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Omaha diversity conference aims to pave the way for workplace transformation

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The 2022 Conference on Opportunity, Diversity and Equity will take place Thursday, Oct. 6, at the CHI Health Center Omaha. To register, visit www.omahachamber.org/theconference.

The case for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) continues to gain unprecedented vigor as executive teams all across Omaha (and the country) who embrace its principles are witnessing a financial boom to their bottom line.

The 2022 Conference on Opportunity, Diversity and Equity is back in-person and takes place Thursday, Oct. 6, at the CHI Health Center Omaha.

This year’s theme, “Paving the Way for Equitable Change,” is the perfect springboard to empower you to transform your workplace for the better.

After all, when underrepresented populations are given a prominent seat at the proverbial table, discussions are richer, perspectives are brightened and organizations become inspired to affect real change.

Consider this, according to an assessment conducted by the Greater Omaha Chamber:

  • 53% of Omaha young professionals felt their workplace was not diverse
  • 52% of Black young Omaha professionals aspire to own a small business
  • 43% of Black young professionals felt they have equal opportunity for promotion and advancement
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Make no mistake — Omaha continues to be a vibrant and thriving place to work. But there are barriers that prevent our collective workplaces from being truly equitable. The good news is that our region is working to break those barriers, and that movement will be further inspired by this year’s keynote speakers: Janet Stovall and Jeff Raikes.

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Janet Stovall

Janet Stovall is a senior client strategist at the NeuroLeadership Institue, a global think tank, consultancy and research organization that uses neuro science to improve business performance. She has flourished in the highly competitive corporate Fortune 500 world and is one of the few executive speechwriters of color.

A self-described cultural conversationalist, Stovall is best known for her TED talk challenging business to get serious about inclusion — her video has been viewed more than 1.6-million times. On stage, her business approach tackles corporate racism head-on with a straightforward formula, creating an inclusive workplace where people feel safe and are expected to be their authentic selves. Diversity, she says, is a numbers game. Inclusion is about impact.

“In this country, there is no more important work than the fight against racism,” said Stovall. “If I can be a warrior in that fight, I will be.”

Stovall’s ‘Black experience’ is what drives her powerful message as a voice for corporate America. “I don’t dilute the message because what really matters to me is what I can be tireless and passionate about: my lived experience. It’s what I can talk about with the most insight and knowledge.”

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Jeff Raikes

Jeff Raikes is the former CEO of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, where he led the foundation’s efforts to promote equity for people around the world. Before joining the foundation, Jeff was president of Microsoft’s Business Division and served as a member of the company’s senior leadership team that set the overall strategy and direction for the firm. He began his career with Microsoft in 1981 and was instrumental in creating the Microsoft Office suite of productivity applications.

Raikes is the co-founder of the Raikes Foundation with his wife, Tricia. The foundation works toward a just and inclusive society where all young people have the support they need to reach their full potential. Key areas of focus include creating a more equitable education system so all students can thrive, preventing and ending youth homelessness nationwide, and helping individual donors and philanthropic organizations increase the impact of their giving.

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In addition to Stovall and Raikes, conference attendees can also expect an exciting roster of breakout speakers, sessions and workshops. It’s everything you need to implement lasting changes in your organization, so you can reap the benefits of a truly diverse and equitable workplace.

So come ready, engage openly and leave empowered. For more information or to register for the conference, visit www.omahachamber.org/theconference.

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