The Diversity Forum Events

Upcoming Events

“Who’s Mentoring Who? The Millennials or the Baby Boomers?”

Eric Watson, Executive Consultant

In today’s digital and fast pace environment a Millennial Mentor can be invaluable! Not only can you leverage their knowledge and facilitate mastery of technology, but you both learn inclusive behavior. The duality of reciprocal growth removes hierarchy and builds inclusive behavior skills.

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“Legal Update on the #METOO Movement”

Charles Johnson and Susan Huber, Attorneys from Robinson Bradshaw

Is your organization prepared to handle an allegation of sexual harassment in the era of #MeToo? This program will focus on preventing sexual harassment in the workplace and managing harassment complaints and associated litigation risks. Attorneys Charles Johnson and Susan Huber from Robinson Bradshaw will discuss the legal framework for workplace sexual harassment and retaliation claims and offer practical advice for developing and implementing sound policies, responding to complaints, conducting investigations, resolving disputes and navigating the desire for confidentiality in the face of heightened media attention.

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Previous Events

* All past events were approved for HRCI credits.

“The Sandwich Workforce: Employees Caring for Parents in Corporate America”

Joe Machicote, Senior Vice President of Human Resources and Chief Diversity Officer 

Joe Machicote, SVP of Human Resources and Chief Diversity Officer will walked us through an informative view of aging and ageism in America. Joe will took a deep-dive and turn the table on discussions in workplace aging.  In a presentation and conversation, Joe covered topics such as the aging LGBTQ population, loss of relevance, seniors discriminating against seniors, losing friends and family, loneliness, newly found freedoms, changes in healthcare, love and relationships and more.


“Microaggression in the Workforce”

Brandon Risher, Psychologist, M.A., L.P.A., HSP-PA

Brandon Risher is a psychologist who has a dual Master’s Degree in Clinical/Community Psychology and is currently a psychologist and associate director of a private practice group serving a variety of populations including adults, children, adolescents, couples, and families. Microaggression occurs when people are put down through comments that a person may not see as derogatory to other cultures, races, and genders.  It’s the everyday banter that most people are unaware may offend or insult their peers.  Brandon had guests expand their minds and become more aware of their word and actions, as they aspire to bring everyday interactions to a higher level of awareness.


“Employing Veterans: Misconceptions, Myths and Major Opportunities”


Cindi Basenspiler, Managing Director of Upshot Inc., Author of Opportunity Cost: Owning Your Choices


Andrew Barnes, Project Manager and Veteran Team Member Network Director of Wells Fargo

Paul Bill, Director of Charlotte Bridge Home 

Charles Spicer, Lead Military Recruiter of Duke Energy

Paul Turevon, President of Paul Turevon Consulting

Joshua R. Van Kampen, Partner of Van Kampen Law, PC

This enlightening panel discussion was given by veterans who are actively involved in hiring and aiding veterans in finding and keeping employment.  Each panelist brought their own perspective to the discussion and gave insight into what obstacles veterans need to overcome when transitioning into the corporate world and what it feels like transitioning.  They also gave advice on how to not just hire, but retain veterans, as well as resources available for both employers and veterans.


“Disability in the Workforce: Legal Implications & Practical Applications”

Nadine Vogel, President & Founder of Springboard Consulting, Author of  DIVE IN

Nadine Vogel, acclaimed author and CEO of Springboard Consulting, LLC, provided an informational session on working with and hiring employees with disabilities.  The topics involved understanding the rights of employees with disabilities, as well as some accommodations to make when including employees with disabilities.


“Get Big Things Done: Unleash your Connectional Intelligence”

Erica Dhawan, Founder and CEO of Cotential and co-author of Get Big Things Done: The Power of Connectional Intelligence.

Erica Dhawan led this workshop on connectional intelligence.  Connectional intelligence is the connection of knowledge, ambition, and human capital.  Through applying connectional intelligence, people are able to maximize their potential to benefit their performance in developing strategies and solving problems.  The participants of this session included diversity & inclusion leaders, HR professionals, and business leaders. The participants created an action plan utilizing connectional intelligence to become a power player in their organizations.


“An Evolving Legal Landscape: Understanding LGBTQ Employee Rights”

Charles E. Johnson & Angelique R. Vincent-Hamacher, Attorneys at Robinson, Bradshaw & Hinson, P.A.

Charles Johnson & Angelique Vincent-Hamacher led this seminar that focused on Understanding LGBTQ Employee Rights. The participants of this session involved Diversity & Inclusion Leaders, HR Leaders and LGBTQ ERG Leaders. The contents of the seminar included current developments in the law regarding:

  • Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
  • Welcoming and Accommodating LGBTQ Employees
  • LGBTQ Employees and (Other Employees’) Religion


Issues, Opportunities and Best Practices for Outreach, Recruitment, Employment & Retention of Individuals with Disabilities

Nadine Vogel, President & Founder of Springboard Consulting, Author of  DIVE IN

In celebration of National Disability Employment Awareness Month, we welcomed acclaimed author and speaker, Nadine Vogel of Springboard Consulting. The session highlighted specific examples of the do’s and don’t’s of actions, language, etc., that resonate with everyone’s experiences. The participants were given the knowledge needed to have confidence in speaking with and working side-by-side and engaging with anyone who either has a disability or who has a dependent with special needs. 


“What Does THAT Mean?” – Seeing Through Diverse Lenses

Charlotte Hamlin, Ph.D., Educator, Trainer and Storyteller

Charlotte Hamlin led this interactive session that played out both workplace and social interactions that we’ve all found ourselves in. Personality styles and cultural conditioning strongly influence communication patterns and working relationships in ways that may be confusing or upsetting to other people with contrasting styles. Drawing on research into personality, cognitive styles and cultural communication patterns, this event assisted participants in recognizing and appreciating personal strengths and blindspots of their own communication styles and respond constructively to people with contrasting styles to create satisfying relationships.


In Celebration of Women’s History Month – Women Markets & Innovation

Dr. Sunil Erevelles, Chairman, Department of Marketing at the Belk College of Business at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte 

Dr. Erevelles lead a presentation on the role of women in today’s workplace, how this role has evolved over time, and how we can work to improve it. The event included round table discussions led by Diversity Forum Chairman, Eric Watson, around the role influential women have played in our own lives – personally and professionally.


Day of Cultural Competence – Experience, Exposure, Immersion

Mary Frances Winters, Diversity & Inclusion Strategis

How Culturally Competent are You?

Whether you operate locally, regionally, domestically and/or internationally, a global mindset is necessary to succeed in today’s increasingly complex social, economic and political environment. It is no longer enough to be “aware and sensitive” about our differences and similarities, we have to ratchet up our knowledge and understanding of others to a higher level.

This interactive, experiential and highly engaging session will focus on:

  • Understanding the meaning of cultural competence;
  • Learning how you can become more culturally competent;
  • Demonstrating how cultural competence can positively impact your bottom line.


One Mind, Many Peoples

Dandapani, Hindu Priest and Meditation Teacher

The theme for this event was, “We best understand others when we understand ourselves first.”

The workshop began by first exploring the practice of acceptance. When we can accept ourselves for who owe are, we can accept others for who they are. Then we focused on the most important topic of the morning – understanding our mind. By learning the inner workings of our mind, we learn to control and direct our mind, hence our lives. This helps us to understand ourselves better and in the process, understand others. Then, we learned a simply, yet highly effective tool to program the patterns of our mind to create new ways of thinking.

This was a practical and interactive workshop, focused on sharing simple tools that are applicable in everyday life, be it personal or business, that when put into practice can create a change that can be sustained. 

Changing our Heads, Hearts, & Hands – From the Inside Out

Lee Mun Wah, CEO, StirFry Seminars.

After Lee Mun Wah’s presentation at the May 23, 2012 Diversity Forum, we had many requests to bring him back to Charlotte to help finish what he started in Charlotte. Said the Diversity Forum Chairman, Eric Watson, “Much has been said about cultural competence of which the essence is understanding oneself. Through cultural competence, we create more inclusive environments that become richer and more sustainable as we change our thinking, our feeling, and our actions – our heads, our hearts, and our hands.”


Growing Personally, Growing Your Business, Impacting the World

Lee Mun Wah, CEO, StirFry Seminars

Lee Mun Wah, founder and CEO of StirFry Seminars has revolutionized the field of diversity through his internationally acclaimed films and seminars. His film, The Color of Fear, won the Gold Medal for Best Social Studies Documentary. In 1996 Oprah Winfrey did a one hour special on Lee Mun Wah’s life and work that we see by over 15 million viewers internationally. Since then, Lee Mun Wah has continued directing films and documentaries and writing books.

It is Lee Mun Wah’s belief that we cannot wait until tomorrow for some charismatic leader to appear who will bring us all in this important journey of confronting our fears and beginning a conversation not only with those we love, but also with those we have been taught to fear. Our survival and the future of our children depend on all of us embracing our differences as well as our mutuality. If we can accomplish this in our lifetime, we can then look back and know that we have found a way to live together authentically and harmoniously, using and honoring all of our gifts and special contributions.


Follow a Compass, Not a Map

Steve Donahue, Best Selling Author

Like implementing and promoting a successful organizational inclusion program, the exploration and leveraging of one’s inner diversity is continuous. It is a path of constant growth, daily challenge and regularly stepping out of one’s comfort zone (uncharted territory). It is about “being real” everyday and having the greatest possible impact at work. To achieve this growth and authenticity leaders need to keep following their inner guidance system (compass), identify and develop strengths, acquire new skill sets and leave behind old habits and ways of thinking (maps). To punctuate the ongoing, never ending quality of their development, leaders must also stop periodically to recognize, integrate and celebrate the new aspects of themselves they have discovered and the skills they have acquired (coming home).

This inspiring presentation anchored attendees in a powerful process this was simple, effective and transformational. It is also transferable to group experiences that attendees could take back to their companies, as it produces solid and measurable bottom line benefits.


Measuring the Effectiveness of Your Diversity & Inclusion Initiative:

Strategy – Authentic – Execution

Vincent Brown, Co-Founder & Managing Partner, Global Novations, LLC

 In previous Diversity Forum’s, we have discussed the importance of diversity and inclusion in the workplace, but the question remained: How do we know how successful our efforts have been? During this event, we learned how to measure the effectiveness of diversity and inclusion initiatives. Vincent utilized real-time polling and discussion to help audience members leave with the tools necessary to measure the diversity and inclusion initiatives that were currently in place at their own companies.


Workforce/Workplace: The Benefits and Challenges of Diversity & Inclusion

Debra Plousha-Moore, Senior Vice President, HR, Carolinas HealthCare System

Debra Plousha-Moore, SVP of Human Resources at the largest healthcare system in the Carolinas, spoke to her audience about the evolution of cultural diversity in the workplace. From developing a language to communicate diversity and inclusion concerns to first creating training programs, diversity and inclusion in the workplace has undergone many changes throughout the years. Though in time the acceptance of cultural diversity in the workplace began to show economic value, Plousha-Moore stressed that the work is not done – hence the importance of The Diversity Forum.


Diversity & Inclusion Practices to Sustain Employee Engagement

Joe Machicote, VP, Talent Management and HR Services, Lance, Inc.

Employee engagement should always be of great importance to companies, but it becomes even more important during the difficult times. This Diversity Forum with keynote speaker, Joe Machicote, focused on teaching the “how-to’s” of diversity and inclusion by hearing the best practices of successful firms in the Charlotte area.


Current States of Mind: Diversity

Frank Newport, Ph.D., Editor in Chief, Gallup Poll

Frank Newport, the Editor in Chief of the Gallup Poll, and the co-author of Winning the White House 2008: The Gallup Poll, Public Opinion and the Presidency, traveled to Charlotte to help us to explore the mentality of human beings as it relates to the various facets of diversity.


The Value of a Diverse Culture:

Recognizing, Prioritizing & Actualizing Your Firms’ Diversity & Inclusion Strategies

Kevin Henry, Chief Human Resources Officer, Coca-Cola Bottling Co.

Kevin Henry spoke on how diversity is a force that cannot be ignored by the people and companies throughout the world. The responsibility is our own to ensure that our workplaces, communities, and thoughts are of an inclusive nature. Kevin also stressed that we all must make a cognizant effort everyday to recognize and appreciate the differences in those around us as it only makes us stronger as a society.

The keynote address was followed by a special legal presentation by Ogletree Deakins: “Discrimination Hot Spots: Disability, Religion, & Sexual Orientation.”


Are Your Employees Ready to Compete in a Global Economy? How to Build and Retain a Diverse Workforce

Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., President of Taylor Holdings of Broward, Inc.

The inaugural Diversity Forum was led by Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., the President of Taylor Holdings of Broward, Inc. He led the audience through exercises on how to ensure that companies know how to build and retain a diverse workforce. Following the keynote address was a panel discussion led by representatives of some of Charlotte’s successfully diverse companies.


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