As we celebrate Black History Month, I am encouraged by the commitment to expanding Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) education and opportunity in our organizations and the community.
Ames is no stranger to diversity. As a university-town, we’ve long welcomed people from all over the world into our community. We are home to the only Division I stadium named for a Black individual. In fact, Iowa State College, as it was then known, has welcomed students of color since its founding in 1858. What an incredible legacy.
Today, we continue to strive for a more equitable society for all. Our team at the Chamber is working hard to create programming, networking opportunities and resources that offer education and take-home strategies that empower you to become a culture changemaker in your organization and throughout our community.
This fall we will host our fourth annual Symposium on Building Inclusive Organizations. As always, the program will be engaging and interactive as well as cover a variety of topics that fall under the DEI umbrella. To build on this popular program and content, we will also be offering three new events throughout the year as a part of our Changemaker Series. These events are designed to open discussion around best business practices for diversity, equity, and inclusion. We are intentional about providing a platform to discuss insights, offer idea sharing, and engage discussions with organizations of all shapes and sizes. The first event will be held in April and focus on Empowering People with Disabilities in the Workplace. Be on the lookout for additional event and registration information in the near future.
If you are looking for a way to get involved or support people of color in our community, I encourage you to utilize our Minority Business Enterprise Directory. This directory includes over 70 self-reported businesses in 21 categories, and this is only the first version! We will continue to review and update the directory throughout the year as more and more businesses ask to be included.
Finally, we are also developing a new section for our website that is dedicated to DEI resources. While in the early stages, we are excited to collaborate with local organizations and experts to provide critical information and connections for businesses of all sizes.
We will continue to advocate for DEI initiatives and opportunities in business and community alike. Together we can strategize on how to implement, foster, and encourage diversity, equity and inclusion in Ames, Story County and beyond.