Registration is now open for the first-ever Conference on Opportunity, Diversity and Equity, October 4 at the CHI Health Center Omaha. The event offers a compelling, new opportunity for businesses and individuals to address diversity in the workplace.
Hosted in partnership with The Urban League of Nebraska, Assistology and The Latino Center of the Midlands, The Conference was created in large part thanks to a survey conducted in 2015 by the Young Professionals group.
Bianca Harley, manager of community diversity and inclusion for the Chamber, said the study found, “most young professionals really enjoy Omaha. They feel like there are great opportunities here, it’s a great place to work, live and play, but when we looked at the survey results by race, we saw that our black YPs are less likely to recommend Omaha.”
Thanks to community partners, survey data analysis, the Greater Omaha Chamber and The Urban League of Nebraska, The Conference was born.
“The Conference is a space where you will gain tools, discuss diversity and inclusion strategy and its alignment with business objectives, and review measurement and accountability mechanisms, all of which is imperative to our success,” Harley said, “but what is also important is that The Conference is a space where you can boldly be yourself, ask questions, listen, connect and grow. Whether you are coming on behalf of your organization or representing yourself – you are welcome.”
Harley added, “We invite individuals from every gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, ability, race, ethnicity, age, religion or economic status to join us on our journey and in our efforts for opportunity, diversity, and equity. As the Greater Omaha Chamber always says, ‘We accomplish more together.'”
Facilitating discussions for CEOs, associates and community representatives, attendees of The Conference will learn how to recognize and understand the benefits of diversity initiatives, as well as foster a welcoming work environment where everyone feels that they can be most successful. According to Harley, the hiring process, promotions, “things like salary gaps, what types of micro aggressions are being experienced in the workplace,” even leadership and decision-making will be discussed in depth during multiple breakout sessions. Attendees also have the opportunity to add on an interactive workshop which will focus on foundational insight and skills to impact company culture led by Creighton University Institutional Diversity and Inclusion and Greater Omaha Chamber Commitment to Opportunity, Diversity and Equity (CODE).
The Conference will shine a light on opportunities to improve diversity practices within the workplace, as well as the community.
Focusing on the positives of inclusion, Harley said, “everyone can be a champion for diversity, it includes all of us individually,” starting with identifying our own biases in the workplace and/or community, and having a better understanding of that allows us to open our minds to change.
When we, “start to be better neighbors, coworkers, we start to be better as a region,” she added.
Focusing on an inclusion-excellence perspective, The Conference expresses diversity, “as a treasure,” said Harley, “as a competitive advantage, as something that is beneficial to our community. So, when we say diversity, it’s about diversity of experience, it’s diversity of perspective, it’s thought. What we want to do is bring that to this conference.”
According to Harvard Business Review, “homogeneity imposes financial costs and diversity produces financial gains.”
Harley agrees, “The Conference is representative of the progress we have made and are making in ensuring our region is more welcoming, inclusive, and equitable. A region where all community members can obtain personal and economic success and enjoy a high quality of life.”
Looking forward to a long tenure, The Conference is held in part by Creighton University and their initiative for inclusion.
Visit OmahaChamber.org/TheConference for details on the agenda and registration.
Thank you to the many sponsors whose generous contributions make this possible.
Lead Partner: Union Pacific
Featured Partners: Mutual of Omaha | OPPD | Valmont Industries
Training Partner: Creighton University Institutional Diversity and Inclusion
Brand Partner: E Creative
Media Partner: KETV
Additional Sponsors: CHI Health | Jackson Lewis, P.C. | North End Teleservices | University of Nebraska (UNMC, UNO, UNCA)
Delivering a powerful, personal and positive-change-making experience for all who attend.