“I’ve never had safety. I will always be seen as a threat due to the color of my skin.”
This was a statement made by an attendee at the recent Local First Measure What Matters workshop.
Facilitated by One World Diversity, the workshop focused on the importance of diversity. One of the first comments made at the event was that it was looking to encourage dialogue - open and honest feedback - in a safe space. To respect those boundaries, I have intentionally refrained from including names with any of the shared quotes.
One World Diversity utilized vignettes to highlight various scenarios that can take place within the business community and the city as a whole. From there, attendees were able to discuss their thoughts and feelings related to the presented subject matter. Additionally, there was a panel-led discussion building upon these topics.
The workshop was eye-opening to say the least. It was interesting to hear about the challenges many have experienced right here. At times, it can be easy to feel this is such a small town that we are immune to these types of issues. Unfortunately that is not the case. There were several thought-provoking discussions as well as actionable takeaways.
When considering the importance of diversity, it was stated we need to think about its impact on the community as well as the ways in which businesses can help. As employees, individuals should use their voices, be cognizant of racial differences and encourage innovation, one panelist shared.
By focusing on equity and inclusion in the workplace, it can help promote success and wealth for all. “Forty percent of Grand Rapids is minority. Think about the taxes, revenue, etc. being generated and contributed to the community,” another panelist stated. Not only is inclusion the right thing to do but it is also smart business.
As employers, it is wise to think about diversity in hiring. Also, think about diversity when branding and marketing your products or services. Be inclusive in your messaging and ensure your audience can understand it, which may mean translating is necessary.
Panelists challenged attendees by stating -
“There has to be some discomfort in the conversations that we have.”
“We are all responsible to help build community together.”
“You have the solutions and you have the power. You don’t have to have all the answers and you won’t always get it right.”
What steps can you and your organization take today to help encourage inclusion internally and within the community?
The next Measure What Matters workshop will take place on September 20 at Atomic Object - learn more
About Stingray Advisory Group LLC: Stingray Advisory Group LLC is based in Grand Rapids, Michigan. By creating dynamic customized solutions for business growth, we empower businesses and entrepreneurs with the tools to further their development. To learn more or schedule a consultation, visit www.stingrayadvisorygroup.com.
The Midwest Tech Project has partnered with Theta Ventures to organize the 1st Annual "City Hacks GR" Tech Weekend & Hackathon Sept. 14th-17th.