One organization and two individuals will be honored at the 27th annual Forum on Workplace Inclusion, the nation’s leading conference on diversity and inclusion that will take place March 17-19 at the Minneapolis Convention Center.

The forum’s diversity awards are given annually to organizations or individuals who show exemplary effort in addressing workplace-diversity issues. Recipients will be honored during a special luncheon on Thursday, March 19, at the Minneapolis Convention Center.

The 2015 recipients are:

Dr. Johnnetta B. Cole — Winds of Change Award, Individual

Cole’s long history of advocacy for many diverse communities and support for the work of diversity and inclusion has been an inspiration to many. She revitalized two historic black colleges as president of Spellman College and Bennett College for Women. She was the founder and leader of the JBC Global Diversity and Inclusion Institute which brought together diversity and inclusion leaders and practitioners to share knowledge and ideas and to grow the field. She was an early advocate of the LGBT community and through her support raised the bar of awareness. In 2009, she was appointed the director of the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art where she has stimulated great interest in the art of Africa throughout the country.

Mayo Clinic’s LGBTI (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex) Employee Resource Group — Winds of Change Award, Organization

Mayo Clinic’s LGBTI Employee Resource Group is working to change the face of healthcare by building awareness of the healthcare needs of the LGBTI community. They are driving patient-care changes and creating an inclusive workplace environment by providing tools and information about the LGBTI population for Mayo’s care providers. They’ve created educational programming for healthcare providers focused on LGBTI end-of-life care and the unique needs of LGBTI veterans. Their advocacy helped launch a pilot clinic addressing transgender and intersex specialty-care needs and led to the creation of Mayo’s Office for Health Equity and Inclusion. The new Office of Health Equity and Inclusion works on behalf of all patients at Mayo Clinic by assessing, recommending and implementing processes and changes that lead to inclusivity and health equity for all patient populations.

Renee Pagano — Friend of The Forum

For 13 years Renee has been the forum’s cheery presence and smiling face at registration, handling the crowds, working through problems that arise and managing a staff of well more than three dozen volunteers who come back year after year because Renee makes it fun. She works long hours before and during the forum to ensure participants have a trouble-free experience.

About the Forum on Workplace Inclusion

Presented by the Opus College of Business at the University of St. Thomas, the forum will bring together 1,1oo participants from 35 states and more than 300 companies.

Registration is still open for the conference, including the diversity awards luncheon. Participants can choose to attend either the full three-day conference from March 17-19, or single conference days. Special rates for travel and accommodations are also available. For more information and to register, visit the forum’s website.

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