An Update on Our Commitment to Addressing Racial Inequality
Four months ago, Concordia made a series of commitments to use our platform’s inclusivity, collaboration model, and community to address racial inequality. Our commitments were actionable and concrete first steps in a long-term roadmap for Concordia. Today, we are sharing our commitments in action and what’s next to ensure that this remains a focal point of Concordia’s efforts moving forward.
Concordia is committed to ensuring that inclusivity is built into the fabric of each of our events and our team selects diverse speakers to reach wide audiences and to include different points of view and experiences. Not only does Concordia have a commitment for gender balance, but also racial diversity. At this year’s Annual Summit, our team made strides in increasing the number of BIPOC experts and speakers with approximately 21% Black speakers out of all public speakers at the 2020 Concordia Annual Summit versus 7% Black speakers out of all public speakers at the 2019 Concordia Annual Summit and approximately 1 out of every 3 sessions including a Black speaker or expert. Our team will continue to exercise this commitment in future events, especially as we see organizations across all sectors making great strides at inclusivity in their C-level leadership.
At this year’s 2020 Annual Summit, our team introduced a new programming format: Community Partnerships. Through this model, Concordia was able to extend participation to on-the-ground grassroots nonprofit organizations to lead in versatile but poignant conversations. A key highlight of this format was the community partnership with 100 Black Men of America, a men’s civic organization and service club whose stated goal is to educate and empower African-American children and teens. As of 2009 the organization has 110 chapters and more than 10,000 members in different cities in the United States and throughout the world.
Their community discussion titled, “Mental Health: The Impact on the Black Community”, included two dynamic professionals within the mental health space with a focus on the Black community. The discussion touched on the taboos, COVID-19 pandemic, racial inequity, and trauma faced by the Black community and provided historical context along with recommended solutions for the future. The speakers included:
Dr. Edgar Hobbs, Jr. is a trained cultural psychologist, mental health counselor, published author, and Therapeutic Health Crisis Intervention Trainer; and
Ednesha Saulsbury, LCSW, Psychotherapist, Clinical Supervisor, BeHER Circle Facilitator, BeHER Circle Trainer.
This year marked the design and launch of the Concordia Action Alliance. Though this initiative was born with the mission to provide dedicated programming and a member engagement track to support partnerships addressing natural disaster and pandemic preparedness, response, recovery, and resiliency, we have incorporated addressing the issue of racial injustice and inequality from both a domestic and international lens to this mission. Covid-19 has highlighted tremendous discrepancies in communities of color and Concordia’s team will work to identify, spotlight, and connect organizations that are actively addressing these disparities.
Concordia gifted one Patron membership to Greyston Bakery, as their open hiring model gives an unconditional second chance to those with criminal justice histories, as well as people experiencing homelessness, substance abuse issues, or who are, for whatever reason, struggling to find steady work. Applicants simply write their names on a list, and they’re hired on a first-come, first-served basis. One of their biggest supporters is Ben & Jerry’s.
At our 2020 Annual Summit, Joe Kenner, President & CEO, Greyston Bakery participated in the Inclusive Workforce Development Strategic Dialogue. This SD brought together both experts in workforce inclusivity and prominent advocates to discuss the approaches taken by businesses and governments to create a more diverse, open global workforce. His participation in the SD garnered the most audience questions in the SD, demonstrating a tremendous potential for scaling the model into other sectors.
Concordia gifted one Patron membership to Black Crown Media, a partnership between Bronx natives Dre Manning, Jamie Beckford, and Steven “Flow” Pacheco who are equally passionate about sharing stories that accurately reflect the Black experience in all of its complexities and helping businesses scale. Their goal as a video marketing agency is to provide video production and digital marketing solutions to businesses/brands while also empowering them with data and metrics to help future-proof their operations.
As a crowning engagement at our 2020 Annual Summit, Black Crown Media and Concordia co-designed a “Business Day” event to support BIPOC business owners and entrepreneurs as they navigate typical hurdles and steps to owning and operating a successful business. Major takeaways included how to start a business and how to make it thrive. With learning modules led by business leaders and dedicated networking with peers, and an open Q&A period, it offered a micro-bootcamp for entrepreneurs and small businesses operating across the United States. The speakers included:
Anna Yakubova, Executive Director (NYC Department of Small Business Services)
Rick Wade, Senior Vice President of Strategic Alliances and Outreach (U.S. Chamber of Commerce)
Our Operations team has diversified outreach for our internship opportunities to reach a wider network and will be posting all internship opportunities on HBCU 20×20, the largest network of Historically Black Colleges and Universities job seekers. Additionally, we are committed to the inclusion of diverse voices to our small tight-knit team.
While the movement for racial equality has gained traction predominantly in the United States, we are seeing the need to address racial inequities on a global scale. Movements in Europe, Latin America, and most recently in Nigeria, mean that the conversation is far-reaching and encompasses our entire global community. Concordia is committed to continuing these conversations, providing resources for our team, and executing on operational commitments to strengthen our programming at our upcoming Summits.