Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
The Greater Kansas City Chamber values and promotes diversity because it enhances the business community and the economic development of the region through: increasing regional and global business development; expanded educational opportunities; and creating a robust community infrastructure that encourages all community members to make contributions using their special talents, expertise and knowledge.
The Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce values and promotes diversity and inclusion for a successful business community through:
- ENGAGEMENT of diverse chambers and diversity and inclusion stakeholders
- ADVOCACY of diversity and inclusion in public policy
- IMPLEMENTATION of substantive programs that support diverse owned business owners
- INTEGRATION of diversity and inclusion across ALL KC Chamber programs and initiatives
Our Definition of Workforce Diversity
Employee Resource Groups
ERGs: A Strategy To Retain Your Diverse Talent
Learn more about the value that Employee Resource Groups can bring to your organization, from Christopher Madden, Young Achievers Director of YMCA of Greater Kansas City.
ACE Award Criteria
Nominees are employees of any gender, age, sexual orientation, or disability including employees or managers of any ethnic or culturally diverse community who:
- Impact their organization’s success by directly or indirectly increasing profitability, improving efficiencies and/or reducing costs
- Improve their workplace culture by embracing and promoting an inclusive environment, positive attitude and influence on others
- Demonstrate leadership by upholding their organization’s core values and promoting innovation
- Work in middle-to-senior level management or head a specific department (such as, but not limited to accounting, marketing, production or business), or who serves as a project manager in a flat organization
- Have some involvement in the development and/or implementation of policies, procedures and plans
- Promote diversity and inclusion (D&I) in the organization and are an active advocate and hold themselves and others accountable for diversity and inclusion (D&I)
- Demonstrate sustained active external leadership/involvement e.g. active role in diverse organizations, programs or initiatives locally or nationally
- Serve as a role model, sponsor and mentor for all employees with an emphasis on their ethnic and culturally diverse employee base
- Increases their organization's supplier diversity partnerships
* C-Level executives may submit nominations but are not eligible to receive the award
Champion of Diversity
The KC Chamber Champion of Diversity Award recognizes a regional business that has made an impactful commitment to embracing diversity in their workplace, diversity supplier partnerships, and the community. The KC Chamber Champion of Diversity is a business that can demonstrate adherence to practices which support the business case for workforce diversity as a strategic initiative by ensuring the diversification of staff, suppliers, and community outreach is a normal part of their organizational practice, policy, and culture. This Champion of Diversity business will be able to demonstrate their organizational practices are inclusive of all people no matter that person’s race, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital status, veteran’s status, military status, genetic information, sexual orientation or gender identity.
POWER of Diversity Breakfast
Highlights of the event include the presentation of the Champion of Diversity Award, recognizing a regional business that has made an impactful commitment to embrace diversity in their workplace, diversity supplier partnerships, and the community. This Champion of Diversity business will be able to demonstrate their organizational practices are inclusive of all people. The Breakfast also includes presentation of ACE Awards to up-and-coming senior level managers who are advocating for expansion of their company's diversity and inclusion and/or supplier diversity efforts.
2018 Regional Diversity & Inclusion Survey
The KC Chamber has conducted a second survey of regional companies and organizations to better understand their Diversity & Inclusion efforts and best practices, and to begin measuring regional progress. Here are the results.
2017 Regional Diversity & Inclusion Survey
The KC Chamber has conducted a survey of regional companies and organizations to better understand their Diversity & Inclusion efforts and best practices. Here are the results.
Economic Impact of Immigrants
What impact do immigrants have on KC’s regional economy? The Chamber and New American Economy partnered to find out.
Top 10 Best Practices for Diversity & Inclusion in the Workplace
Strong support from top management including the CEO and board chair (written statement of commitment) can drive the company’s diversity strategy and execution daily. Executive involvement includes active leadership in the company’s employee resource groups, service as executive chairs for diversity growth strategy teams and advisory councils, and involvement on the company’s diversity councils.
Make diversity and inclusion a priority by creating a strategic framework that includes diversity and inclusion in all departments and workplans. Creating a strategic plan allows the leadership team as well as employees to keep diversity and inclusion at the forefront of every initiative and program and all company processes.
How can a company ensure that it’s able to choose from such a field? For starters, it’s important to work not only with traditional recruiting firms, but also with diversity-specific recruiting companies, that can help bring you the right candidates.
Diversity and inclusion is part of the new employee orientation and follow up sessions are offered for all staff. Address the organization’s policies and procedures related to valuing and leveraging diversity to accomplish the organization’s mission and achieve its vision.
Make diversity and inclusion training as much a part of your strategic plan as safety, sexual harassment, and wellness programs. Don’t assume that employees understand diversity and inclusion, even if they belong to a diverse population. Provide annual trainings or workshops on different topics such as implicit bias, recruitment, retaining and promotion or achieving cultural competency.
Make sure photos in all publications include a culturally diverse group of people. If you are advertising to a certain market, consult with knowledgeable employees or professional firms about the market. Scan all applications to ensure that offending images are removed, and that all language is neutral.
Cultivate relationships and recruit from institutions that typically attract a diverse student body, including Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU’s) and Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSI’s). Progressive-thinking or liberal arts universities also tend to attract students of different backgrounds, while internationally-focused and highly reputable academic institutions also draw a diverse group. For no-degree required positions, consult with diverse non-profit organizations or your local employment councils, churches, etc. In other words, think outside the box.
Linking employees to a support network is crucial to your retention efforts. Whether it’s helping out-of-state or out-of-country workers adapt to a new region, offering tuition assistance or opportunities to pursue industry-related courses; or making benefits available such as on-site fitness facilities at work sites in more remote areas, a company can go a long way toward retaining its diverse talent if its workforce feels supported and valued.
Recognize and celebrate your diverse groups of employees. Whether it’s Black History Month, Hispanic Heritage Month or Muslim Holidays, dedicate a day of celebration by decorating a wall to signify the holiday or contributions that group has made to the United States. Be careful not to offend employees by putting up offensive images of the culture. Create a committee to research each celebration.
Finding the diverse talent your company needs are only part of the challenge. Retaining it is equally important. It’s important to have employee resources groups that are open to all employees, which help to organize opportunities for professional development, forge partnerships with diverse professional organizations, support community-relations efforts and enhance diversity awareness. Each group you form should have a shared mission statement, tied to your organization’s diversity strategy, as well as its own vision statement, goals, and plans of action, and each should have a significant impact on the community, giving your employees a true sense of camaraderie.
KC Chamber’s Diverse Business Committee
The KC Chamber’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion activities are guided by its Diverse Business Committee which includes Diversity, Equity and Inclusion professionals and representatives from business, foundations, nonprofits and the community. The mission of the Diverse Business Committee is to affirm, enact and advocate for the KC Chamber’s four-pillars of diversity and inclusion throughout the Chamber and its programming. Its vision is to create an all-embracing Chamber that maximizes opportunities to develop, promote, educate and advocate on behalf of a diverse workforce and diverse owned businesses.
- Chair, Vanessa Sims, UMB
- Tahir Atwater, Big Brothers Big Sisters
- Marquita Brockman Taylor, Negro Leagues Baseball Museum
- Tricia Bushnell, Midwest Innocence Project
- Valerie Coyazo, KCP&L
- Mike Cubon, Ability KC
- Gaby Flores, Children’s Mercy Hospitals
- Carla Gibson, REACH Healthcare Foundation
- Michael Gonzales, Hallmark Cards, Inc. Retired
- Julie Hickman, Diversity Compliance & Testing Group, Inc.
- Adriana Martinez, ECCO Select
- Kirk Perucca, Kirk Perucca & Associates, Inc.
- Roxanne Powers, Black & Veatch
- Kendall Seal, Women’s Foundation
Resources to help
2018 Champion of Diversity: Shook, Hardy & Bacon
2018 ACE: Carla Gibson, REACH Healthcare Foundation
2018 ACE: Vanessa Sims, UMB
2018 ACE: Dr. Susan Wilson, UMKC
2018 Supplier Diversity ACE: Christine Kelly, MCC
ERGs: A Strategy To Retain Your Diverse Talent
KC Chamber Diversity & Inclusion Sponsors
Supporting Diversity Sponsors
Andrews McMeel Universal
Ernst & Young
JE Dunn Construction
Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences
KVC Health Systems
Shook Hardy & Bacon
Stinson Leonard Street
University of Kansas