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The Diversity Forum Names 2009 Diversity Award Winners

Oct 21, 2009 CHARLOTTE, NC, October 21, 2009 – The Diversity Forum hosted its 2nd event last week and welcomed over 160 attendees. The event began with a powerful keynote address by Kevin Henry, Chief Human Resources Officer at Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated. He presented several personal and professional accounts on how valuing the differences of those around him directly benefited his life by offering exposure to new perspectives.

“Diversity is a variety of differences among people related to a number of factors that fall into three broad categories: circumstances, backgrounds, and beliefs. Arguably, diversity of thought is the most powerful way in which we are different, as it is the culmination of our cultural, familial, and situational experiences.” said Kevin. “The return on investment for diversity of thought can be found in the increased performance of a truly engaged workforce. Acceptance will ultimately lead to empowerment. Empowerment leads to confidence. And confidence promotes employees’ trust so they feel they can learn, focus, and develop the skills needed to get the job done.”

Next, the 1st Annual 2009 Diversity Award winners were announced after viewing video vignettes of the finalists. The 2009 winners are:

  • Trailblazer (company) Award: TIAA-CREF, represented by Renee Alexander Sherrod, VP of Diversity & Community Relations
  • Champion (individual) Award: Eric Watson, VP of Diversity & Inclusion at Food Lion, LLC

The program concluded with a legal presentation by Kelly Hughes, an associate with the law firm of Ogletree Deakins, who informed attendees of what can happen when employers don't value diversity - specifically as it relates to disability, religion, and sexual orientation discrimination.

The Diversity Forum’s next event will be held in February of 2010. Please stay informed of what is happening with the organization by signing up for the newsletter at www.TheDiversityForum.org.

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