Strengthening Utah’s Economy by Creating a Culture of Inclusion


(Christopher Cherrington | The Salt Lake Tribune)

In the wake of the Utah Economic Summit, the increased diversity of our state’s population demographics has sparked new and interesting conversations among the Utah business community.

In a report released by the Kem Gardner Institute last month, demographers predict continued growth in Utah’s ethnic minority population: in 2015 to 35% in 2065.

With Utah leading the country in terms of population growth, the boom in the tech industry at Silicon Slopes, home to the country’s second largest millennial population, and the influx of migrant, immigrant and immigrant populations. refugees, Utah has become increasingly diverse socially, across cultural, ethnic, generational, regional and economic lines.

So how are Utah business leaders responding to the increase in diversity in the workplace? Many companies are rethinking their marketing strategies, recruiting practices, and leadership training, but for the future of Utah’s economy, retention is the key issue. And, retention is culturally motivated. So how do you create a culture that will retain the diversity of talent in Utah?

Shawn Newell, seasoned business leader and champion of diversity in the private sector of Utah, believes that “diversity and inclusion create larger cultures and environments, enabling businesses and businesses to thrive, in an ever-changing economy ”.

Recognizing the connection between creating inclusive cultures and maintaining economic stability and growth, four community leaders came together to discuss how best to support Utah business leaders. Two weeks later, the Inclusion Experience Project was born.

The Inclusion Experience Project is a series of learning experiences designed to raise the awareness of leaders with the aim of instilling confidence, stimulating growth and creating a culture of inclusion in the workplace. Our first inclusion experience on June 13, Authentic Conversations in the Workplace, will examine the influence of race and gender in our conversations, interactions and decision-making.

Sara Jones, co-founder of the Women Tech Council and CEO of InclusionPro, sees the need for Utah business leaders to act now: “Utah leaders can work now to build inclusive skills to that companies benefit from strong and diverse teams. A critical voice we need in the inclusion conversation are those of white men. I’ve worked with white men my entire career and built bridges of understanding in areas where there aren’t many women or people of color.

What makes this project unique is our diverse management team. While each partner brings a different experience and perspective to the table, we also share the experience of being people of color pursuing higher education, developing our careers, and raising our families in Utah. Our diverse experiences qualify us to teach other leaders how to capitalize on the full value of every company’s greatest asset: their people. We’ve learned to navigate Utah’s social, cultural and economic landscape and know what it takes to retain diverse talent in Beehive State.

James Jackson III, founder of the Utah Black Chamber of Commerce, attests to the diversity that already exists in Utah today: “The minority is in the majority not only in West Valley City, but also in the larger districts. schools, Salt Lake and Granite. Utah is already diverse. And, since diversity has an impact on the economy, it’s important that Utah’s business community is proactive in understanding diversity so that we can retain the future village that we nurture.

Being from Hawaii, raised in Utah, and living in Washington, DC, working for 13 years with multicultural leaders around the world, I know what an inclusive and exclusive culture looks like. I have been the minority and the majority. The initiate and the stranger. The leader and the learner. I see a great opportunity in Utah because of our value system. Utah has always valued family, community and a strong economy. And, it is always the values ​​of a given society that determine how inclusive its culture will be.

The Inclusion Experience Project is a living project. Its power lies in the ideas and experiences of a diversity of people of gender, race, generation and industry. Join us in leading the charge of building a culture of inclusion and maintaining the stability and growth of Utah’s economy.

Sui Lang L. Panoke is the founder of Rethink International and one of the four co-founders of the Inclusion Experience Project. The other co-founders are Sara Jones, Shawn Newell and James Jackson III.

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