Four champions of workplace diversity were honored during the 24th annual Multicultural Forum on Workplace Diversity, the nation’s leading conference on diversity and inclusion, March 22 at the Minneapolis Convention Center.
The forum is designed for professionals who manage a diverse workforce, are responsible for diversity within their organization or work with a multicultural clientele. The Diversity Awards are given to individuals or organizations that show exemplary effort in addressing workplace diversity issues. 2012 Recipients include:
- Emily King (Wings of Change, Individual): King is a nationally recognized expert in the transition of military veterans to the civilian workforce and author of the first ever guide for civilian organizations, “Field Tested: Recruiting, Managing & Retaining Veterans.” She is a highly sought after speaker who has been featured in segments on CNN and NPR and sits on the board of advisors for the G.I. Jobs Military Friendly Employers Top 100. King’s passion for veterans and the challenges they face as they return home and to work is palpable and she is clearly the trendsetter for introducing companies and organizations to this pressing issue.
- ConAgra Foods (Wings of Change, Organization): ConAgra has had department and staff dedicated to inclusion for just five years, but during that time, there has been significant work accomplished, including a rapid and strong implementation of highly engaged employee resource groups and a more inclusive benefits package for employees; an increase of women in management positions from 19 to 30% and minorities from 7 to 10%; development of a summer camp for minority high school students focused on creating a pipeline in science, technology, engineering and math; and in partnership with local Bellevue University, the creation of a D&I certification program, inviting professionals from around the U.S. to participate.
- The City of Brooklyn Park’s Human Rights Commission (Wings of Change, Organization): At a time when volunteer human rights commissions are taking a beating from elected officials and paid staff of cities through the state, the City of Brooklyn Park’s Human Rights Commission has the full support of city government. In a diverse city where just over 50% of citizens consider themselves white, the Commission challenges city government in recruitment, engagement and retention policies and practices to ensure that city workforce demographics mirror those of city residents. The Commission also promotes active engagement in governance by residents with individual commissioners working to build inclusivity and break down barriers in race, ethnicity, country of origin and language. The Commission’s strategic plan focuses on education, community building, public policy, accountability and handling of complaints.
- Lyle H. Iron Moccasin (Friend of the Forum): Iron Moccasin is an enrolled member of the Cheyenne River Lakota Nation of South Dakota. After growing up in Minnesota and New York City, serving in the U.S. Navy and the New York City police force, Iron Moccasin returned to Minneapolis to put his life experiences to work for the Native community by joining American Indian Opportunities Industrialization Center (AIOIC). During his employment at AIOIC, he has worked in juvenile justice, ex-offender, employment and education programs addressing the issues the Indian community faces. Since 2003, Iron Moccasin has been the Forum’s guide for addressing the issues of displaced communities, the Native community and youth education and employment. He is the go-to person to get things done, whether moving crowds of people or multiple heavy boxes.