Economic Development, Human Resources, and Nonprofits

Learn the ROI of diversity, equity and inclusion from Grand Rapids leaders

October 7, 2019
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Jesse Bernal
Dr. Jesse Bernal, vice president for inclusion & equity at Grand Valley State University, will serve as the emcee at the Grand Rapids Chamber’s 2019 Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Summit. Courtesy Grand Rapids Chamber

The Grand Rapids Chamber is presenting the 2019 Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Summit on Nov. 1 at the JW Marriott in Grand Rapids.

At the event, attendees will learn the ROI of DEI from the lens of leading champions of diversity.

As studies have proven time and time again, companies with greater workforce diversity outperform their competitors. In today's competitive arena, successful companies capitalize on diversity and inclusion as a source of competitive advantage. The workforce comes from different backgrounds, skills and aptitudes. Far from being a challenge, diversity can increase innovation, acceptance and problem-solving capacity.

Dr. Jesse Bernal, vice president for inclusion and equity at Grand Valley State University, will serve as the event emcee.

“Grand Valley is proud to be a diverse institution where people of all backgrounds, beliefs and identities come together to live, learn and work,” Bernal said. “We see inclusion and equity as strategic imperatives — agile teams of diverse thinkers and people can ignite innovation, strengthen understanding and relationships and improve outcomes at all levels.

“Diversity, equity and inclusion are a lifelong learning journey. At the DEI Summit, we’ll celebrate those who have made a strong commitment to this work and continue learning together.”

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Summit speaker lineup

The Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Summit features a lineup of keynote presentations and leadership lessons from top companies receiving recognition for their commitment to this work. A panel discussion with the area’s top health care systems will provide actionable insights for employers and their teams.

Speakers include:

Leadership lessons

  • Leander LeSure
    Chief human resources officer, Herman Miller​
  • ​Timothy L. Williams
    Vice president, diversity and inclusion, Meijer Inc.

Panel discussion: The Competitive Advantage of DEI

  • Ovell Barbee, SPHR
    Senior vice president, human resources, Spectrum Health
  • Dr. Rhae-Ann Booker
    Vice president of diversity, equity and inclusion, Metro Health-University of Michigan Health
  • Ane McNeil
    Chief human resources officer, Mercy Health and Saint Joseph Mercy Health System

Keynote presentations

  • Risha Grant
    Founder and CEO, Risha Grant LLC
  • Patti Poppe
    President and chief executive officer, Consumers Energy

Attending the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Summit

Research shows that more inclusive companies have 2.3 times higher cash flow per employee over a three-year period and 1.7 times more likely to be innovation leaders in their market. An investment in the DEI Summit is an investment in your company and your team.

Tickets for the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Summit are available now. You can register or purchase a table for your team at grandrapids.org/dei-summit.

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