The 24th annual Multicultural Forum on Workplace Diversity, A Time for Innovation, was held last month at the Minneapolis Convention Center. More than 900 participants joined by over 750 exhibitors and career fair candidates filled the convention center halls and meeting rooms to hear presentations by diversity experts and to interact with each other. Attendees came from 26 states and more than 300 organizations. The 162 presenters in 64 sessions represented more than 114 corporate, educational, government, legal and nonprofit organizations.

Highlights included keynotes by Carol Evans, president of Working Mother Media, Steve Frost, head of diversity and inclusion for the 2012 London Olympics and Paralympics and Sergio Rial, CFO of Cargill. Each had a unique perspective on the global implications of diverse and inclusive workplaces and the impact that has on innovation.

Conference director, Steve Humerickhouse, along with OCB Dean, Christopher Puto, welcomed the assembly on the first morning. In his address, Humerickhouse spurred on participants with these words:

U.S. business has been challenged by the globalization of the world economy. No longer is it sufficient for the U.S. to be the biggest economy in the world, able play by itself in its own sandbox. To be successful now–no matter the size, no matter the sector–a U.S. company, government agency, even nonprofit must be global in scope. That requires employees with diverse backgrounds and experiences and a level of cultural competence from everyone in the organization in order to effectively work with colleagues, suppliers and customers from around the world.

Conferees left Minneapolis after the three days inspired and encouraged by what they experienced and looking forward to the 25th Forum in April 2013.