Baltimore City Mayor Sheila Dixon praised the Greater Baltimore Committee for its minority business development initiative and challenged the business community to tackle uncomfortable issues in the business sector, such as culture, race, economic issues and income.
The GBC took the initiative “to realize that in the private sector, we needed to commit an urgency in people” to nurture an economic “renaissance” that is characterized by diversity, Dixon told GBC members at a Bridging the Gap spring diversity event on April 17.
Dixon was the keynote speaker at the event, which was held at the Maryland Science Center. The program also included workshops on small business strategic planning and cultivating diversity as part of a business plan.
It is important to create a diverse community, not only in business and assisting minority and women-owned businesses, but also a way that the workplace should look, said Dixon. “Diversity is an important issue in every walk and facet of life.”
Traveling to other countries in her previous career reinforced her belief that “there’s something to be gained from working with people who don’t look like us here at home,” said Dixon. “Diversity makes us richer in more ways than one.”
“When we look at our businesses and when we cultivate opportunities, we have to go out of the box and really get out of making decisions based on race, income, or gender,” she said. “We’ve got to move this city, state, and country to another level of being inclusive.”
Presenters at the event’s opening session and workshops included Robert Zimmerman, a partner at Deloitte & Touche; Stanley E. Porter, principal at Deloitte Consulting, LLP; Kenneth A. Merritt, senior manager at Deloitte Consulting, LLP; and Janese Murray, corporate diversity manager at Constellation Energy.