INROADS Hosts Inaugural Benefit Gala, Celebrating Excellence in Leadership

More than 200 Leaders Attended to Celebrate Corporate Diversity and Social Impact

ST. LOUIS, MO, May 22, 2017 — Kayla Brooks, a business management major at Hampton University, was more than capable, but she couldn’t land a corporate internship.

“Maybe it was because I was too young. Maybe my resume wasn’t up to par. Maybe it’s because I’m a woman. Maybe it’s because I’m Black. They don’t give you an explanation when they send a notification that the job is filled,” said Brooks when speaking about her past career prospects.

Then came INROADS. “There are many students proficient in their subjects, despite what their resumes or interviews attest to. INROADS sees beyond the paper; it sees us for who we really are and what we’re capable of,” said Brooks.

Brooks recently shared her story at INROADS, Inc.’s Celebrating Excellence in Leadership inaugural fundraising awards gala. At this event, more than 200 corporate and community leaders assembled to celebrate INROADS’ success transforming lives with diversity and inclusion career opportunities.

Proceeds from the event held recently at the Hyatt Regency Washington will support INROADS leadership development and career preparation programs for talented, underserved youth – like Kayla.

“It was an amazing inaugural event and a magical evening,” said Forest Harper, President and CEO of INROADS, Inc. “We are deeply grateful to our sponsors and everyone who made donations; your support helps ensure that INROADS will continue transforming lives. I look forward to making this gala an annual event.”

Emceed by NBC Washington reporter, Meagan Fitzgerald, the black-tie gala, reception and dinner recognized corporations and individuals that honor, support and advance INROADS’ mission through exemplary leadership, advocacy, innovation and partnership. Sponsors included Lockheed Martin, United Technologies Corporation, JPMorgan, Volkswagen, PWC, Harris Corp., Husch Blackwell, Nucor, Burson-Marstellar and Xerox.

Awards and honorees included:

  • The Frank C. Carr Award for corporate partners who have exhibited a commitment to the diversity talent pipeline and supported the INROADS mission: Kaiser Permanente.
  • The INROADS Excellence in Leadership Award for significant contributions in building leaders for the 21st Century: General Colin L. Powell, USA (Ret.) & Mrs. Alma Powell, founding chair and chair, respectively, America’s Promise Alliance.
  • The INROADS Lifetime Achievement Award for individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions to advancing diversity: Tom Joyner, nationally syndicated radio host and philanthropist.
  • The INROADS Alumni of the Year Awards for INROADS Alumni whose professional success both exemplifies and honors the INROADS legacy: Andrew Au, Founder, Intercept Group; the Honorable Shera Grant, 10th Judicial Circuit Jefferson County, Ala.; and The Honorable Shanta Owens, 10th Judicial Circuit Jefferson County, Ala.

All proceeds raised at the event will benefit INROADS’ leadership and career development programs, including:

  • INROADS College Links, educational instruction, coaching, work skills, and college planning workshops for high school students and their parents.
  • INROADS CORE College Program, known as the Leadership Development Academy, which includes a paid internship and year-round development program; and access to INROADS national conference called Leadership Development Institute (LDI).
  • INROADS’ Alumni Services, providing professional counsel, support, and access to job boards and networking events to graduates of the CORE College Program.

Founded in 1970, INROADS develops and places talented underserved youth in business and industry, preparing them for corporate and community leadership that effects community renewal and social change and elevates economic status and quality of life. INROADS has placed students in over 135,000 paid internships throughout its history, and graduated over 28,000 alumni into fulltime professional and leadership positions with over 1,000 corporate partners. Currently, INROADS serves nearly 1,300 interns and 200 corporate clients. To learn more, visit INROADS.ORG/benefitgala.