By Carolyn Desrosiers
Community Engagement Manager
Embracing diversity isn’t only the right thing to do, it may be profitable.
That was part of the message at a “Community Diversity & Inclusion Discussion” in the Warch Campus Center at Lawrence University, supported by a Community Foundation Community Education grant.
About 50 community leaders attended the April 19 panel discussion facilitated by Kimberly Barrett, Lawrence’s vice president for diversity and inclusion and associate dean of the faculty, featuring these panelists:
- Sandy Eichel – professional speaker, financial advisor and diversity and inclusion consultant.
- Appleton Mayor Tim Hanna.
- Kathy Flores – Diverse & Resilient’s Statewide LGBTQ anti-violence program coordinator, and former City of Appleton Diversity & Inclusion Coordinator.
- Jason Rae — Founder and executive director of the Wisconsin LGBT Chamber of Commerce, and former chair of Fair Wisconsin.
The panelists explored current diversity-related efforts in the Fox Valley, and also touched on future needs and challenges.
- Barrett has started a Fox Cities diversity and inclusion business cohort, with leaders from such leading business as Kimberly-Clark Corp. and Bemis.
- Kathy Flores, under the auspices of the new SURJ (Showing Up for Racial Justice) group, has revived a business campaign called “We Welcome All.” Fox Valley businesses can take a pledge to be more inclusive and place a window cling in their storefront.
- Mayor Hanna reported that the long-vacant city diversity coordinator position has been re-posted under the Mayor’s office with a higher level of responsibility and a higher salary range.
Sandy Eichel reported that research shows financial companies with more diverse workforces are more economically successful. This translates to the board room as well, as research shows that boards that include women and people of color are more successful. She referred to the White House report on the millennial generation, which found that the majority of millennials care deeply about diversity and want to work for diverse companies.
For upcoming events sponsored by the Community Foundation, see our calendar.