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RECAP: The 10th Annual Inclusion Conference

Some 200 diversity and inclusion practitioners; senior HR managers; supplier diversity managers; procurement managers; and others descended on Westlake’s LaCentre Conference & Banquet Facility for a daylong discussion on how to have Bold, Inclusive Conversations in the workplace during the 10th Annual Inclusion Conference, hosted by the Commission on Economic Inclusion, a program of the Greater Cleveland Partnership.

Mary-Frances Winters, president and CEO of The Winters Group, and Brittany J. Harris, VP of innovation and learning at The Winters Group, led the crowd through several topics, including:

  • the role of fostering self- and ‘other-understanding’;
  • assessing individual and team readiness;
  • preparing for conversations;
  • guidance for engaging in conversations;
  • strategies for sharpening inclusive habits; and
  • applying the Model for Bold, Inclusive Conversations®

The benefits of uncomfortable conversations

During her opening remarks, Winters acknowledged that it’s not uncommon for employees and company leaders to shy away from holding talks that center around difficult topics such as race, politics and religion. It’s important to have these conversations, however, as doing so can yield many positive benefits for companies, Winters said. Some of the benefits are:

  • improved retention;
  • a feeling of enhanced psychological safety on the part of employees;
  • better cross-cultural understanding of coworkers; and
  • higher levels of engagement by employees.

“There is a business case to having these conversations,” Winters said.

Building a toolkit for Bold, Inclusive Conversations

There have to be tools in place to have these conversations before any of these benefits can be realized. Winters and Harris began introducing these tools through a series of interactive table discussions and audience participation segments that put a spotlight on how cultural orientations shape how people see the world and how these orientations can play out in a workplace setting.

It’s incumbent on businesses, Winters said, to create a safe, transparent place within their organizations where employees can consistently seek to find common ground and understanding with people who might hold different identities or cultural backgrounds rather than retreating into their own bubbles.

“You have to get over the shame and guilt associated with conflict so you can have teachable moments,” Winters said.

She explained that the first step in developing this toolkit is in building trust through straight talk and describing without judgment how another person’s background might influence how that person is perceived. As employees gain more experience and exposure in learning about what makes each person different, they will be better able to understand difference from a more complex place, she said.

Throughout the day, attendees shared some of the best practices their organizations have adopted in an effort to have more of these Big, Bold Conversations. For example, the Greater Cleveland Partnership has put in place a Diversity and Inclusion Discussion Group that seeks to build upon the Racial Equity Awareness training that all employees of the GCP are attending.

Want more insight into diversity and inclusion? Check out the Commission’s Best Practice Library that has a wide range of content on how diversity and inclusion efforts can help businesses succeed.

Help CMSD 11th Graders Create Resumes

As part of our college and career readiness work with the Cleveland Metropolitan School District Academies of Cleveland schools, the GCP is seeking business professionals who are interested in helping students prepare for real-life job opportunities by assisting them with creating and/or improving their resumes. Volunteers are needed for the Academies of Cleveland Resume Workshop on Thursday, August 30 from 8:30 to 11 a.m. Your role will be to guide the student through creating a resume and provide constructive feedback if they already have one. All volunteers will be given instructions and guidelines prior to the session.
The Resume Workshop will be held at East Professional Development Center. Please contact Angela Finding at 216-592-2385 or with questions or to volunteer. 

Share Your Industry Expertise with CMSD High School Students

The Academies of Cleveland (AoC) focus on college and career readiness for students in five Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD) high schools. Each school—Garrett Morgan, Jane Addams Business Careers Center, Martin Luther King Jr., Washington Park Environmental Studies and Max S. Hayes—concentrates on career pathways from a variety of industries that drive economic growth in our community.
We are inviting Greater Cleveland Partnership members to provide industry expertise and interactive, career-exposure experiences for AoC students at the 3rd Annual Ninth Grade Career Experience Fair on Thursday, September 27, 2018 from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. at East Professional Development Center.
We are recruiting representatives from the following industries to exhibit:
• Biomedical Science
• Engineering 
• Culinary Arts and Hospitality
• Finance
• Marketing
• Exercise Science and Sports Medicine
• Healthcare           
• Law and Public Safety 
• Animal Science and Management
• Horticulture and Landscape Design
• Automotive Technology; Construction Technology; Diesel Technology
• Manufacturing
To sign up, or to receive more information, please contact Angela Finding at or 216.592.2385.

Volunteer for True 2U

Recognizing that career readiness starts early, an innovative program True2U—a collaboration among the Cleveland Foundation’s youth development program, MyCom, the Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD), the Greater Cleveland Partnership and the Neighborhood Leadership Institute— provides eighth-graders with support to explore their purpose, identify their strengths and set personal goals for success.

We invite business professionals from all industries to volunteer as mentors for the program. We are now accepting applications for the 2018-2019 school year. Mentors will meet with a cohort of students monthly, for two-hour sessions, from October to May. 

To submit your mentor application, please click HERE.

For questions about mentoring, contact Angela Finding at or 216-592-2385.

Thank You GCP PAC Contributors

The Greater Cleveland Partnership Political Action Committee (GCP PAC) is vital to the growth of our region, staying ahead of the curve when it comes to the ever-changing environment of government and politics. On behalf of our members, the GCP PAC functions as a voice and a truly unique component. While GCP does not formally endorse candidates, our PAC does help allow the GCP to effectively showcase Northeast Ohio’s highest priorities by contributing to state and local candidates and officials that share the Cleveland business community’s interests.

Why the GCP PAC is important
As a non-partisan organization we are committed to our members and the values we stand by. The GCP PAC is critical because the political landscape is always evolving. With the GCP PAC, we are reinforcing and building relationships and growing and continuing to gain trust with all parties. We seize opportunities to help our businesses and economy grow, in part, by providing access to key decision-makers.

Why make a GCP PAC contribution  
For those who are looking to directly impact our communities, please consider contributing to the GCP PAC. With the smallest contribution you can help lay the foundation that is needed to help create better governing institutions, employed by elected officials that understand your challenges and will act. The GCP PAC will be able to use all contributions to achieve balance and we can take a step forward in creating a better system in one of the most unique ways.

How to make a GCP PAC contribution

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Greater Cleveland Partnership
Advocacy Department
1240 Huron Road E
Cleveland, Ohio 44115-1722