July 20, 2022 1:55pm
GLI’s DE&I programs highlighted in Frankfort
Addressing the Commission on Race and Access to Opportunity in Frankfort, Greater Louisville Inc.’s Senior Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Dana Johnson, highlighted the programs that GLI is focused on to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in the business community in our region.
Johnson spoke about the programs GLI has engaged in to encourage businesses to examine their values and commit to policies and practices that advance equity and opportunity within their own leadership and across our community. Johnson spoke of the “power of the Chamber” and the impact that the business community can have when we engage in this work together.
Three key programs and events that GLI has implemented were highlighted:
- Business Council to End Racism (BCER) – Along with business and community leaders, GLI formed the BCER in 2021 to examine how the voice of the business community can highlight racial and equity issues and the impact on marginalized communities.
- Breaking the Mold: Progress through Procurement – In June 2022, GLI hosted the first of these events which connected 29 minority-owned businesses with 12 GLI investor corporations for potential procurement opportunities. The event facilitated over 100 connections between the minority business participants and the corporations being pitched for procurement services. This program is one of the ways that GLI is working to connect minority-owned businesses with access to potential vendor relationships while also encouraging the business community to diversify their spending goals.
- Power to Prosper Minority Business Accelerator (MBA) – The hands-on, cohort style program provides minority-business owners with the knowledge, resources, and networks for their businesses to scale. The MBA graduated 12 business owners in its augural class last year. The 2nd cohort, currently underway, has 20 participants selected from more than 100 applicants.
The Commission on Race and Access to Opportunity is statutory commission formed by the Kentucky General Assembly in 2021 to conduct research and find solutions to advance equity and opportunities for minority populations throughout Kentucky. Its membership consists of eight bi-partisan state legislators and five appointed community social policy experts. The Commission meets monthly during the Interim Joint Session.
Many businesses in our region have embraced the work of advancing diversity and equity within their own ranks by instituting formal DEI policies, supporting minority-owned businesses through vendor spend, and creating mentoring opportunities so that minorities can build professional relationships to help them advance. More than 230 companies in Greater Louisville have signed GLI’s Racial Equity Pledge committing to building a more inclusive economy.
The advancement of policies aimed at advancing equity and inclusion in our community remain priorities for GLI and the business community, including criminal justice reform, maintaining a diverse and inclusive workforce, and ensuring inclusive economic development.
For more information on GLI’s DEI programs, click here.