May 13, 2016 7:52 am

Invite, convene, repeat — keep the diversity and inclusion conversation going

May's OpenAccessPHL meetup focused on topics that are becoming routine — and that's a good thing.

May's OAP panelists.

(Image via @phillychamber)

Last week, OpenAccessPHL hosted the latest in a slew of local events centered around diversity and inclusion.

(Full disclosure: I was among the panelists for this edition of the monthly meetup — hi, it’s me, Generocity’s community manager.) 

The past few months have seen the 2016 Diversity & Inclusion Conference for the hospitality industry, Campus Philly’s Inclusive Leadership Conference for students, and Generocity’s own #ImpSolPHL meetup on the topic.

For once, I can easily say that I hope Philadelphia organizations continue to host copycat events for years to come. Why? Because these conversations should be the norm, in order to move toward leadership that is reflective of the community.

Hosted at the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, the OpenAccessPHL panel included leaders from a variety of backgrounds:

  • Tara Orio – SVP, membership and member engagement, Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce
  • Keith Marmer – Program director, Greater Than HealthCare Collaborative
  • Kahiga Tiagha – Founder and lead partner, The ITEM (The Inclusive Technology & Entrepreneurship Movement)
  • Carrie Rathmann – Director of strategic partnerships, Habitat for Humanity Philadelphia
  • LeRoy E. Jones — CEO, GSI Health, LLC
  • Mo Manklang – Community manager, Generocity (hi again!)

The important piece to note is that only one of these leaders, Tiagha, focuses primarily on inclusivity in their day-to-day. The topics of diversity and inclusion are key to the development of any organization, and should be embraced by leadership.  

From our Partners

McKinsey Diversity

(Infographic via McKinsey & Company)

The Chamber of Commerce works with its 4,000 member companies; Habitat for Humanity focuses on affordable housing; Greater Than Healthcare and GSI Health address how healthcare can become more accessible; and Generocity covers the impact in the local community. The diversity within the panel itself illustrates the different roles that organizations, regardless of focus, have to play within the conversation.

Even more importantly, in-person events such as OpenAccessPHL give people the opportunity to sound off and share perspectives on the issue. A quick perusal of the attendee list shows people from a variety of backgrounds, neighborhoods and careers.

In order to develop Philadelphia’s leadership and cut down on bias in hiring and maintaining workforce, these conversations need to be continued, connected and reported on.


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