Candace Marie Stewart is a verifiable street style star (if/when such a thing existed) and has an impressive following on social media—people who are there to take notes on her bold, stylized fashion choices. She’s also a social media consultant for Prada and formerly worked for Barneys New York. In other words, Stewart may have a knack for building a presence on the ’gram, but this is a multifaceted woman—and she’s not done yet. Back in June, Stewart founded Black in Corporate with a team of volunteers. A resource for Black individuals, the initiative helps those looking for relief, support, and guidance in their jobs. And now, the organization is launching the Black in Corporate Virtual Mentorship program. “We want to set up a highway for people who may not have access to certain things and certain people, because they most likely are, from a generational standpoint, behind in regard to wealth,” Stewart says, referring to the path to higher positions and greater opportunities within corporate America that networking offers. “I use the comparison of a highway and a dirt road, because, yes, each may get you to the exact same place, but with a highway, you’ll get there with more ease, and with less risk of being deterred.”Stewart tapped professionals from various industries including media, entertainment, fashion, art, tech, and more (most are director or VP level and above) to serve as mentors. Once mentors and mentees are assigned and introduced, the Black in Corporate team will assist each pair in scheduling two meetings by video conference each month for the duration of the three-month program, though both parties are encouraged to nurture the relationship outside of these sessions. Stewart says that the mentors will act as a support system, discussing adversities mentees may face within their corporate environments, and work with them to identify measurable career goals, as well as develop actionable plans to achieve them.
For Stewart, Black in Corporate was undoubtedly born from the momentum of the Black Lives Matter movement, but as a Black woman building a career in a white-dominated industry over the last 10 years at companies including Barneys, Vogue, and Refinery29, the initiative is equally a response to personal experience. “I would see colleagues be propelled forward and would almost feel like I was at a standstill,” Stewart says,…