Discussing diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace

Local News

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Community leaders and business owners gathered Thursday in Sioux Falls to discuss diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace.

The conversation about diversity, equity and inclusion is important and timely.

“We as a city and a state need to attract more people to come work in Sioux Falls and we need the message to the world to be it’s a welcomed place for you and your family, and we need to be better doing that,” Sioux Falls Chamber of Commerce President Jeff Griffin said.

“People learn differently, they act differently, they have different social norms, their work ideas are different and so for us to be successful we really have to stretch our comfort level to really understand what inclusion means,” Grand Prairie Foods owner Valerie Loudenback said.

More than 300 people attended Thursday’s DE&I summit.

Valerie Loudenback owns Grand Prairie Foods in Sioux Falls and was a member of the event’s CEO panel.

“It’s one thing to get people to work for you, the next step is how do I make it the best place for them to work? How do I help them advance to where they want to go and how do we improve our culture so that everybody is growing together, and it’s not easy work,” Loudenback said.

The conversation will continue with the DE&I Activator Series, an 11-session webinar series designed to help guide business owners.

“The relationships and the sharing of information, the larger businesses and the smaller businesses together at the round tables that will sprout up, as a result, is a great incubator for us to get ideas going,” Griffin said.

“You’re going to allow everyone to be able to have the same conversation around the same information. Most people are not going to be talking about diversity, equity, inclusion in my workforce unless we bring it to them,” Loudenback said.

This morning’s summit was the first step in that process.

The DE&I Activator Series is free. It’s funded through Forward Sioux Falls and the Chamber of Commerce.

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