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Multicultural Forum on Workplace Diversity Invites GLBT Participation

By Lavender February 26, 2009

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The dictionary defines “diversity” as “the inclusion of diverse people (as people of different races or cultures) in a group or organization.”

Because diversity is an important subject for the GLBT community, the 21st Annual Multicultural Forum on Workplace Diversity, March 3-4 at RiverCentre in St. Paul, is recommended for any individuals working in diverse situations or dealing with a diverse clientele.

Three keynote speakers will lead the forum: Nat Irvin, diversity futurist from the University of Louisville; Luke Visconti, partner and cofounder of DiversityInc; and Ken Powell, CEO of General Mills.

Irvin, who emphasized that the forum has a great national reputation, will introduce some new data about the future. He hopes that the audience will develop a greater appreciation for how fast our notions of identity are changing globally. Irvin also will explain the concept of “demographic singularity,” a description of a time in the future when our national identity changes so quickly that we may not recognize the place we call home. He wants to challenge our thinking to begin to see the future through “new eyes.”

“We are all beginning to sense the critical importance of recruiting and retaining talent,” Irvin said. “The key thing is to be open.”

Visconti noted, “The forum is important for the GLBT community to learn which companies hold a high regard for diversity. GLBT rights are civil rights, human rights—everyone should be included on the plate.”

According to Visconti, the role of diversity can strengthen a corporate bottom line. Diversity in the workplace is the central issue. If we discriminate, it runs contrary to finding the best talent out there. Discrimination in this day and age is not an option. Diversity and acceptance should be core to a corporation’s policy. People will learn why diversity is important, and not optional.

“I don’t take any compromise on this subject,” Visconti stated.

In Visconti’s view, the most important thing about this subject is awareness. We have to keep pressure on this important issue. We cannot allow a delay in human rights.

“How long is too long? It’s already been too long,” Visconti sighed.

For more information on the forum, visit www.stthomas.edu/mcf. Or, contact Maggie Zawasky at (651) 962-4241 or [email protected]

A career fair will be held March 4, 1-4 PM. It’s free and open to the public.

A preparatory session for those interested takes place March 2, 6-8 PM. RSVP online for this session.

The Multicultural Forum, cohosted by the University of St. Thomas Opus College of Business and the National Black MBA Association Twin Cities Chapter, is presented by General Mills. DiversityInc. is the National Media Sponsor.

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