The Networkin’ Hour: Forbes Under 30 Summit
Photo: Bree Gant

After a day of sessions at Detroit’s historic Masonic Temple last week, Forbes Under 30 Summit attendees headed to The Block Detroit, the neighborhood’s Black-owned restaurant just a few minutes away. There, young Black people from across the country danced to the sounds of Frankie Beverly and Maze, the City Girls and more, compliments of DJ Sky Jetta—to the delight of ESSENCE Assistant Fashion Features Editor Nandi Howard.

Forbes had invited Howard to cover the Under 30 Summit, but she also wanted to utilize her platform to meet young creators who are changing the culture and landscape of their cities. So she hosted a Networkin’ Hour in collaboration with the founder of Kindred Media & Entertainment, Leah Hill and For(bes) The Culture/Culture Makers cofounders Vinasia Miles and Rashaad Lambert.

Nandi Howard and Leah Hill
Photo: Bree Gant

“Forbes Under 30 was so Black and I loved it,” Howard said. “Forbes is representative of who’s leading the industry, and that’s Black creatives. Forbes knows exactly what to do and who to book to bring out the crowd—that’s why For(bes) the Culture hosted panels during the summit, they know we shape the culture.”

“I want people to see that there are people that look like them, that support them, and want to see them grow in their careers.” —Vinasia Miles, Cofounder of (For)bes the Culture/Culture Makers

(For)bes the Culture founders realized there was a lack of representation when first attending the Forbes 30 Under 30 Summit in 2017, and they felt it was necessary to make sure there was a space for people of color moving forward.

This year the organization curated panels on topics such as being the “only one” in your industry, building generational wealth, bringing up diversity without burning down the house, and managing mental health in the workplace as part of official Under 30 Summit programming.

Photo: Bree Gant

When asked about the goal of the programming and cohosting Networkin’ Hour, Miles said, “I want people to see that there are people that look like them, that support them, and want to see them grow in their careers.” Those same remarks mirrored that of Networkin’ Hour attendees like Chinny Francis from Nigeria, who expressed that she hadn’t planned to attend any Forbes after parties but came to Networkin’ Hour to be around people that looked like her.

Photo: Bree Gant

Creating spaces for young people is not an unfamiliar concept for Leah Hill. The Detroiter regularly hosts events to uplift and support young creatives and entrepreneurs in the city.

“Detroit is my hometown and historically we have been culturally relevant,” she said. “I want people internationally to know that we are still culturally relevant today, that’s the mission of Kindred Media & Entertainment.”

The Lip Bar
Photo: Bree Gant

Attendees enjoyed more than curated music, craft cocktails and dancing. With a pop-up from local candle company 12th & Viv and giveaways from The Lip Bar, Mielle Organics, Rucker Roots and Boxed Water, guests didn’t leave empty-handed. It was a true celebration of young Black professionals and entrepreneurship.

Networkin’ Hour was the perfect way to wrap up the Under 30 Summit and connect with other attendees in an authentic way. Howard hopes to have the event in Detroit next year during the Under 30 Summit and to take the event to other cities across the country.

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