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One America - QUEST 21

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One America

Program: QUEST 21, Southfield, MI
Contact(s): Letty Hardy, President, Inclusions Systems Inc: (248) 827-2121
Purpose: To move corporate cultures toward inclusion by creating frameworks for powerful conversation between young professionals of color and senior management

When it is launched in November 1998, QUEST 21 will be the nation's first group-centered mentoring program for young black professionals. Managed by Inclusion Systems, Inc. (ISI), the sister company of the MENTTIUM Corporation, a leader in the design and implementation of mentoring systems, Quest 21 will be the only mentoring program to give multiethnic professionals concrete tools to success while motivating senior executives toward more inclusive behavior. (MENTTIUM 100, the first inter-company mentoring program for women leaders, currently operates in six cities and has been recognized by the U.S. Department of Labor as the model for mentoring systems nationwide and by the Society for Human Resources Management as America's mentoring authority.) In the year-long program, there will be monthly meetings comprised of six mentoring circles. Each circle will consist of 20 young, multiethnic professionals, two senior management mentors and a senior manager who serves as another mentor. Professionals being mentored have the opportunity to not only develop a network of peers within their business community but also the chance to exchange their concerns and strategies for success with senior managers. Mentors, who come from different companies than the mentees, will receive quarterly training sessions to guide them in the process of group facilitation and coaching, including the development of skills in listening, intercultural communication, conflict resolution, managing change and the awareness of passive bias, which can affect companies without the employees' realization. Through QUEST 21, senior managers will receive first-hand knowledge on the variety of issues involved in accepting diversity of cultures in the workplace. Although the program has not yet been implemented, ISI is on its way toward establishing a national public/private partnership to fund QUEST 21. Ford Motor Company partnered with QUEST 21 to become its national sponsor, and Comerica Bank, Inc., Deloitte and Touche, and Standard Products Company also stepped forward as launch sponsors. The flagship program of QUEST 21 begins in Detroit in November 1998. The first phase of national expansion will begin in Chicago and Dallas in 1999.

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