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Bridge Builders (Upstate Diversity Forum)

(l-r) Chris Fowler, Eric Miller, Jane Goolsby, Tim Justice, Athena Miller,
Tom Kazee, Monica Johnson, Samuel McPherson, Randall Nyp

Upstate Diversity Forum – Building Inclusive Organizations and Communities Discussions about diversity are occurring in small silos in limited industries and community organizations. Bridge Builders created the Upstate Diversity Forum to provide an opportunity for diversity leaders from private corporations, non-profit groups, and government organizations across all industries and areas of interest to discuss diversity and inclusion progress and challenges within their respective entities and the community.

The Forum’s primary purpose is to build inclusive organizations and communities in the Upstate. Bridge Builders partnered with the Greenville Chamber of Commerce, and the Chamber has agreed to host the Forum’s meetings. Bridge Builders suggests that the Forum decide how often it wants to meet, but it recommends that it meet no less than quarterly.

Modeled after the Middle TN Diversity Forum, the Upstate Diversity Forum will: (1) build awareness of the diversity in the community; (2) serve as a diversity resource to the community; (3) share best practices and benchmarking among organizations in the region; (4) assist organizations in strengthening and managing their diversity initiatives; (5) share diversity lessons learned; and (6) provide networking opportunities for its participants. Bridge Builders hopes that the Forum will soon become a resource to the community for information on how the region excels (or struggles) in diversity and inclusiveness.

Member organizations will be expected to volunteer to lead Forum meetings and provide speakers on various topics of interest. Bridge Builders suggests that the topics are selected by Forum members, but it recommends the following topics: (1) the state of diversity in the community; (2) recruitment and retention of a diverse workforce; (2) discussing the dimensions of diversity: disability/race/gender (each dimension can be a separate topic); (3) understanding and embracing the burgeoning ethnic populations of the Update Region; (4) understanding and managing generational differences; (5) the state of diversity in the community: demographics and discussion; and (6) best practices in diversity: Michelin/Furman/Greenville City/Greenville Health Systems (each company is a separate topic). The Forum should consider documenting these discussions for publication. The ultimate result of the Forum’s efforts will be to yield greater inclusion in organizations and communities across the Upstate.