The 21st annual Multicultural Forum was held March 3 and 4 in the St. Paul RiverCentre. The theme was “Diversity’s Challenge: Achieving True Inclusion.” The expanded forum included 14 half-day institutes on March 3, covering topics such as diversity recruiting strategies, leading and managing different generations, the art of diversity training and retaining people of color. Workshops spread throughout the two days addressed accountability metrics, inclusive communication practices, the challenge of returning to the workplace for combat veterans, and best practices in fields such as health care, government and nonprofits.

Dr. Nat Irvin II presented a keynote speech on demographic trends in diversity and business. Irvin, a diversity and inclusion futurist, is the W.M. Strickler Executive-in-Residence and professor of management at the College of Business, University ofLouisville. Advertisers and other media use Irvin’s findings to identify new demographicgroups and target them with customized messages and opportunities. He is a memberof the board of directors of the World Future Society and chaired the 2008 annual WorldFuture Society Meeting. He has been quoted in various news media and is the voice ofthe syndicated radio show “N2 the Future.”

The opening keynote on Wednesday was presented by Luke Visconti, partner and cofounder of DiversityInc Media LLC. Visconti spoke on the role of values in diversitymanagement. Following his presentation, he led a panel of diversity executives fromDeloitte & Touche, General Mills and JP Morgan Chase in a discussion of the topic. Amember of the U.S. Navy Diversity Senior Advisory Group, Visconti is a frequent lecturer in the field and is quoted in media ranging from The New York Times to FOXnews.

The final keynote speaker was Ken Powell, chairman and chief executive officer ofGeneral Mills, who discussed the impact an inclusive workplace has on the global competition for business and talent. A graduate of Harvard University and Stanford University, Powell has been with General Mills since 1979. He serves on the boards ofdirectors for General Mills and Medtronic and is a member of the Business Council, theBusiness Roundtable and the Minnesota Business Partnership.

In addition to the institutes, workshops and keynote addresses, the forum offered aresource fair, career fair and networking reception.