MCF Logo 25The 25th Annual Multicultural Forum on Workplace Diversity kicks off today with a full day of informative sessions and discussions on the theme, Our Time to Lead. This reflects the legacy and evolution of diversity and inclusion over the last 25 years:  opening doors of opportunity, igniting change, and challenging organizations to respond to an ever-changing landscape of social, political, economic and technological realities.  Today, the unprecedented shifts of our time call us to meet these challenges.

Four signature events, or general sessions, offer a path to strengthen individual and collective leadership capacity for the challenges and opportunities ahead. The conference will also feature 58 concurrent learning sessions, a Resource Expo, free Career Fair and Career Services Center. Pre-Conference Professional Development Institutes took place yesterday.

If you’re unable to attend the conference, follow @MCFdiversity and #diversityforum on Twitter.

In addition three champions of workplace diversity will be honored during a Thursday, April 11, luncheon. Each year the forum honors individuals or organizations for their exemplary efforts to address workplace diversity issues. Recipients are:
Howard Ross.

Howard Ross, who will receive a Winds of Change Award for individuals, is founder of Cook Ross Inc., a leading diversity consulting firm. Specializing in leadership, diversity and organizational transformation, Ross has served more than 25 years as a consultant to hundreds of organizations across the United States and in 25 other countries. He is a leader on the topic of unconscious bias and is also the architect of award-winning training and awareness programs.

Ross is the author of ReInventing Diversity: Transforming Organizational Community to Strengthen People, Purpose and Performance, published by Rowman Littlefield in association with the Society for Human Resource Management.

University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, which will receive a Winds of Change Award for organizations, is a $10 billion, global health enterprise with more than 55,000 employees.  The center is transforming health care by integrating more than 20 hospitals, 400 doctors’ offices and outpatient sites, a health insurance services division, and international and commercial services. Affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences, the center ranked No. 10 in U.S. News & World Report’s annual Honor Roll of America’s Best Hospitals in 2012.

Elsa Batica.

Elsa Batica, who will receive a Friend of the Forum Award, is an experienced civil rights mediator and has been involved for more than 25 years in the areas of multicultural issues, cultural competency, diversity management and community development. She has developed and delivered hundreds of workshops and sessions for government, corporate, education, health, nonprofit and community clients.

Batica has served on numerous boards and was appointed by Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton to serve as commissioner for the Council on Asian Pacific Minnesotans. She has served as associate county administrator for Scott County, deputy director for the Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights, and in other roles for NorthPoint Health and Wellness Center, Children’s Hospitals and Clinics and the Hennepin County Community Health Department. She is president of Batica and Associates and corporate trainer for Diversity Council Inc.

About The Multicultural Forum on Workplace Diversity

The forum is designed for professionals who manage a diverse workforce, are responsible for diversity within organizations of all sizes, or work with multicultural clientele; it attracts more than 1,200 participants from 35 states and more than 400 companies.

The forum is sponsored by Target and presented by the Opus College of Business at the University of St. Thomas in partnership with the National Black MBA Association Twin Cities.

The forum runs Wednesday and Thursday, April 10 and 11. A Career Services Center will be held Tuesday and Wednesday, April 9 and 10, and a Career Fair will be held Wednesday, April 10. More than 50 Midwest companies will be represented at the Career Services Center and Career Fair, which are free and open to the public.

Registration for the forum and diversity awards luncheon remains open. Participants can choose to attend either the full three-day conference or single conference days. Rates for travel and accommodations are available. More information is available on the Multicultural Forum website, by phone at (651) 962-4377 or email atmcf@stthomas.edu.

The forum began in 1988 as a two-hour video conference. In addition to its professional staff, more than 60 volunteers assist with planning workshops and logistics, and more than 150 volunteers will help staff the conference.