Inspiring Leadership with Diversity, Inclusion & Cultural Competence

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Valuable Knowledge Gained At 2014 Diversity Leadership Retreat

The Society for Diversity wrapped up its 2014 Diversity Leadership Retreat on Friday, July 25 in Orlando, Fla. with over 70 people in attendance over the two day conference. The event provided valuable knowledge to those in attendance, and everyone walked away with materials and information to take back to their companies.

The first day of the conference started with a keynote presentation from Isaias Zamarripa, Director of Global Workforce Diversity, Johnson Controls. His presentation highlighted the connections between employee networks, diversity recruiting and bottom line impact. After Zamarripa’s presentation, the attendees got the option to attend breakout sessions, such as unconscious bias and the role of the chief diversity officer.

During the lunch hour on July 24, the Diversity Leadership Awards were presented by Ericka Dunlap, 2004 Miss America. Dunlap presented the following awards to their recipients:

  • Corporate Diversity Leader- FordHarrison, LLP
  • Educational Diversity Leader- Nadia Quarles, University of Chicago
  • Non-Profit Diversity Leader- American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
  • Society for Diversity Member of the Year- Dr. Ken Coopwood, Missouri State University

These recipients are leaders in the diversity and inclusion field by being thought leaders and striving to be the top in their industry for D&I efforts.

After the presentation of these awards, there was a panel on supplier diversity. The day finished with additional breakout sessions that attendees could choose from.

“All of the sessions provided vast amounts of information to those who attended,” explained Leah Smiley, The Society for Diversity president. “Choosing which sessions to attend must have been difficult because there were always sessions going on at the same time that were relevant to anyone in attendance.”

The second day started off with a keynote presentation by Dr. Freeman Hrabowski, President, University of Maryland-Baltimore. His presentation allowed attendees to tell Dr. Hrabowski what they wanted to learn from him, and he tailored his presentation to what he was asked about.

“Dr. Hrabowski’s presentation was highly interactive,” stated Smiley. “I think that people walked away with more insight and information than they would have thought possible from an hour discussion.”

Another keynote speaker, Dr. Shirley Davis Sheppard, highlighted the lunch hour. Her presentation was on the “10 Global Trends that are Keeping CEOs up at Night.” Her presentation was on par with the other presenters, and it had many attendees walking away wanting more.

The event ended on July 25 with a thank you speech from Smiley, “I appreciated everyone who attended the event, and I can’t wait to see everyone again at next year’s conference.”

While the 2014 Diversity Leadership Retreat is over, planning has begun on the 2015 event. The planning committee has already decided that the event will be hosted in Charlotte, N.C., and it will be moved to October in order to more easily accommodate attendees’ schedules. More information about next year’s event will be provided at a later date, but information can also be found on The Society for Diversity’s website, http://www.societyfordiversity.org.

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