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Chronus Announces 2021 Recipient of Mentoring for Racial Equity Grant

Bellevue, WAChronus, the leader in mentoring software, announced today Big Sister Little Sister as the 2021 recipient of its annual Mentoring for Racial Equity grant. Big Sister Little Sister (BSLS) is a non-profit organization that aims to inspire women and girls of color to remain empowered, excel academically and aspire to be fearless. The organization will receive a three-year pro bono contract for Chronus mentoring software and services to support their mentoring program. In addition, they will receive a one-time cash grant in the amount of $7,500 in order to assist in the facilitation of the mentoring program.

Founded in 2008 by Aneisha Hughes, BSLS is working to mentor women and girls of color and become a staple in communities, campuses and workplaces nationally. The organization works to ensure every woman that enters the program is supported and guided to further develop to meet five prevailing goals:

  1. Reduce college attrition rates for women and girls globally 
  2. Instill necessary skills to dominate their field of choice and beyond
  3. Grow lifetime leaders
  4. Cultivate and nurture a sisterhood across differing cultural identities
  5. Improve society to create a healthy environment in every aspect (socially, emotionally, creatively, academically, mentally, physically, financially and environmentally)


“Big Sister Little Sister Mentoring Program has been growing steadily since I founded the organization in 2008 at Florida A & M University (FAMU),” said Aneisha Hughes, founder and CEO of BSLS. “We aim to consistently impact young women and girls of color by ensuring their individual potential is reached as lifetime leaders with access to quality resources, mentors and programs that prepare our members for success. Chronus is the missing piece to taking BSLS’ professional mentorship infrastructure to new heights.” 

BSLS event for girls and women

This year’s grant program received over 150 applications from organizations striving to advance individuals or businesses within the Black, Indigenous and/or other communities of color (BIPOC), or educate individuals on racial equity, racial justice or issues impacting those communities. 

“In seeing three times the amount of applications come in this year compared to last, we’re reminded at Chronus of the vast need for mentoring, especially as it relates to providing opportunities, connections and knowledge for underrepresented communities,” said Lydia Frank, Vice President of Marketing at Chronus. “We’re honored to be able to partner with another non-profit this year to create sustainable and impactful mentoring for BIPOC individuals. Chronus is constantly striving to combine best practices and technology to serve greater improvements in building inclusive cultures and a more equitable world now and in the future.”

Each application was reviewed by three different selection committee members and evaluated on the following items:

  • Impact (Weight: 60%) – the potential positive impact on racial equity and/or justice for the Black community, Indigenous community and/or other communities of color that the organization could have by either newly utilizing a mentoring program in its efforts or leveraging the Chronus platform to scale its existing mentoring efforts.
  • Infrastructure (Weight: 30%) – ability of the organization to meet its stated goals, based on the strength, background and commitment of the team, as well as the viability of the plan for how they will utilize mentoring to impact racial equity and/or justice.
  • Timing (Weight: 10%) – the ability for the organization to integrate Chronus in their existing mentoring program or launch a new mentoring program in a timely manner.

BSLS board

The selection committee was made up of a diverse group of internal Chronus employees across a variety of functions, Chronus customers and business leaders committed to the pursuit of diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging.

The external selection committee included the following members:

  • Alicia Crank, Chief Development Officer, AtWork!
  • Amelia Ransom, VP Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Smartsheet
  • Betti Fujikado, Co-Founder, First Gen Cohorts
  • Katie Bardaro, SVP, Customer Experience, Syndio
  • Laura Clise, Founder and CEO, Intentionalist
  • Laura Espriu, Talent Development and DEI, Twitter
  • Louis Desforges, Assistant Vice President, Diversity and Inclusion, L’Oreal
  • Macaire Pace, West Market CEO, Mercer
  • Mariluz Blandon, Sr. Culture, Diversity and Belonging Business Partner, Autodesk
  • Susan Long-Walsh, Race and Equity Coach
  • Tre Ely, Director, Learning and Development, Netflix
  • Venus Rekow, Chief Behavioral Strategist, Neural Shifts


“In the girls of BSLS, I saw myself — a young Black girl, gifted but directionless after the death of my mother — and I was reminded of how many women stood in the gap for me, taking time, imparting wisdom and sharing practical advice to shepherd me to my own purpose,” said Amelia Ransom, VP of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Smartsheet and a member of the selection committee. “This is the mission of BSLS, and I know supporting them as they scale will allow them to help even more young girls realize their full potential.”

big sister little sister members

The selection committee found it challenging to narrow down this year’s extensive list of qualified applicants, but in the end found the propensity for impact to be the biggest decision factor. 

“The catalyst for change begins at the intersection of intent and meaningful impact,” said Louis Desforges, Assistant Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion at L’Oreal and a member of the selection committee. “The Big Sister Little Sister Mentoring Program’s commitment to making a positive and lasting impact on school campuses, in communities, and in the lives of women and youth will create the future leaders that will one day influence our society in a powerful and sustainable way.” 


About Chronus
Chronus empowers the world’s top employers to shape the future-ready workforce, delivering mentoring software that unleashes the full potential of their people. Powering thousands of programs for millions of people, Chronus has been the market maker and innovator in mentoring software since the company was founded in 2007. The most innovative organizations in the world, such as Amazon, Edward Lifesciences, Electronic Arts, McGraw Hill and Mercedes Benz rely on Chronus every day to power their inclusive and future-ready mentoring programs.

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