Van Jones

The Forum on Workplace Inclusion Announces 2017 Diversity Award Winners

One organization and two individuals will be honored at the 29th annual Forum on Workplace Inclusion, the nation’s leading conference on diversity and inclusion that will take place March 28-30 at the Minneapolis Convention Center. Keynote speakers will include Van Jones, a civil rights leader, former Obama White House adviser and CNN political correspondent; Tiffany Jana, founder and CEO of TMI Consulting Inc., a D&I firm based in Richmond, Virginia; Subha V. Barry, vice president and general manager of Working Mother Media; and Admiral John C. Harvey, retired from U.S. Navy Commander.

Housed at the University of St. Thomas, the forum will bring together 1,300 participants from 40 states, 11 countries and more than 300 organizations. Registration is still open for the conference, including the March 30 diversity awards luncheon. Participants can choose to attend the full three-day conference from March 28-30, or just the first day March 28, or the second two days on March 29 and 30. Special rates for travel and accommodations also are available. For more information and to register, visit the forum’s website here.

St. Thomas students, faculty and staff are invited to stream via simulcast both Jones' remarks on March 29 and Barry's remarks on March 30.

The forum’s diversity awards are sponsored by U.S. Bank and are given annually to organizations or individuals who show exemplary effort in addressing workplace diversity issues. Recipients will be honored during a special luncheon Thursday, March 30.

The 2017 recipients are:

Michele Meyer-Shipp: Winds of Change Award, Individual

Michele Meyer-Shipp is vice president and chief diversity officer at Prudential where she leads and supports her company’s diversity and inclusion efforts and ensures compliance with Equal Employment Opportunity and affirmative action laws.

Michele Meyer-Shipp

Meyer-Shipp is an extraordinary leader who launched her company’s three-pillar diversity and inclusion strategy, promoted an employee disability self-identification campaign, leads equal employment opportunity and unconscious-bias education training efforts for management, and leads employee discussions on topics such as gender in the workplace, remembering Orlando, and navigating through race and police-shooting issues.

A graduate and former adjunct professor at Seton Hall University School of Law, Meyer-Shipp is an employment-law expert who is sought to speak at industry and professional association conferences. She approaches inclusivity as a personal mission, mentoring employees and community members and serving on numerous national boards, such as the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, the National Organization on Disability, and the Women’s Presidents Organization. For three consecutive years she made the Black Enterprise List of Top Executives in Corporate Diversity.

Meyer-Shipp has raised awareness and has been a catalyst for change for diversity and inclusion issues, both within the financial services industry and on an organizational and community level. Her experience, passion and advocacy for equality in all forms embody the essential values of integrity, excellence and work ethic. For her broad and deep support of diversity and inclusion issues, the forum’s awards committee is proud to present Meyer-Shipp with the 2017 Winds of Change award.

Department of Citywide Diversity and Equal Employment Opportunity for the City of New York: Winds of Change Award, Organization

New York City’s Department of Citywide Diversity and Equal Employment Opportunity (CDEEO) has been at the forefront of efforts to increase diversity and promote inclusion in the workforce of New York City, the largest municipal government employer in the country and the most ethnically and culturally diverse city in America. Of the 360,000 people employed by the city, 58 percent are women and 61 percent are racially diverse.

New York's Department of Citywide Diversity and Equal Employment Opportunity

This nine-member team has responsibility for the approval of annual diversity and EEO strategic plans and quarterly workforce dashboards across 40 mayoral agencies. The execution of those plans has accomplished training for more than 50,000 city employees in less than three years. Areas of focus include unconscious bias, LGBTQ inclusion, disability etiquette and EEO workplace rights. Additionally, women and people of color now represent the majority of city officials and administrators, a first in the city’s history of reporting to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

In October 2016, CDEEO hosted a historic gathering of diversity and human-resource practitioners from the public sector. This national colloquium for public-sector thought leaders convened 140 participants representing 67 agencies across 12 municipalities. The City of New York repeatedly has secured a score of 100 on the HRC’s Municipality Index for its inclusive LGBTQ policies such as Executive Order 16, which affirms the rights of the transgender community to use same-sex facilities in city-owned or -operated buildings based upon their gender identity and/or expression. Executive Order 21, also issued by Mayor Bill de Blasio, places a ban on salary inquires during employment offers, a policy directly focused on gender equity.

With these clear examples of exceptional work, the forum is happy to present CDEEO its 2017 Winds of Change award.

Jordan Roberge: Friend of the Forum Award

Jordan Roberge, manager of individual accounting for Minnesota-based HealthPartners, has been a forum volunteer since 2008, shortly after moving to the Twin Cities from New Hampshire.

Jordan Roberge

He has served on the forum’s program and logistics committees with current responsibility for the efficient operation of the Marketplace. He had developed relationships between the forum and regional nonprofits, advocated national sponsorship of the forum across multiple industries and promoted exhibit sales.

While many forum participants have seen him announce drawings and other events at the conference, you most likely would find him behind the scenes making sure forum logistics are running smoothly. His organizing efforts include signage throughout the convention center and covering all forms of social media, including his insightful tweeting.

A resident of Minneapolis, Roberge is a New England native who studied at the University of New Hampshire. He relocated to the Twin Cities in 2007 to lead diversity and inclusion for Supervalu.

Because of his willing spirit, can-do attitude and limitless commitment, the forum is pleased to present its 2017 Friend of the Forum award to Roberge.