Empowering the Next Generation: Trailblazing Alumni launch the ‘Black Woman Paving Ways’ Mentorship Program with the College of Business

When Joyce Agbanobi graduated with a master's degree in Business Analytics in 2019, little did she know her future business co-founder, Lola Yemidale, had also graduated with the same degree from the Texas A&M University-Commerce College of Business (COB) as well a year prior.

Only after another College of Business student connected the two did the alumni know they were destined to meet and achieve greatness. Each having successfully charted a career in the tech industry, the two joined forces to co-found the Black Woman Paving Ways (BWPW) platform dedicated to bridging the gender gap for women of color and underrepresented individuals in technology.

One of their key initiatives is the peer-to-peer mentorship program, which aims at empowering the next generation of underrepresented individuals with the knowledge and tools to thrive in tech careers.

Designed to assist students seeking to land their dream jobs, particularly with larger tech giants, the BWPW Mentorship Program offers a comprehensive curriculum and personalized guidance. Through a series of engaging in interactive sessions, discussions and hands-on mock interviews, participants gain practical experience and learn effective strategies to excel in technical interviews, revamp their resumes, optimize their LinkedIn profiles for networking and job opportunities, master job application techniques, negotiate compensation packages confidently, and receive guidance on mental preparation and effective navigation of the job market and corporate America.

Agbanobi and Yemidale decided to launch the program in collaboration with their alma mater, recognizing the growth and opportunities it provided them. After reviewing the candidate pool, they chose 20 COB students to participate in the peer-to-peer mentorship program. Those students are then partnered with industry experts and recruiters for a 5–7-week immersive experience, starting in mid-June 2023.

“Through the BWPW Mentorship Program, we aim to bridge the gap in technology and business by providing underrepresented individuals with equal mentorship opportunities, valuable insights, and industry knowledge,” Yemidale said. “Mentorship has the power to empower individuals to reach their full potential.”

The vision of the two alumni for the BWPW mentorship program aligns with the strategic vision of the College of Business. With the mission to inspire transformational learning, create applied knowledge and forge impact connections, the college aims to increase student preparedness, elevate research and foster an inclusive environment. The college and the mentorship program recognize the importance of diversity, inclusivity, and creating a supportive environment whilst providing students with opportunities to grow through innovative platforms.

(Pictured above from left, Joyce Agbanobi and Lola Yemidale)