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2023 Press Releases

Posted on: June 20, 2023

Former State Rep. Brian Sims Among Expert Panelists in Montco Inclusive Leadership Webinar

DEI Pride Panel Graphic

NORRISTOWN, PA — As part of its series on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI), Montgomery County is inviting anyone interested in learning how to better understand their coworkers’ differences and recognize their own biases to attend a virtual panel discussion on inclusive leadership. The 1-hour webinar is scheduled for Friday, June 23 at 12 p.m. on Zoom. 

Former PA State Rep. Brian Sims, the first openly gay state legislator in Pennsylvania, will lead the conversation along with Deja Lynn Alvarez, a transgender woman and LGBTQ public health advocate, and attorney and LGBTQ advocate Nellie Fitzpatrick.

“The webinar is titled inclusive ‘leadership,’ but it is not just for organizational leaders,” explained Montgomery County’s Chief of DEI Donna L. Richemond. “The webinar is for anyone who is interested in developing an organizational culture that allows everyone to be their authentic selves in the workplace. The focus is on how important it is to face the biases that we all have, and also having a mindset that is inclusive of all people, including those from the LGBTQIA+ community.”  

The panelists will provide insights and guidance for creating LGBTQIA+ inclusive practices that address:

  • Creating a welcoming, positive environment where people treat each other with dignity and valuable assets with potential and skills.
  • Exploring how both leadership and rank-and-file employees can be driving forces to make inclusion, diversity, equity, and LGBTQIA+ rights key values.
  • Addressing the importance of proactively adopting LGBTQIA+ inclusive policies to set organizations up to win with talent and build future-facing organizations where everyone feels like they belong.

Richemond says another benefit from this session will be to remind attendees of the power that they hold to influence change. 

“We all have a certain amount of power and influence, but the issue is how to use that influence to make sure our organizations are inclusive enough whereby individuals feel like they belong and that they’re not marginalized,” she said. “The panelists will explore how to use that influence beyond Pride Month and to help people make an inclusive mindset a part of their everyday thinking.” 

Research has shown that employees can take three steps to becoming allies with marginalized coworkers. The first is acceptance – being non-prejudiced. The second is action – taking visible steps to stand up against acts of discrimination and inequality. The third is humility – acknowledging one’s shortcomings while identifying areas for improvement. 

Richmond noted that there is also a pragmatic reason for wanting to learn more about inclusiveness.

“LGBTQIA+ inclusion is one of the most important issues facing businesses and organizations in the current climate,” she said. “In order to connect with and retain great talent, organizations must demonstrate their commitment to fully supporting each individual worker in their professional journey, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.”

Viewers can join the online seminar and post questions for the panelists during the session. Click this link to register.

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