First conference on innovation in diversity planning takes off in MSB

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The Conference on Innovation and Planning for Federal Agencies (DI2G), a key stone initiative for the implementation of President Obama’s executive order 13583, began yesterday in the McDonough School of Business. The initiative requires all federal agencies to implement diversity and inclusion plans.

“The best talents and ideas, needed to solve the world’s complex and rapidly changing problems, come from diversity,” Professor Youlanda Gibbons said about the atmosphere and the aim of the conference. This is the first federal-wide conference intended to discuss unique and innovative plans for the evolution of diversity and inclusion in the federal Government.

The federal government, with a workforce of 1.85 million people, is the greatest employer in the United States and therefore plays a major role in the promotion of diversity. “The government has historically been the leader and the pioneer in insuring that minorities and people with disabilities are represented in america’s workplace,” Gibbons said.

During the first day of the conference, different panelists expressed their opinions and experiences in the implementation and promotion of diversity in the public and private sector.

Mr. Berto Guerra, CEO of Avanzar Interior Technologies GP LLC, an automotive interiors manufacturing company, explained the importance and tremendous potential of minorities in his firm. “This year, for the third consecutive year, we ranked first in the country for the quality of our seats. The secret to our success was a full understanding and appreciation of diversity.”

Panelist Adrienne Trimble, Manager of Supplier Diversity at Toyota, emphasizes the necessity to appreciate and value diversity in the modern world. “The new generation doesn’t have the same barriers that we experienced in the past from a global perspective, young people from all over the world are now required to come converge, discuss and respect each other, this is what makes the world work. It’s a major source of new ideas,” she said.

The Diversity Forum is open for student participation and offers an opportunity to explore the concept of diversity in both the federal government, academia and the private sector.

“This conference is chance for students to come and listen to senior executive and senior managers, researchers and authors talk about their workplace issues regarding diversity and inclosure. It’s a phenomenal case study,” Gibbons said. “I believe the topic of diversity is very relevant for the Georgetown community, we are continuously making strives to increase diversity, particularly with the establishment of the LBGT on campus, with our prestigious Master of professional studies in Diversity and the successes of the law school, which graduates the second greatest number of black lawyers in this country.”

Panelist Rosemary Kilknenny, Chief Diversity Officer at Georgetown University, commented on the importance of diversity and intercultural dialogue in the university community. “We want student in Georgetown to develop a sense of community across racial lines, across religion, across gender and sexual identity, across all these lines…People tend to feel more comfortable associating with people like themselves. We want students to break out of their comfort zones and fully experience diversity. Hopefully this conference will stimulate reflection upon this topic.”

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