Leadership

Group’s Workshop Helps Drive D&I Initiative

By / Dec 5, 2012 (Creatas Images/Thinkstock)

The Council of Michigan Foundations’ diversity and inclusion initiative gets a boost from a popular leadership program.

In just its second year, the Council of Michigan Foundations’ free workshop, “Passing the Leadership Baton: Effective Nonprofit and Philanthropic Leadership Transitions in Communities of Color,” drew over 150 participants last month and provided mid-level professionals from diverse backgrounds with networking and educational opportunities.

In order for all of us to be proactive, on the cutting edge, to be progressive, sensitive, and welcoming, diversity and inclusion is inevitable.

The event is “creating opportunities and providing executives already in [leadership] positions to mentor and or teach [other] professionals how to lay out their careers,” said Kimberly Burton, CMF’s vice president of corporate services and director of diversity and inclusion practices.

“This is such an important initiative,” CMF President Rob Collier said in an article on the group’s website. “We are at the table, and we can discuss the important issues that we all will be dealing with in the years ahead.”

CMF believes it has a responsibility to offer career events and opportunities specifically designed to help diverse individuals assume leadership roles, said Burton. “If we are not providing opportunities and resources to these individuals, than we are not…providing an atmosphere of welcome,” she said.

The workshop is part of a larger CMF commitment to diversity and inclusion. It updated recruitment and vendor policies to include more opportunities for underrepresented groups, began tracking diversity among staff, and had the board and staff go through D&I training.

Implementing the initiative was a delicate process, said Burton. “Diversity and inclusion is sometimes a very sensitive subject, and we had to be very careful that we were not appearing as if we were forcing it onto our members. This is something that they had to be a part of,” she said.

“It was not brought on or even introduced as a small project. In order for all of us to be proactive, on the cutting edge, to be progressive, sensitive, and welcoming, diversity and inclusion is inevitable. It’s just a matter of how intentional each of us is going to be.”

Rob Stott

Rob Stott is a contributing editor for Associations Now. More »

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