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20 Session Descriptions

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    2020 Session Descriptions

    Keynote Address - Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity: Let’s Discuss the Difference
    Presenter: James Wright -  Diversity & Inclusion Strategist, Trainer and Speaker

    Many would say Diversity is being asked to the party and Inclusion is being asked to dance. But how does this analogy relate to equity and why does it matter? If you are a part of an organization who has succeeded in maintaining diversity in your hiring and you’ve actually included multiple diverse groups of employees across the scope of your business, have you taken the next step to ensure that everyone has access to the same opportunities. The notion of equity accepts that biases and obstacles exist for many that do not exist for others. Essentially it means realizing that we don’t all begin on an even playing field and then working to compensate for that fact. Achieving equity in the workplace requires actively correcting for the disparity – or inequity – of advantages enjoyed by some and not others. In this session we will discuss these definitions and the actions required to ensure we are living up to them.

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    Best Practices for Accommodations: Religion, Gender Identity, Transgender, & Disabilities
    Presenter: Julia Méndez Achée, SHRM-CP, CDR, CDP, CAAP, PHR, CELS -  Principle Business Consultant for Affirmity

    Employers are starting to see increased requests from applicants and/or employees for accommodations due to a disability, religion, gender identity, or transgender status.  Attendees of this session will hear practical solutions for creating a more inclusive workplace.

     Workplace Applications:

    • Learn what activity is protected under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, and the Americans with Disabilities Act, and Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act
    • Hear about recent cases involving discrimination due to a denial or lack of a reasonable accommodation
    • Create more inclusive workplaces

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    Getting Louisiana Talent Back to Work: Unlocking the Job Market for the Formerly Incarcerated
    Presenters: Patrick Young - Talent & Workforce Development Training Manager for the New Orleans Business Alliance 

    Nearly 700,000 people are released from prison each year and are locked out of the job market. Those who have served their time should not be “re-sentenced” by employers, especially when businesses are experiencing a human capital crisis.

    • Is there a need? – Labor Shortages
    • Where can you find ready applicants? - # of people returning from incarceration
    • Beyond Ban the Box – tips for employers to hire
    • Second Chance – finding success with another opportunity

    Second Chancers are a vast, largely untapped labor pool of hard workers with immense potential for success. Listen to learn more about Second Chancers (also known as workers who have previously been incarcerated), how to hire them, and how you can support talented workers in need of a second chance.

    In my talk, I will discuss the various ways that Opportunity Centers works with Second Chancers, including finding work and matching them with employers willing to offer an opportunity at meaningful employment.

    Workplace Applications:

    • How large this untapped workforce is
    • The benefits of hiring ex-offenders
    • Top challenges in hiring ex-offenders
    • About successful case studies

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    Implementing Legally-Compliant Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives: Practices, Pitfalls, and Opportunities
    Presenters: Kimya S. P. Johnson - Senior Counsel at Ogletree Deakins and Robert Perryman - Associate at Ogletree Deakins

    Even the most well-intentioned employers seeking to recognize and strengthen diverse and inclusive cultures in their workplaces face many challenges, including determining where to start, what to do, and how to measure the success of diversity and inclusion initiatives.  And the most experienced D&I practitioners often face new challenges in implemention.  This presentation provides a road map for designing an effective D&I plan, practical tips for executing a comprehensive plan, a discussion of new D&I issues, and an analysis of the pitfalls to avoid in ensuring a legally-compliant and successful D&I plan.

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    Practical Diversity: Taking Inclusion from Theory to Practice
    Presenters: Alejandra Guzman - Vice President of Real Estate & International Business Development for the New Orleans Business Alliance, Amy Bakay, SHRM-SCP - Founder of HR NOLA, Amy Landry - CEO of Landry Training, LLC

    Women still account for fewer than 5 percent of the chief executive positions in the US, UK and Europe, according to new research that suggests efforts to diversify corporate leadership may be stalling.  

    Diverse companies have a competitive advantage when recruiting top talent, have a better understanding of their customers, employee satisfaction, and better decision making. This all leads to a cycle of performance that ultimately leads to financial success. During this session, diversity expert, Alejandra Guzman, will walk you through information that validates the importance of diversity for organizational success as will provide some practical tools and advice to get both individuals and organizations to the path of achieving their diversity goals.  

    The session will end with an 'Ask the Expert' with two experts in women's leadership and retention, Amy Bakay and Amy Landry.

    Workplace Applications:

    • Learn about the benefits of diversity for organizational success
    • Create more inclusive workplaces
    • Identify tools that both individuals and organizations can implement to promote diversity
    • Identify organizations and programs that can support diversity goals
    • Connect with experts in the field 

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