Oct. 29--When it comes to business networking for the city's multicultural professional class, Boston is home to some of the best and most active groups in the country.
Local organizations host everything from social meet-ups to community giveback events to job-hunting and leadership training.
Networking is a good way for professionals from the city's various minority groups to meet people, swap information and keep in the loop for advancing their careers.
The Boston chapter of the Association of Latino Professionals in Finance and Accounting has some 2,300 members, the second-largest chapter in the country, and is set to celebrate its 40th anniversary with a leadership summit on Nov. 15. ALPFA sponsors a large array of monthly events and hosts annual summits on executive leadership, and for Latina women and students. Thirty percent of its Boston members are students, many belonging to six chartered campus chapters.
"We're a group of very talented people who happen to be diverse," said ALPFA Executive Director Radhames Nova.
ALPFA began as a networking group for finance professionals, but has expanded into health care and law and with a veterans initiative. Nova says 20 percent of Hub chapter members are non-Latino, and anyone can join for the $120 annual membership fee, or $20-$30 annually for students.
"We don't ask companies what they can do for us, we ask them what we can do to present job candidates that will add value to them," said Nova, whose organization has 45 corporate partners, including State Street Corp., TJX, John Hancock and Liberty Mutual. "We develop trustworthy relationships with our corporate partners so we can introduce them to the best-qualified members of our organization."
Nova immigrated from the Dominican Republic to Lawrence when he was 13. He joined the Boy's and Girl's Club, to which he returned after college to be its first fundraising director. He earned a master's degree in business and began a career in the investments business, where fellow ALPFA members got him a start. He was offered the executive director post a year ago.
"Coming from where I did, without privilege, I understand how difficult it is to cultivate relationships that could get you into one of the big companies," Nova said.
The 400-member Boston chapter of the National Association of Asian-American Professionals also uses its corporate sponsorships to help its members advance their careers.
"We have an exclusive listing of jobs from our corporate sponsors," said chapter president Ming Hui, an analyst in the Global Credit Research group at Putnam Investments, one of the group's gold sponsors, along with State Street, Liberty Mutual and Harvard Pilgrim. NAAAP has given away $130,000 in college scholarships to local Asian high school students over the past five years.
NAAAP also sponsors four events every month, including "industry dinners," where members can meet other professionals in their fields and make contacts for jobs. Several events are mock-interview and resume workshops with human resources professionals. NAAAP also has four quarterly conferences focusing on career advancement. And to be a member, it costs $35 a year ($25 for students).
Hui, who started as a NAAAP member and now leads the local chapter, said she and other members have developed leadership skills by taking on responsibilities for the group, which has no paid staff.
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