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Forum Insights – Attracting Residents & Building Community Resiliency through Cultivating Diversity

Recently the Sustainable Community Development Network (SCDN), facilitated by Sustainable Pittsburgh, and the Local Government Academy (LGA) organized an evening leadership forum for local elected officials and community leaders to discuss how cultivating diversity in the workplace and community will strengthen development and foster resiliency.

Among several takeaways, following are three key practices that will assist in the creation of a workplace or community that benefits all workers or residents:

  • Develop your network;
  • foster cross sector collaboration; and
  • consider diversity and inclusivity as a part of all policy decisions.

The enlightening and vibrant discussion was led by experts in workforce diversity, gender equity, employment law, gerontology, economic development, and immigration policy.

Several salient points resonated with Forum participants:

  • Create a broad definition of diversity for your organization and set specific goals for how you will foster it.
  • Actively develop your personnel recruitment network by regularly including people that are outside of your everyday range of personal contact. Feeling uncomfortable is common when attempting this.
  • Continually foster collaboration with those in and new to your network by specifically inviting them to join you on efforts and vice versa.
  • Diversity and inclusivity should not be something that exists in a vacuum, it must be a part of all policies and procedures.

A sincere thank you to all of the speakers, the City of Duquesne for hosting the Forum, and everyone who attended.

Featured Speakers:

Melanie Harrington, Executive Director of Vibrant Pittsburgh
Discussed how to cultivate proactive leadership to foster diverse workforces that accelerate economic growth and workplace success.

anupama jain, Executive Director, City of Pittsburgh’s Commission on Gender Equity
Shared experiences from her extensive academic and organizational work with gender equity solutions.

Shon K. Worner, Senior Associate, Campbell Durrant Beatty Palombo & Miller, P.C.
Explored the legal aspects of equitable access to employment and human resources.

Shad Henderson, Director of Community Partnerships and Investments, Neighborhood Allies
Discussed the “All In Pittsburgh” initiative and how equitable development can ensure that everyone participates in and benefits from the region’s economic growth.

Wasi Mohamed, Executive Director, Islamic Center of Pittsburgh and a steering committee member for Change Agency
Talked about the creation of programming that can provide simple actionable steps to improve community equity.

Laura Poskin, Director of Age Friendly Pittsburgh – an initiative of Southwestern Pennsylvania Partnership for Aging
Illustrated the need for policy that addresses the varied ages and abilities of residents and how it will create a stronger, more resilient region.


Photo credit: Hayden Sloan