One organization and three individuals will be honored at the 28th annual Forum on Workplace Inclusion, the nation’s leading conference on diversity and inclusion that will take place March 29-31 at the Minneapolis Convention Center.

The forum’s diversity awards are sponsored by U.S. Bank and are given annually to organizations or individuals who show exemplary effort in addressing workplace-diversity issues. Recipients will be honored during a special luncheon on Thursday, March 31.

The 2016 recipients are:

Ted Childs: Winds of Change Award, Individual

J.T. (Ted) Childs, Jr.

J.T. (Ted) Childs Jr.

A trailblazer in diversity and inclusion for nearly 50 years, Ted Childs began his career at IBM in the university relations recruiting department and rapidly moved upward.

He led the diversity function at IBM during a time of tremendous change and transformation in the company’s business model, working closely with CEO Lou Gerstner to establish IBM as the premier global company for diversity and inclusion. Since transitioning from IBM in 2009, Childs has worked with Fortune 500 companies across all industries and geographies, as well as various nonprofit organizations and the military, to help build diversity and inclusion strategies.

Childs is a powerful and charismatic speaker, a founder of the first Conference Board Workforce Council on Diversity and has been the subject of numerous business publications, including the Harvard Business Review. He is being presented the 2016 Winds of Change Award for his lifetime as a thought leader and change agent in the field of diversity and inclusion.

Mary-Frances Winters: Winds of Change Award, Individual

Mary Fances Winters

Mary-Frances Winters

As the president and founder of The Winters Group, Mary-Frances Winters truly believes that diversity and inclusion work is her “passion and calling.” Considered a thought leader in the field, she has had an impact on hundreds of organizations and thousands of individuals with her thought-provoking message and her approach to diversity and inclusion.

Winters is highly creative, collaborative, visionary and results-oriented. She is also a provocateur – provoking conversation and encouraging dialogue – and she is not afraid to have the tough conversations. Her sweet spots include helping organizations develop their diversity and inclusion strategy, developing culturally competent leaders, and serving as a mentor and coach.

She has written three books, has served on many nonprofit boards, provides multiple university scholarships to students wishing to study an aspect of diversity and inclusion, and has been named a “Diversity Pioneer” by the Profiles in Diversity Journal.

She is being presented a Winds of Change Award for her efforts to change lives, organizations and communities.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations, Minnesota: Winds of Change Award, Organization

The Council on American-Islamic Relations, Minnesota (CAIR-MN) works to drive change, promote racial and social justice, build interfaith coalitions and protect civil liberties.

CAIR-MN works to empower those who have faced discrimination, hate crimes and defamation, and works to prevent hate and bias crimes through education and advocacy.

As the only Muslim civil rights organization in the state, CAIR-MN works with other organizations, especially interfaith partners, to address racism in all communities through media and employer training, advocacy with the public and government agencies, free legal services, and education of members of the Muslim community through travel guides and other printed material.

CAIR-MN is being presented a Winds of Change Award for helping a community often found in the crosshairs of misunderstanding and discrimination.

Dave Baker: Friend of the Forum Award

Dave Baker

Dave Baker

Dave Baker is a can-do guy … there is nothing he hasn’t done in service to the Forum on Workplace Inclusion. But unlike more visible volunteers, Baker’s work is mostly unseen.

He “lifts bales and totes barges,” getting forum materials to and from the office and around the convention center, and organizes and works beside a team of volunteers to stuff conference bags.

Behind the scenes, Baker makes sure everything runs smoothly throughout the forum week. First to arrive and last to leave, he is one of the go-to people if somebody needs something done. But Baker also has history: 20 years ago, as a member of the planning committee, he was responsible for finding a home for the forum at St. Thomas after the former conference host ended its involvement.

Baker has served on forum planning, executive and logistics committees for more than two decades. And a little more than 14 years ago, he sat on the interview panel that hired the forum’s current executive director, Steve Humerickhouse.

About the Forum on Workplace Inclusion

Presented by the Opus College of Business at the University of St. Thomas, the forum will bring together 1,700 participants from 35 states, eight countries and more than 300 companies.

Registration is still open for the conference, including the March 31 diversity awards luncheon.

Participants can choose to attend either the full three-day conference from March 29-31, or single conference days. Special rates for travel and accommodations also are available. For more information and to register, visit the forum’s website here.

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