Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Reportback: Step Up to Diversity! presented by Torch Community

Torch Community, an organization which aims to connect young professionals in the Minneapolis-Saint Paul region, orchestrated a fantastic event entitled “Step Up to Diversity! What I Can Do NOW: Being the Diversity Competent Leader.” Minnesota Rising, along with BRIDGE-MN and the National Association of Asian American Professionals – Minnesota Chapter (NAAAP - MN) co-sponsored the event. Each of the co-sponsors took time to share their current work concerning leadership and diversity among young professionals. The evening’s presenters found fun and engaging ways to talk about leadership and diversity though hands-on activities, such as shaping something you find meaningful out of pipe cleaners.

The evening’s keynote speaker was the highly entertaining Jermaine Davis. Jermaine gave an inspirational and interactive talk on diversity. With his anecdotes and exciting tales, Jermaine found a way to combine the perfect amount of humor, statistics and classic quotes in order to emphasize the importance of having open discussions about diversity and being a diversity leader in our communities. For example, Jermaine revealed that over half of the children under
age 10 in the United States are children of color and asked participants to consider what the implications might be of this diversifying demographic on our future workforce, healthcare, education, and more.

Jermaine chronicled how he was able to reestablish a friendship with his seemingly delinquent younger brother through what he calls cognitive complexity – the idea that you try your best to consider another’s perspective and the conditions of their subjectivity. The relationship between Jermaine and his brother was given a second chance when Jermaine stopped trying to change his brother and learned to accept his brother and his brother’s actions before making assumptions. Jermaine is a Communications professor at Century College and has authored more than 10 books on leadership, diversity, inclusion, and more.

If you missed this great event, be sure to visit MinnesotaRising.org to watch for more great upcoming events for young professionals!

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