Chandler Chamber discusses workplace diversity - SanTan Sun News SanTan Sun News

Chandler Chamber discusses workplace diversity

July 9th, 2019 SanTan Sun News
Chandler Chamber discusses workplace diversity

By Casey Flanagan


Business leaders and city officials in Chandler are working together to increase workplace diversity by raising awareness of unconscious bias and setting an example of inclusion for the next generation of workers.

Tyler Conaway, a member of Paypal’s risk management team, spoke at a round-table discussion held by Chandler’s Chamber of Commerce last week, teaching local business owners how to spot their own biases in the hiring process and elsewhere.

“The easiest way to have bias and prejudice is to not recognize when you have it,” he told them.

Conaway is also a leader within Paypal Pride, the online company’s LGBTQ affinity group. He said the group’s goal is to “take the values we have; respect for each other, valuing uniqueness, really trying to create that all-inclusive environment,” and “take it outside of our walls.”

He said Paypal Pride works with other organizations worldwide that share the same vision; and that the Chandler Chamber was one of those.

Niki Tapia, a community resources and diversity supervisor for the City of Chandler, said she hopes to work in association with the Chandler Chamber on a campaign welcoming people from all backgrounds to work in the city.

Tapia said this isn’t necessarily a new idea, and many chambers already advertise their cities as “open for everyone.” Specifically, she said, Scottsdale already has a campaign in place titled “Scottsdale for All.”

Tapia also shared her plans to work with elementary and middle schools in Chandler to show students representations of different backgrounds within career paths.

She said kids seeing people similar to them in successful positions can be a great motivator.

“Girls seeing women like them, maybe who live in the city, in positions of an engineer, a lawyer or a CEO, themselves,” she explained. “Seeing that can happen for them to help motivate them, I want to work on a program like that.”

The Kyrene School District is taking similar steps to introduce kids to the concept of diversity, according to Joelle Green, who works in communications and marketing for the school district.

Green noted that Kyrene’s superintendent council has plans to discuss “equity, inclusion and biases,” with students in the coming school year.

Green said she plans to suggest exercises she learned at the Chamber event for the superintendent council to show students.

Green said the school plans to partner with the consulting company Corwin to train employees on diversity as well, including “everybody, all the way from our building managers, to teachers, transportation folks, all that.”

Principals and administrators will start training in July and the rest of the staff in August.

The Chandler Chamber of Commerce has held round-table discussions involving diversity and inclusion multiple times over each year since in 2017, according to Chamber President/CEO Terri Kimble, who added that over 100 different businesses will attend the diversity events over a year.

A study conducted for Mckinsey and Company’s quarterly magazine found companies with more diverse executive boards are significantly more successful than those with less diversity.

After researching 180 publicly traded companies in the U.S., France, Germany and the U.K., the study said companies in the top quarter of executive team diversity experience 53 percent more returns on equity overall than those on the bottom quarter. It also said the top quarter companies realize 14 percent larger profit margins before interest and taxes overall than those that have the least diverse management.

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