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FunTimes Magazine

DiverseForce is UPPN’s Latest Brainchild

By Layla Jones

The Urban Philly Professional Network (UPPN) started as a party plug called Its creator, Sulaiman Rahman, a Philly native, who was attending the University of Pennsylvania as an undergraduate at the time, founded the network in 2007 because his fellow students looked to him to find out what was happening in the city. Rahman capitalized on his insider knowledge to create a platform that has grown to more than 30,000 subscribers and 3,000 event marketers.

“There wasn’t any centralized source for knowing what’s going on in Philly,” Rahman said. And so he created it. Rahman, who studied engineering and entrepreneurship, matured, and so did his platform.

“People would pay us to advertise special events but we really didn’t have our own brand to mobilize and do events within that audience of 30,000 subscribers and growing,” Rahman recalled. “We wanted to get back to that core audience [who weren’t] just looking for parties but looking for a way to network, engage community and grow business.”

This iteration of Rahman’s platform was designed to target 25-45-year-old emerging professionals, and focus on programming geared toward connecting the young generations with civic leadership, Rahman said.

It started with after-work mixers and networking events, later adding book signings and speaking events featuring influencers like Marc Lamont Hill and Omar Tyree. In 2015, UPPN launched an initiative called Black Voters Matter, tapping into the civic aspect of Black professional leadership in the era of increased visibility of police brutality.

DiverseForce is the newest off-shoot of UPPN. It’s a recruitment and retention agency for professional management level jobs, working to help Philadelphia organizations bring in and keep diverse talent. In addition to services like employer branding, job marketing, relent sourcing and resume screening, DiverseForce has a partnership with University of Pennsylvania aimed at nonprofit organizations.

Recognizing how much the city spends on diverse nonprofit groups, Rahman observed that “billions of dollars are running through nonprofits [in Philadelphia]. $2 billion of the city’s $4 billion budget goes to nonprofits. These are economic engines in the city. Diversity in the corporate world also translates into the nonprofit sectors.” He said that diverse nonprofit boards “make sure the organizations have the cultural competency to be effective in the communities that they serve.”