for the largest historically black college and university (HBCU) football game in the country.
For years now, the Birmingham Business Alliance (BBA) has hosted an annual kickoff breakfast before the weekend to bring HBCU grads and Birmingham’s business community together.
- What: Magic City HBCU Breakfast
- Who: local businesses + representatives from six HBCUs:
- Why: to bring top diverse talent and local businesses together
- Where: The Harbert Center, 2019 4th Ave N, Birmingham, AL 35203
- When: Thursday, October 27 | 7:30-10AM
- Get tickets: BBA investor $55 | General admission $75
- Buy a table: sponsorship opportunities are still available for local businesses.
2. You’ll hear Brandon Thompson, NASCAR’s first-ever VP of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
While Brandon Thompson may not be as much of a household name as NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace, his work plays an essential role in making NASCAR more inclusive.
The 17-year motorsports industry veteran is a graduate of Clark University Atlanta, and he’ll speak about the importance of giving HBCU students and alumni the opportunity to gain real world experience. He knows firsthand what a powerful tool internships are to create diversity in the workplace—in 2003, he became an intern at the Nashville Superspeedway through NASCAR’s Diversity Internship Program.
Under Thompson’s leadership, NASCAR is doing the following in terms of DE&I:
- Expanding the sanctioning body’s current D&I platform to position the sport to attract top diverse talent—on and off the track.
- Running programs such as the NASCAR Drive for Diversity Program which develops multicultural and female drivers and pit crew members, the Diversity Internship Program + Supplier Diversity.
- Developing strategic alliances with the Institute for Sport and Social Justice, Diversity & Inclusion Sports Consortium and others.
You just know he’s going to have some great stories to tell.
3. It’s an opportunity to build a strong talent pipeline between businesses + HBCUs
Nan Baldwin is the Birmingham Business Alliance’s Chamber President. A graduate of Parker High School and the University of Alabama, she’s passionate about opening doors for young people while building local businesses. Here’s why she’s excited about the Magic City HBCU Breakfast:
“For years, the Chamber has been synonymous with hosting a Magic City Scholarship Breakfast. We’ve changed the name to Magic City HBCU Breakfast to reflect our desire to build a long-lasting pipeline to bridge businesses with local HBCUs.
As companies begin to create DE&I strategies, many don’t yet have a sound mechanism to go after diversity—they don’t have have strong relationships with organizations or schools with diverse candidates. There seems to be a gap between encouraging students to get internships and the relationships that make that possible.
The breakfast will be a celebration. Then, companies that sponsor or buy a table will become part of an ongoing program that provides HR managers with the opportunity to meet regularly with representatives from the six participating HBCUs.
We see this as a win-win for this community—connecting businesses and schools while creating jobs for HBCU grads in our state to live, work and change the culture here.”
The Magic City HBCU Breakfast is October 27—you don’t want to miss it. Get your ticket today.