The St. Louis Business Diversity Fellows Experience — an initiative of Greater St. Louis, Inc. devoted to the growth and cultivation of multicultural business and civic leadership — held the graduation ceremony for its 17th cohort at the headquarters of Edward Jones, a dedicated program partner.

“Graduates of the Fellows Experience make an impact on St. Louis. They are the future business and civic leaders driving change across our metro and beyond,” said Valerie Patton, Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer for Greater St. Louis, Inc.

The Fellows Experience addresses the interests and challenges professionals of color face as they work to advance their careers. The year-long program enhances each Fellow’s leadership capacity through professional development, relationship building, and civic engagement.

Thursday’s graduation event was the 17th in the history of this groundbreaking program that has seen more than 1,100 future leaders participate.

“We know that 70% of Fellows are promoted within two years of participating in the program, and over a quarter of them are elected to boards or appointed to committees where they can put their leadership skills to work,” added Patton. “That’s making a real difference as we promote inclusive economic growth.”

The graduation ceremony featured remarks from business leaders, a panel discussion, and the awarding of certificates to the members of the graduating class of Fellows.