Topeka, KS, March 21, 2017– Backed by GO Topeka and the Greater Topeka Chamber of Commerce, Included aims to be the authority on diversity and inclusion within businesses and organizations throughout the region.  Each of the participating organizations has made the commitment to improve and grow their diversity and inclusion initiatives to increase awareness in their own organizations as well as the overall community. The Included committee is currently made up of representatives from Advisors Excel, Alorica, Bartlett & West, Big Heart Pet Brands, Express Employment Professionals, FHLBank Topeka, Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Mar’s Chocolate, OneGas, Payless ShoeSource, SE2, Security Benefit, Topeka Public Schools, Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library, Washburn University and Westar Energy; however more are invited to join and take part in the growth of this effort in our region.

“I see Included falling directly in line with the initiatives and efforts that Topeka and Shawnee County are currently working toward,” said Lonnie Walker Jr., diversity and inclusion analyst for FHLBank Topeka. “Included will help organizations within our area become more focused on diversity and inclusion, which supports the overall economic development of Topeka and Shawnee County. When you look at other cities around the country that have really supported this type of initiative, you can see how they have begun to thrive.”

“This is but another extension of the core principles of growing, building and stabilizing Topeka and Shawnee County,” said Janet Dulohery, vice-president of human resources with SE2. “Included will acts as a foundational piece from which revitalization will really kick off. Diversity and inclusion serves as an invitation for businesses, organizations and people which conveys Topeka is ready for growth and welcomes them.”

According to a study by McKinsey and Company, companies that are considered gender-diverse outperform those companies that are not by 15%, and companies that are ethnically diverse outperform by 35%. In a separate study conducted by Forbes, businesses that are labeled as “diverse” and “managed” have employees that have a 2.3 times higher cash flow over a three-year period. This study shows that the benefits to a business to become more diverse go beyond just human resources.

Included will provide organizations the resources and assistance to create these initiatives within their overall mission and goals. These will consist of toolkits and communications that provide best practices in diversity and inclusion. Included will also act as a convener of professionals to come together consistently to foster conversations and continue education.

“This is the biggest initiative of growing diversity and inclusion that Topeka and Shawnee County has ever seen,” said Michelle De La Isla, diversity and inclusion representative for Westar Energy and city council person. “When you see something take off and receive support as fast as Included has, you know that you are providing something that is more than just wanted in the community, it is needed.”

“It is very important that this initiative arose from and is owned by the business community,” stated Matt Pivarnik, president and CEO of GO Topeka and the Greater Topeka Chamber of Commerce. “In this way, they are the stakeholders that are pushing progress forward, which shows our peers that Topeka and Shawnee County cares about diversity and inclusion. Ultimately, it allows us to attract new businesses and workforce to our area.”

“The Topeka Chamber is very happy to support Included,” said Eugene Williams, vice-chair of diversity and inclusion for the Greater Topeka Chamber of Commerce. “In addition to helping businesses grow and become prosperous, the key to its success will be the leadership involved. Being able to create character and dimension in leadership roles throughout the community will help form a more inviting region. Expanding our economic landscape through diversity and inclusion initiatives is something tangible that makes sense and has proven to be successful.”

Included strives to be the definitive resource and partner in the community as the voice and catalyst of Diversity and Inclusion in the greater region. To find out more information about Included or joining this inititative, contact ibelong@in-cluded.org. Additional information can be found at www.in-cluded.org.

About GO Topeka
GO Topeka creates opportunities for economic growth that provide a thriving business climate and fulfilling lifestyle for Topeka and Shawnee County.

About the Greater Topeka Chamber of Commerce
The Greater Topeka Chamber of Commerce strives to advance the general welfare, quality of life and prosperity of the Greater Topeka area to benefit the citizens and the community. An emphasis is given to the economic, civic, commercial, cultural, industrial and educational interests.

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If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Barbara Stapleton at 785.234.2644 or bstapleton@gotopeka.com.

Sources:

http://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/organization/our-insights/why-diversity-matters

https://www.forbes.com/sites/joshbersin/2015/12/06/why-diversity-and-inclusion-will-be-a-top-priority-for-2016/#3c930db52ed5

 

Matt Lara

Matt Lara

Matt is the resident social media guru and website guy, working on the marketing and communications team. He supports GO Topeka, the Topeka Chamber of Commerce, Entrepreneurial & Minority Business Development, Forge and Heartland Visioning.
Matt Lara