It’s one of our most popular and well-attended events—MRA’s Diversity and Inclusion Leadership Conference. On May 9, 2019, participants learned from four well-known speakers in the D&I field and attended an interactive workshop at the day-long event, which took place at the Italian Community Center in Milwaukee.
The first speaker, Hayley Barnard, was live-streamed all the way from the UK. She’s a prominent expert when it comes to D&I, unconscious bias, and inclusive leadership. She spoke to attendees about what diversity looks like, how inclusion is a choice that requires action, different kinds of workplace biases, and tips that leaders can incorporate to outsmart biases.
Angela Adams, our second speaker, is the vice president of community relations at Goodwill Industries of Southeastern Wisconsin. She educated the participants on how to break down the perceptions that exist about hiring people with disabilities. She also highlighted how to effectively tap into this nontraditional workforce as well as the business benefits of an inclusive culture. A key point she shared was that progress as a business, in any industry, requires a mind shift when it comes to today’s D&I.
Next, Reggie Jackson, head griot at America’s Black Holocaust Museum, explored inclusive leadership in the community by building racial understanding. He took a close look at the historical forces that created racial divisions throughout our nation’s history, and some solutions that could help make progress to create a racially just society. Tips like getting out of our bubbles, replacing our automatic judgments of others, and calling out friends and co-workers for discriminatory behaviors are a few ways to help create a diverse and inclusive workplace.
Our fourth speaker was Dr. Shirley Davis, CSP, CEO, SDS, of Global Enterprises, Inc. She explained that if leaders want to remain relevant, competitive, and successful they need to reinvent themselves, making sure their workforce is both diverse and inclusive. Inclusivity beliefs and values need to start at the top and be shared by everyone to build a true D&I culture.
After lunch, conference-goers selected one of three workshops to attend, depending on their company’s stage in their D&I journey. Valuable information was shared on topics including education and training opportunities, how to recognize potential challenges and plan strategies to address them, exploring other D&I ideas that are out there, and hearing about other organizations’ best practices.
For more information on diversity and inclusion at work, be sure to check out MRA’s website, where you’ll find tools, training, and assessments you need to build a positive D&I culture at your company.