Making the decision to diversify

Last Thursday I was given the opportunity to attend Huntington Banks’s Seeds For Growth workshop held at the Columbus Museum of Art. Seeds for Growth is a professional development opportunity for executive directors, presidents/CEOs, board leaders and development directors of local nonprofit organizations–therefore the invite I received from my supervisor was extremely generous. The half-day event, which is free to attend, was first held in Columbus, Ohio, in 2002. This year’s event was central around the theme of diversity, with educational sessions discussing the following topics:

Diversifying Your Staff and/or Audience

Diverse Ways in Which Funders Can Impact Your Programs & Mission

Sharing Your Agency’s Message through Media Diversification

and finally the keynote presentation…

Diversity Through Art: A case study

All in all, the community workshop was amazing. The panelists were fantastic; they were engaging, knowledgeable, and inspiring. In my role as a Columbus Foundation fellow, I am constantly trying to learn more about the non-profit environment in Columbus and more about the leaders who commit their time and talents to serving our community. So as you can imagine, sitting and networking with the CEOs and development directors of familiar and notable Columbus organizations while receiving and processing the very same workshop information as they were was pretty darn cool. I left the event with pages of notes, a few business cards, and a whole new outlook on my role as a member of the Columbus community.

The keynote presentation was truly my favorite part. It included a distinguished panel that stressed the importance and value of diversity in art–and the responsibility of the consumer to diversify the products that they purchase. It led to a reflection of my own purchasing practices and the ways in which I decide to use my buying power as a consumer. It brought back memories of that really awesome Ethiopian restaurant where I ate with my older brothers last New Year’s Eve, Lalibela, or the cool art show I visited with my friend a few months ago. It reminded me that there is so much culture to explore and plentiful opportunities for us to engage with the rich culture that Columbus provides. My $5 admissions fee to a show at the Lincoln can make a difference, as does my support of the local Taqueria instead of Chipotle. Overall, it was a refreshing afternoon that invited truly necessary and important conversations about diversity, and how every little bit of support counts when celebrating at that Columbus has to offer.

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