In principle and in practice, the Grand Rapids Chamber believes in the value and power of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). Various reports released in 2020 amidst a global pandemic, mounting racial tension and a divisive political atmosphere prove there is much work to be done.
According to McKinsey & Company, a United States-based management consulting firm, businesses with culturally diverse teams outperformed those with minimal diversity by 36% in profitability. Despite consistent findings promoting the benefits of DEI, progress remains slow in closing gender and cultural representation gaps, and because of the pandemic, some companies have even regressed.
Without diversity, equity and inclusion, we limit our talent, resources and the business opportunities necessary to thrive in an increasingly competitive global marketplace. That’s why we’ve assembled a team of subject matter experts who can provide DEI training for your organization. Dedicating strategy, time and resources to both recruiting diverse talent, and retaining and developing employees supports our common goal of building an inclusive culture where all people in West Michigan can thrive.
The assessment: To develop an effective DEI strategy, it’s important to understand the perceptions of all stakeholders regarding the current state of DEI in the organization. The DEI Assessment will help you establish a baseline for your company and outline recommendations for the next steps.
Implicit bias training: Biases start early, and just about everyone is prone to biases. Learn more about what implicit bias is, how to combat it and how to tackle it moving forward.
Institute for healing racism: The Chamber believes the most effective way to combat racism is to educate individuals by use of honest and open dialogue. This program is an opportunity to start this dialogue by bringing racism to the forefront of discussions and examining it as both a personal and societal problem.
Organizational culture and communication training: Poor communication lies at the root of many problems. How do your team members communicate with one another? This eight-hour training will focus on improving and understanding communication across teams and your organization’s culture.
The subject matter experts
Ken James, director of inclusion
With nearly three decades of experience spanning a multitude of industries including nonprofit, health care and higher education, Ken is driven by his passion to initiate cross-cultural dialogue and advance diversity, equity and inclusion. As director of inclusion for the Grand Rapids Chamber, he combines his knowledge and lived experiences to deliver creative, intentional programs to employers and their stakeholders. Ken is an alumnus of Kentucky State University and Grand Valley State University, from which he holds a master’s in public administration. Most recently, he earned Executive Certification in Diversity Coaching through the CoachDiversity Institute in partnership with Howard University School of Business and is recognized as an Associate Diversity Coach (ADC).
Emily Smith, inclusion program manager
A native of New Mexico, language, culture and diversity have influenced Emily from an early age. She is an Advanced Certified Cultural Intelligence (CQ) Professional and Unconscious Bias (UB) Certified Professional, utilizing these skill sets to further the work of equity and understanding through a culturally intelligent, global, human-centered lens. In her role as inclusion program manager with the Grand Rapids Chamber, Emily supports DEI training and affinity programs designed to create a greater sense of belonging for business professionals in the West Michigan community. She is an alumna of Colorado State University and Aquinas College.
If you are interested in engaging in a DEI training program or assessment, please contact Omar Cuevas, vice president of sales and marketing for the Grand Rapids Chamber (firstname.lastname@example.org).