Valence Launches Mentoring Program for Black Corporate Leaders

Ben Bergman

Ben Bergman is the newsroom's senior finance reporter. Previously he was a senior business reporter and host at KPCC, a senior producer at Gimlet Media, a producer at NPR's Morning Edition, and produced two investigative documentaries for KCET. He has been a frequent on-air contributor to business coverage on NPR and Marketplace and has written for The New York Times and Columbia Journalism Review. Ben was a 2017-2018 Knight-Bagehot Fellow in Economic and Business Journalism at Columbia Business School. In his free time, he enjoys skiing, playing poker, and cheering on The Seattle Seahawks.

Valence Launches Mentoring Program for Black Corporate Leaders

Black professionals hold 12% of entry-level corporate jobs, but just 7% of management roles, according to McKinsey & Co. A major reason why is they often do not get enough mentoring and support and end up leaving the workforce before they advance.

Valence, a venture-backed platform to help Black professionals network and climb the corporate ladder, announced Thursday its latest effort to close the gap. Called BONDS, it is a membership-based community to provide mentoring from some of the top names in tech including Upfront Ventures Managing Partner Mark Suster, Y Combinator CEO Michael Siebel and Bonita Stewart, VP Global Partnerships at Google.


The program is accepting applications for the first cohort through the end of the month.

"It's no secret that Black professionals face unique challenges," Guy Primus, CEO of Valence, said in a statement. "Companies are slowly understanding that merely hiring Black talent is not enough; they must help cultivate their success. The professional development, mentorship, and community provided by BONDS creates an enduring ecosystem, with professional and organizational success as the output."

The yearly BONDS membership is open to rising senior managers, directors and other leaders with more than eight years of experience at large or enterprise companies. Senior executives at startups and small and mid-size companies as well as founders and investors are also invited to apply.

Inaugural partners include Santa Monica's Upfront Ventures as well as Accel, Electrolux, GGV Capital, Norwest Venture Partners, Providence Strategic Growth, Roblox, and Silicon Valley Bank.

Valence raised a $5.25 million Series A round last year led by GGV Capital and set a goal of attracting 100,000 members in a year.

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