View our conference agenda at: http://www.nwpublicemployeesdiversityconference.org/category/conference-agenda/
Diversity/Equity Practitioners Session (By Invitation Only)
This session is limited to practitioners who’s primary responsibility is to lead and implement diversity, inclusion and equity practices within their organization. In this 90 minute session participants will engage in a facilitated discussion regarding the challenges and progression of diversity, inclusion and equity work. The emphasis will be internally focused on the following areas; policy development and implementation, recruitment, retention and promotion of professionals of color. We will use this as an opportunity to share knowledge and best practices.
Facilitated by Dr. James L. Mason, Ph.D., Executive Director for Providence Health and Services Culturally Competent Care Giving.
You will be contacted regarding your participation, and input via a survey by Rekah Strong, Clark County’s Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer.
Workshop Period 1: 8:45 am – 10:15 am
Portland Ballroom 252
Executive Session (By Invitation Only)
The Executive Session is limited to invited elected officials, executives, department and bureau directors and members of their senior management staff.
Workshop Period 2: 10:30 am – 12:00 pm
Portland Ballroom 252
Equity and Empowerment Lens, Part II: Moving Into Action
This year’s follow-up Executive Session will focus on how Multnomah County is implementing the Equity and Empowerment Lens (racial justice focus) within its structure and practices. The Lens is a quality improvement tool comprised of a set of engaging questions and educational materials. It is one key method used to improve decision-making, prioritizing, and partnership-building, all moving towards the bigger goal of eliminating the root causes of inequities in our communities and organizations. An application of the Lens identifies strengths and challenges in the areas of equity and racial justice. From such an assessment, key recommendations are created to improve organizational processes, structures, and environments, guided by the values of fairness, equity, and inclusion.
We all play important roles in this critical work. Come participate in an engaging practice-based session that will (1) highlight best and promising practices that move an equity lens into action, (2) provide current examples of managers and staff who have been applying the Lens to their work, and (3) provide a guided discussion during which participants briefly apply the Lens.
Opening Remarks: Chair Jeff Cogen, Multnomah County
Lead Presenter: Sonali Sangeeta Balajee, Senior Policy on the Equity and Empowerment Lens; Office of Diversity and Equity, Multnomah County
Case Study Presenters:
Kim Peoples, Road Services Division Director, Multnomah County
Karen Schilling, Planning Director in Transportation and Land Use, Multnomah County, and Transportation Policy Advisor to Board of County Commissioners
Seriously, Portland, We’re Not That Different – Linda Banks and Barbara Walker, VOICE
This workshop will involve the story of “Growing up in Portland” as a person of color in a white neighborhood. It will cover the majority groups of the United States and highlights overall benefits to Oregon/the US, with emphases on inclusion. The use of paradigm examination, consciousness raising, storytelling and the participatory process for impact will be conducted along with at least two exercises that allow participants to interact with one another.
Understanding the Impact of Social Class on Service Delivery – Wayne Scott, Multnomah County
What do we mean when we say “social class”? Does it really exist in the United States? How do unspoken beliefs, misunderstandings, and myths about social class influence our interactions with citizens, clients, and co-workers? The goals of the workshop are 1) to provide a framework and an open forum for participants to examine their beliefs about social class – a topic often considered taboo in this country; 2) to understand how those beliefs inform interactions with citizens, clients, and co-workers; and 3) to begin to imagine ways of transcending class biases and misunderstandings in interacting with others across differences in income, education, occupation and wealth.
Overcoming Poverty Together – Abby Ahern, Clackamas County Social Services
People experiencing poverty often feel marginalized by a society that has generally negative opinions about them. American society has a strong history of discounting those who “fail to pull themselves up by their bootstraps.” This workshop is designed to help folks understand the damage these negative societal views have on one’s ability to overcome the often temporary experience of poverty. If we can change the way we view people in poverty from lazy to hard-working and from stupid to creative and resourceful, we may be able to transform the experience of poverty. When we can better-understand each others’ struggles and relate to them, it is easier to give each other a place at the table in the workplace, in policy development, and in our larger economy. This creates a more inclusive society in which the wisdom gained from experiencing poverty is part of a successful multicultural community.
Intentions vs. Impact: Addressing Unconscious Bias in the Workplace – Caprice Hollins, Cultures Connecting, LLC
This workshop will raise participants’ awareness of racial microaggressions, well-intended phrases, actions, and assumptions that belie unconscious stereotypes and biases. Examining microaggressions helps to open the dialogue for more authentic conversations and relationships. We will look at ways to cultivate a welcoming work environment based on a deeper understanding of racism and privilege, rather than a presumption of colorblindness. The workshop focus is on courageous conversations as a tool for inclusion and respect. When we closely examine the impact rather than the intent of our words and actions, we begin to see how the comfort of the majority culture is often prioritized over the comfort of marginalized populations. A foundation of sustainable diversity is built on honest dialogue about unconscious bias.
Working with Veterans – Commissioner Diane McKeel and Panel
Veterans face unique issues and challenges in the workplace, and it is important to educate managers and co-workers about these issues and how to improve the ability of employers to accommodate the experiences and needs that veterans present. Discussion of the resources, services, and support opportunities that Multnomah County provides to veterans employed by the County, including a Veterans Employee Resource Group and Veterans Task Force.
Gay & Grey: Understanding the Unique challenges LGBT Individuals Face as they Age – Lauren Fontanarosa and Mimi Newhouse, Friendly House
Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) older adults face a host of challenges as they age. This workshop will provide background and insight on how the aging process is different for LGBT individuals. This workshop will be feature a panel of three LGBT older adults who will share their experiences on issues such as: discrimination in housing and health care, the higher level of homophobia they grew up with, fears LGBT elders have about moving into senior living facilities, fears LGBT elders have about coming out to service providers, the challenges that transgender elders have that are different than LGB elders, and the health disparities present in this population.
Equity & Social Justice: Economic & Social Conditions That Impact Health – Greg Taylor, Community Connection Consulting
This workshop is designed to provide participants with a deep understanding and insight of how social, economic and environmental conditions in communities of color where people live, work and play, powerfully impact and shape health outcomes. Participants will examine how social determinants cause racial and ethnic health inequities. They will learn why majority-minority communities are more likely than majority-white communities to face environmental health risk, are less likely to have safe spaces for exercise and recreation, and also face a poorer retail food environment. Participants will explore promising strategies that research show can address the heavy concentration of health risk in communities of color.
White Privilege in the Workplace – Ilsa Govan, Cultures Connecting, LLC
When trying to practice multicultural inclusion, too often the focus is on fixing “the other”, that is, staff or clients of color, leaving White perspectives, culture and identity normalized and unexplored. Through storytelling, discussion and experiential exercises we will shift the focus to examine how white cultural norms and privileges can create barriers to equity. By bringing into focus the ways white privilege operates on a personal and institutional level in organizations, we will be able to see how white allies and people of color can work together to reform systems and engage in culturally responsive practices.
Diversity in Your Workplace – Multnomah County Health Department Diversity and Quality Team
What is diversity? There’s a lot of talk about diversity in today’s workplace, but the word “diversity” can mean many things to different people. In this interactive workshop, we will be exploring the concept of diversity and what it means in an ever changing organization. Building a culture of inclusion and multiculturalism can only be accomplished once we’ve established a foundational understanding of diversity. This workshop encourages conversations that will provide participants with an understanding of diversity and how it currently affects their organization. With this knowledge, participants will be equipped with the awareness needed to begin working toward a culture of inclusion and multiculturalism in their workplace.
Creating an Inclusive Culture: Who Takes the Lead? – Judy Trotter McAfee, Business Consultant
This workshop will clarify, discuss and build on commonly held terms and definitions, such as: diversity, affirmative action, equal employment opportunity, inclusion and culturally sensitive; culturally appropriate service. We will explore and discuss provocative questions and issues, such as: why have diversity programs failed or been wildly successful? We will draw on participants’ historical and anecdotal experiences within their workgroup or larger organization. Participants will suggest or recommend practices or policies that would support or help to create a stronger, more inclusive workplace. There will be examination and discussion of practices including hiring, training, employee development, and face-to-face or phone customer service.
Tight, Phat, Cool, Copacetic©: How Four Generations View and Respond to Inclusion, Multiculturalism, and Culturally Responsive Service – Judy Trotter McAfee and Peggy Ross
This workshop will explore multi-generational definitions, perspectives and behaviors related to inclusion, multiculturalism and culturally responsive service and will examine workplace practices, policies and behaviors related to these values. Participants will engage in interactive same-generational and mixed generational breakout groups. They will explore, summarize and share their respective observations and conclusions in large group feedback. Attendees will also engage in a brief period of individual reflection and documentation.
Using Humor to Break Down Barriers and Build Stronger Relationships – Leigh Anne Jasheway-Bryant, M.P.H., the Comedy Workout
The focus of this workshop is on inclusion and understanding when stereotyping and language go too far. This interactive session will use games and exercises designed specifically to help participants learn the value of humor as a social bonding tool, how to avoid using divisive language (e.g., “it’s just a joke”), and techniques for creating a positive environment in which people laugh and play with each other, not at each other’s expense.
Developing an Inclusive Workplace Culture by Understanding “The Danger of a Single Story” – Lillian Tsai, TsaiComms LLC
This two-hour interactive and discussion based workshop is based on the TED.com speech by a Nigerian author, Chimamanda Adichie whose 19-minute dissertation was based on the premise that one point of view, one image or just “one story” causes us to buy into the idea or concept that can influence each of our worldviews but isn’t always the right one. The audience will watch the video after a brief introduction, and then dialogues, self reflection and discussions in small and larger groups will be facilitated by the two speakers, Lillian Tsai and Jennifer Kleskie.
Building Diversity into Environmental and Sustainability Programs – Molly Chidsey, Metro
Oregon and the Portland metro region are rapidly becoming more diverse. Yet environmental and sustainability programs tend to reach and engage a less diverse audience. How can our environmental and sustainability programs evolve to meet this challenge and be more relevant to a broader constituency? What are some ways to be more inclusive and bring more racial and ethnic diversity into our programs? This session will address the timely subject of ways to bring diversity and inclusion to public agency’s environmental and sustainability programs. A panel of speakers will share context for why this topic is critical to the success of the movement as a whole, and share examples of how to build diversity into these programs in real-world programs from the Portland region.
Forming Strong, Inclusive, and Multicultural Partnerships; Discover New Partners during “Collabro-dating”! – Multnomah County Citizen Involvement Committee (CIC)
The Multnomah County Citizen Involvement Committee (CIC) will host a panel presentation and interactive discussion focused on strategies about how to form successful partnerships that embrace inclusion and multiculturalism. The panelists will be leaders from community organizations that have formed successful inclusive and multicultural partnerships. Within the context of partnerships, they will present information focused on how to maximize inclusion and the accommodation of diversity when identifying new partners, conducting outreach, and delivering services to clients over time. The information will include their experiences, best practices, lessons learned and related tools. Panelists will then answer questions from the attendees. Attendees will also participate in “Collabro-dating”—a fun and engaging exercise designed to identify and get new partnerships off to a running start.
Spotlight on Hidden Disparities; Creating Visibility and Awareness of LGBT Elders – Multnomah County Aging & Disability Services
This session features a screening of the critically-acclaimed documentary GenSilent. The filmmaker asks six LGBT seniors if they will hide their friends, their spouses – their entire lives, in order to survive in the care system. Their surprising decisions are captured through intimate access to their day-to-day lives over the course of a year. It puts a face on what experts in the film call an epidemic: gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender older people so afraid of discrimination by caregivers or bullying by other seniors that many simply go back into the closet. Unlike any film before, Gen Silent startlingly discovers how oppression in the years before Stonewall now affects older lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people with fear and isolation.
Microaggressions: Addressing Workplace Indignities – Stephanie McBride and Cat Goughnour, Uniting to Understand Racism
Microaggressions are verbal, behavioral, or environmental indignities that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative slights based on racial, perceived gender identity, social class, etc., difference. Perpetrators of microaggressions are often unaware that they engage in such communications. This workshop will give participants an opportunity to find solutions and help create a more harmonious work environment.
Transgender Children & Youth in Our Communities – Jenn Burleton, TransActive Education & Advocacy
According to a recent Harvard School of Public Health research study, 1-in-10 children/youth experience social and cultural marginalization, isolation and abuse due to gender nonconformity, and transgender children and youth and their families not only share that experience. Public employees and service providers at almost every level interact with families like these on a daily basis. These employees are in a unique position to provide interaction that is inclusive, culturally responsive and affirming of the right these families and kids have to equal access to services. The workshop will provide attendees with in-depth information that will assist them in their interactions with the growing number of transgender and gender nonconforming children, youth and their families.
Employee Resource/Network Group: Nuts and Bolts Guide – Multnomah County Employee Resource Group for Immigrants and Refugees
Employee Resource/Networks Groups add significant value for employees who participate, the community and Multnomah County’s workforce. For example, they can become resources for the employees they represent, a voice to surface issues for improvement, a means of networking with people of the same diversity dimension and a source for coaching and mentoring. This workshop will explore how employee resource groups are both beneficial to employees and Multnomah County. Travis Graves, Multnomah County HR Director, will discuss how ERGs can have a positive effect on employee engagement, foster career growth, reduce turnover, etc. He will also describe the county’s efforts to institutionalize resource groups and alignment with the county’s values.
The film “Reaching for the Future” produced in cooperation with the Multnomah County Communications Office will be presented to workshop participants. This film shows how immigrant and refugee employees at Multnomah County come together to celebrate their resourcefulness and unique strengths, while addressing the challenges of American communication styles, the undervaluation of their experiences and education, and the unique perspectives they bring to the work place.