City of Dublin Series Reflects on Equity, Inclusion, and Business Community Response to BLM
At the City of Dublin’s final Dublin Reality Check of 2020, the city brought together panelists to discuss how businesses should respond after a summer of civil unrest that saw demonstrations and calls for change right here in Central Ohio.
The latest event in the series, “So, You Made a Statement About Black Lives Matter… Now What?” brought together panelists, including Franklin County Commissioner Kevin Boyce, Cardinal Health Chief Technology Officer Ray Bajaj, City of Dublin Chief Innovation Officer Doug McCollough, and Per Scholas Managing Director Toni Cunningham.
The conversation touched on how these companies were answering calls for diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace, from recruitment and training, to boards and executive committees, and where there is more work to be done.
Commissioner Boyce notes a few key takeaways from that conversation.
“Diversity and inclusion is not just hiring Black faces or women or folks who represent another minority of some sort,” said Boyce.
He gave the example of a hiring practice that involves blind hiring and how that could be an effective way for businesses to eliminate biases and ensure diversity in the workplace moving forward.
“Diversity and inclusion is about embracing the idea that the more diverse that your workforce is, the better product you put out, the more ideas that will be on the table, and the more inclusive it will be to encourage people to live in that community from all around,” he said.
During the discussion, virtual viewers clung to an impactful quote from Commissioner Boyce when discussing how organizations were measuring success in diversity and inclusion: “Setting goals does not level the playing field,” he said, but is merely an acknowledgement of the growth that is needed. He expands on that conversation further, and what this means for companies in the City of Dublin.
“The measurement will be in what we see from the results of all of this. Will their workforce become more diverse?” he said. “Will their procurement and partnerships, relationships outside of [the] City of Dublin become more diverse? Will they be more inclusive as it relates to women and African-Americans and other minorities both in a way they live in Dublin, work and play.”
Chris Borja, founder of Borja Virtual Conferences and Events and moderator of the panel, looks back at this conversation with Central Ohio leaders as an important next step in making tangible change, not just now but in preparation for the future.
“To see the change starting from the top and to see that change is intentional, it doesn’t happen by chance or luck or a wish. It starts with people that have a vision of how things can be better and taking action towards it,” he said. “Not that everyone doesn’t have a role to play, but I feel like those in the business community have [an] added visibility, exposure, influence, that they can utilize for sparking the change.”
Borja says given our schedules, it is easy to claim there’s not enough time for this conversation. He recognizes the panelists, as well as the City of Dublin, for being committed to the discussion.
“With the way the pandemic and all the normal responsibilities and all the change that’s happening, to be able to create time is awesome,” said Borja. “Just for the City of Dublin, to be able to put something like this together, to recognize that there’s a need to have this kind of discussion and this type of forum to where we can openly talk and discuss as a community and learn together and grow together.”
Boyce similarly thought not being afraid of this conversation reflected well on Dublin’s leadership in the Central Ohio region, as an unwillingness to talk about race and diversity publicly often becomes a hindrance to progress.
He also hopes the conversation results in genuine action items to make the city stronger and more inclusive.
“Dublin is taking a leadership role for suburbs of Central Ohio who say that we just want to be better. It is a more affluent area and doesn’t have the diversity that other place has, yet they’re taking it head on and they understand the value,” he said. “And I really hope that some of the other suburbs follow suit.”
Watch the full Dublin Reality Check panel discussion here.
Our technology series is presented by our partners in the City of Dublin.
Dublin is a city of more than 47,000 residents located just northwest of Columbus, Ohio. The City of Dublin Economic Development team has a vision to make Dublin a Midwest IT Magnet through business leadership and sustainable workforce development. This commitment goes beyond short-term skills training to include long-term strategic and cultural support for the entire Dublin business community. Dublin is one of America’s Top 20 Creative Class Cities and is home to more than 20 corporate headquarters, an entrepreneurial center, 3,000+ businesses, world-class events and the urban, walkable Bridge Street District.