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Indiana Black Expo panel discusses diversity in local work force

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Posted at 5:54 PM, Jul 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-12 13:53:56-04

INDIANAPOLIS — Diversity is more than just providing work for different types of people, that was just one of the topics highlighted during a panel discussion about workplace diversity at the Indiana Black Expo on Monday.

"We have talent in Indiana who are diverse," moderator Akila Darden said.

Darden is the Director of diversity, equity, and inclusion at IU Health Design and Construction.

While moderating the panel — which included business owners and leaders — she gave some ad

"If you don't diversify now you will not be in the game later," Darden said.

Darden stressed diversity isn't just race.

"Diversity matters and we're coming to the table. Realize that people see your culture and they either want to be a part of it or not," Darden said. "If you accept people from where they come from regardless of what they identify with. And they're comfortable, you will get their best self and all of their experience."

"If you don't diversify now you will not be in the game later," Darden said.

She said that's because diversity starts with culture, and added if you don't provide a welcoming culture you won't find employees.

Tonya Sisco the Executive Director of diversity and inclusion at Cummins spoke in the panel Monday. She said businesses need to be open to diversifying.

"It's very important. If we look at statistics black communities and businesses, in particular, aren't supported," Sisco said. "So if you look at COVID, 40% of black businesses were lost over the course of four months. I think the other thing is asking for help. Often times we don't ask for the help that we need and if you don't ask for it then people can't support you."

Darden hopes conversations on diversity won't have to happen in the future.

"Find where the barriers are and then find the people than can help upscale, so there are no barriers," Darden said. "It's unfortunate that we have diversity goals, but I want people to come to the table as their full self and I want people to see that diverse people can lead and we do have a talent."

Both Cummins and IU Health are hiring.

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