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  • Now is the Time

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    In recent years, more and more companies have realized that diversity and inclusion play key roles in business success. They create satisfied and productive employees, foster innovation and boost outcomes across the board, leading to a healthier bottom line.
    This year’s Diversity Summit goes beyond a simple understanding of what diversity means and why it matters with its theme “Leadership that Transcends: Diversity, Unity and Shared Prosperity.” The event will drill down on specific and actionable topics, including the impact and importance of leadership when it comes to:
    • Managing and growing a business with diversity, inclusion and equity as core values
    • Developing, attracting and retaining talent and workforce development
    • Creating spaces and opportunities for diversity, inclusion and equity in communities, workplaces and spaces that are intentional in creating and spreading opportunities for prosperity
    The 2020 event will also spotlight changes in the wake of COVID-19, with discussions on post-pandemic organizational flexibility that will explore how office location and remote work affect diversity and inclusion.

    On the Agenda
    How can you increase and nurture diversity in your business? At the 2020 Diversity Summit, experts from a variety of backgrounds and fields will share wisdom and practical advice during speaking sessions, workshops and panel discussions.

    The Equality of Opportunity. Rick Wade, Vice President, Strategic Alliances and Outreach, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, shares how to develop real, sustainable solutions to help close race-based opportunity gaps in four areas: education, employment, entrepreneurship and criminal justice.

    Developing Your Future Workforce. Brooks Harper, Author/Speaker/Career Expert, explains how to help your future workforce discover, develop, network and sell their talents, skills and abilities that bring tangible value to the workplace.

    CEO Session: Intentional Leadership. Carla Harris, Vice Chairman, Managing Director and Senior Client Advisor at Morgan Stanley, outlines how to be an outstanding leader in today’s environment, asserting that if anyone chooses to sit in the leadership seat, then they must be intentional about eight things in order to be a powerful, impactful and influential leader.

    Educating the Workforce of the Future. Joylee S. Cain, Co-founder and CEO of WeeCat Industries and WildCat Industries and Director, Special Education, Enterprise City Schools, and Deborah Owens, Cofounder and President, WeeCat Industries and WildCat Industries, share how they’re developing positive workforce habits in preschoolers.

    Charting the Course: Creating Your Roadmap to Success. Rodrigua Ross, District Executive Director of Operations and Diversity and Inclusion for the YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas, leads this workshop that gives tools and real-world applications for designing and implementing strategies to support organizational diversity, inclusion and equity.

    Panel Discussion: Navigating in a Disruptive World. Entrepreneurs Wade Preston, Co-Owner, Prevail Union Montgomery; Ashley Jernigan, Owner, JDB Hospitality LLC; and Felix Gilbert, Program Manager, Fearless, engage in a conversation to discuss how they’ve each navigated a health crisis, civil unrest and a generational shift in the workplace — all at the same time — without compromising their values, employees or customer base.

    MBJ asked keynote speaker Carla Harris to give us a sneak preview of what this year’s Diversity  Summit will provide participants.

    Please share your thoughts on the summit’s theme “Leadership that Transcends: Diversity, Unity and Shared Prosperity.” Why are these ideas important to discuss and promote? The professional environment has changed markedly in the last 20 years, and most people who are in positions of leadership today are leading the way they were led. That is not the leadership style that will motivate and inspire people to contribute and produce at the highest levels.

    What will your keynote address focus on/emphasize? I will discuss the pearls of intentional leadership and what it takes to be a powerful, impactful, influential leader in today’s environment.

    What do you hope summit participants take away from your address and from the event overall? I hope they leave with prescriptive advice and concrete tools on how to lead with today’s workforce of boomers, Xers and millennials, and how to drive and lead through change.

    Meet the Keynote Speaker
    The Diversity Summit’s keynote speaker for 2020 is Carla Harris, a Vice Chairman, Managing Director and Senior Client Advisor at Morgan Stanley. In her 30-year career, Harris has had extensive industry experiences in the technology, media, retail, telecommunications, transportation, industrial, and healthcare sectors, and for more than a decade, Harris was a senior member of the equity syndicate desk and executed such transactions as initial public offerings for UPS, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Ariba, Redback, the General Motors sub-IPO of Delphi Automotive, and the $3.2 billion common stock transaction for Immunex Corporation, one of the largest biotechnology common stock transactions in U.S. history.

    Harris was named to Fortune magazine’s list of “The 50 Most Powerful Black Executives in Corporate America” and its Most Influential List, U.S. Bankers Top 25 Most Powerful Women in Finance (2009, 2010, 2011), Black Enterprise’s Top 75 Most Powerful Women in Business (2017) and “Top 75 African Americans on Wall Street” and to Essence magazine’s list of “The 50 Women Who are Shaping the World,” Ebony’s list of the “Power 100” and “15 Corporate Women at the Top.” She was also named “Woman of the Year 2004” by the Harvard Black Men’s Forum and in 2011 by the Yale Black Men’s Forum. In August 2013, she was appointed by President Barack Obama to chair the National Women’s Business Council.

    In her other life, Harris is a singer who has sold-out concerts at the Apollo Theatre and released three gospel CDs. She has performed five sold-out concerts at Carnegie Hall. Harris is also the author of the books, “Strategize to Win” (2014) and “Expect to Win” (2009) (Hudson Press).

    Diversity can be a major difference maker for businesses of all types and sizes. Learn how embracing it can be beneficial. A full agenda, along with speaker bios, can be found on the conference website montgomerychamber.com/diversitysummit.
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