DAP’s 5th Annual Diversity Summit Reached Record Attendance With Powerful Speakers and Opportunities for Networking

Jun 8, 2015

Hundreds of non-profit and business professionals, as well as students, packed Webster University’s Community Music School auditorium for Diversity Awareness Partnership’s 5th Annual Diversity Summit. One week prior to the event, the St. Louis region’s largest diversity gathering was already sold out with almost 500 registered guests! Packed with a keynote message, special performance, announcement about the growth of DAP’s youth programming, and opportunities to network and learn about diverse organizations in the region, DAP continues to receive remarkable from attendees.

StephenYoung_1_SmallThis year’s keynote speaker, Stephen Young, has traveled internationally hosting his MicroInequities: The Power of Small™ seminar. As the Senior Partner of Insight Education Systems, a consulting firm that specializes in management, leadership and organizational development, Young has worked with upward management and executives of Fortune 500 companies. Also the author of “Micromessaging: Why Great Leadership is Beyond Words,” Young’s MicroInequities: The Power of Small™ seminar focuses on the new paradigm of diversity by addressing culture changes.

Young presented the keynote during the first half of the Diversity Summit. Guests learned that MicroInequities are often unconscious and reveal bias. Young emphasized that these messages, concentrating more on communication at places of employment, reveal the true makeup of the relationships we have in our corporate environments and they tend to speak louder than the words that are actually used. Throughout the keynote message, Young engaged the audience with activities to better understand MicroInequities. Learn more about Stephen Young’s work by reading his biography, or visit the Insight Education Systems website to learn more about the consulting firm.

MichaelSFosberg_Headshot1_SmallAfter a power break, attendees at the Diversity Summit reentered the auditorium for a special presentation. DAP welcomed author, actor and activist, Michael Sidney Fosberg to perform his one-man stage play, Incognito. Recently released as a memoir, Fosberg’s autobiographical performance has been touring the country for over a decade at multiple theatres, high schools, colleges, military and government facilities, corporations and conferences.

Fosberg took the audience on a personal experience that had them thinking about the role identity plays in a person’s life. Although his memoir, “Incognito: An American Odyssey of Race & Self-Discovery,” reveals more detail about his journey, Fosberg was able to give the audience a close-up of how one phone call changed how he identified himself.

“I’m more than a label – I’m more than a race,” Fosberg shouts as he began to come to a close of his presentation.

Find out more about Michael Sidney Fosberg’s work by reading his biography. Visit the Incognito website to learn more about the play.

At the start of the Diversity Summit and just before Young began his keynote message, Executive Director Reena Hajat Carroll showed appreciation for community supporters of the organization and corporate sponsors. The support of all that were in attendance that morning showed the purpose that the event has served over the last five years. The Diversity Summit has brought together professionals and students from all walks of life who long for a more inclusive region. These are the leaders of the future of St. Louis and what they learn each year at this event has been implemented in their office space and community.

Because of the support from the community and corporate partners, DAP has been able to accomplish many goals in the work of diversity and inclusion in just the past year. Wanting to share the good news about the growth of the organization’s youth programming, DAP showed the audience an EXPLORE Career Immersion Program recap video. Students, professionals and a student’s mother spoke of how the program opened the eyes of many minority high school students.  Exposing young people who are excited about their futures to careers that the St. Louis region offers shows students that they could have a successful future in this area. After obtaining a college education, these students may choose to pursue innovative careers and continue to grow St. Louis industries.

At the end of the video, Derek Bartlem of KWS announced that a new program, EXPLORE Agriculture Science, will be launched in Fall of 2015. KWS and BioSTL will work with DAP to design a curriculum for participating students.

DAP envisioned the diversity summit to not only give tools to professionals when building diverse and inclusive environments, but the organization also envisioned this event to provide opportunities for local organizations to display the resources that they offer. During the Resource and Networking Fair, offered twice during the event, organizations interacted with registered guests and handed out information about available services. The purpose of the fair was to create an opportunity for attendees to reach out to organizations that may align with their personal development, alongside the space to create collaboration between diverse professionals, students, and organizations in the region.

As early as one week after the 5th Annual Diversity Summit, brainstorming and plans have already begun for the 6th Annual Diversity Summit in 2016. DAP is expecting an increase in attendance, as more and more people in the region become interested in developing diversity and inclusion tools for their organizations, businesses, corporations and communities. There will be more news to come!


By Jasmine Brown, Communications & Outreach Coordinator
Diversity Awareness Partnership