Our region, along with the rest of the country, is changing. The U.S. population is growing in size, while it also becomes older and more diverse. The Greater Omaha Chamber recognizes that, in order to ensure the region stays competitive, the community needs to respond to the growing diversity in our region.

As change agents, we all have several ways to “cause” significant change in our communities. Each approach has its merits, so how do you choose the most effective way forward? First, let’s look at our options.

Option No. 1

We can monitor and measure the changing diversity that is occurring; and, then proclaim that change has happened. Certainly, this is the most accurate strategy, since hindsight is always 20/20. Though, it is not very effective, if you are trying to move a community or region – or even your organization – in a new direction.

Option No. 2

We can commission a study to assess diversity trends; and, then provide our findings to our membership or the community. This methodology requires no action on the findings. But, it provides enough information for someone to act on the issue, if they are so inclined.

Option No. 3

We can call for the development of an endeavor to accomplish a specific outcome. This combines the trend-watching in option No. 1 with the study portion of option No. 2. Additionally, it includes the definition of an issue and identifies a set of actions necessary to accomplish the outcome.

The best approach for affecting change

Or, we can do all of the above, with full intentions to resolve an issue or respond to a trend. We can put option No. 1 in high gear and actively seek trends that will impact our organization or community. We can use that trend information as the basis for research to define the issue and the impacts of action or inaction. Then, we can use the data to develop a strategy to affect the change we want to see. This is the approach the Greater Omaha Chamber is taking in relation to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI).

Being intentional about diversity, equity and inclusion

At the Greater Omaha Chamber, we believe in being very intentional about providing our companies the tools they need to be more effective at hiring a more diverse workforce and creating company cultures that reflect inclusivity. At the same time, we recognize the community needs to respond to the growing diversity of our region. Together, with our community partners, we are assessing what cultural and physical characteristics of Greater Omaha, if changed, could create a more inclusive environment.

For us, I am pleased with our progress and the commitment of our board and membership to make DEI an ongoing part of our overall Talent Initiative. It takes commitment to look at the future and act on the many great changes ahead as the diversity of this region continues to evolve.

Join us as we continue the journey. Check out and become involved with our Commitment to Opportunity, Diversity and Equity (CODE). Together, our intentionality about inclusivity can elevate everyone in this vibrant place where we all do business, work and live.

by David G. Brown, President and CEO, Greater Omaha Chamber

Attend The Conference at CHI Health Center

An event focused on diversity and inclusion issues, to help professionals create cultures where everyone feels they belong.