The Fort Bend Chamber of Commerce Diversity Action Team (DAT) is a group of individuals who work to educate, lead and influence businesses on creating diverse and inclusive workforce cultures. The team works year-round to create programming and educational opportunities to help businesses enhance their competitive advantage.
“When our leadership reflects diversity and inclusion, we create a welcoming environment where we are viewed as an open and accepting organization,” said Keri Curtis Schmidt, president and CEO of the chamber. “Our efforts start with self-reflection, giving consideration and populating all levels of leadership and staff within the Fort Bend Chamber. This includes chamber partners, board of directors, division chair and officers.”
The Diversity Action Team accomplishes its goals through several methods. One example is key community partnerships. The team has reached out to other organizations that support diversity in the community, including the Asian Chamber of Commerce, American Turkish Chamber of Commerce and Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
The DAT has also hosted its education series. These are interactive learning seminars that incorporate diversity-related topics including “The Power of Leveraging Diversity and Inclusion for Business Outcomes,” “Diversity in the Workplace: Parallels & Distinctions” and “Generational Differences in the Workplace.” New education series opportunities are frequently posted on the chamber’s website.
Looking to 2019
A new initiative for 2019 is a “Diversity & Inclusion Boot Camp.” Currently in the planning stages, this interactive workshop is intended for business and community leaders. The program will present information on how to build organizational awareness of diversity to quantify and measure self-assessments of their current diversity and inclusion efforts.
Some of the boot camp’s “curriculum” will include strategic planning and developing and executing diversity and inclusion programs. Participants will receive a “tool kit” with strategic planning templates, communication samples and ROI measures. This will allow participants to have easy-to-use methods to incorporate the strategies learned at the boot camp.
In 2019 the DAT will grant community awards to businesses that have made strides in diversity and inclusion in the community. The Fort Bend County community has a rich history of diversity, and the new awards will recognize deserving businesses that make efforts to celebrate and honor cultural differences.
All of the efforts of the Diversity Action Team reflect the chamber’s commitment to helping businesses succeed. Through participation in these key programs, businesses can attract employees and customers.
“Our approach to diversity and inclusion aligns with our mission as the advocate for business excellence in Fort Bend County,” said Michael Dobert, member of the chamber board of directors and owner/principal of HR in Alignment, LLC. “Embracing diversity in thought, background and opinion fosters innovation and competition and has been shown to increase business performance and employee satisfaction over time. We encourage all of our members to establish diversity and inclusion systems and practices.”