Chamber's Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Goal Statement
To elevate our knowledge and application of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) practices for the betterment of our investor community.
- Facilitate initiatives that benefit the DEI progress for all investor businesses.
- Advocate by providing investors access to resources to help them build more economically and socially inclusive organizations.
- Cultivate our community to be inclusive of minority owned businesses.
- Educate by leveraging combined experience and knowledge through various channels.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Involvement
DEI Task Force
Meets bi-monthly 3rd Thursday of the month at 9 a.m. Task Force members meet to guide the Chamber and it's members in education and best practices in DEI to help improve our workforce.
The Chamber's DEI Initiatives
While developing and growing our DEI Initiatives the Chamber is taking opportunities to integrate learning opportunities with staff and programs.
- Reviewing all of our promotion and media materials to be as inclusive as we can.
- Our Leadership Eau Claire programs take leaders through a History and Culture Day.
- We've created the Explore Eau Claire Concierge Program which is built to help businesses acclimate candidates and new hires to the area. Taking care to build a personalized journey through our community to any new person or family considering relocation.
- Growing our Youth Apprenticeship program by sharing employment opportunities with under represented groups in our region.
- Statewide Affinity Based Chambers of Commerce. We've created close relationships with the Hmong Wisconsin Chamber of Commerce and the Wisconsin LGBT Chamber of Commerce. To see more go here.
- The United Way of the Greater Chippewa Valley: Digital Equity and Inclusion Council and the 21 Week Challenge.
- Maintaining close relationships with our higher education systems University of Wisconsin Eau Claire and Chippewa Valley Technical College.
- Work and partnership with the Toward One Wisconsin Inclusivity Conference.
The Chamber partners with University of Wisconsin Eau Claire and Chippewa Valley Technical College to hire an intern for our Diversity Equity and Inclusion Initiatives. This yearly intern helps to research, communicate and grow our DEI efforts to help businesses succeed.
Please send referrals to Kaylynn Winegar.
Written and approved by the Eau Claire Chamber Board in 2020. The Principles of Community Around Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is a set of affirmations and statements that the Chamber shares with investors to be an advocate and be as inclusive as possible.
“We affirm the inherent dignity and value of every person and strive to maintain a climate for work and learning based on mutual respect and understanding.
We affirm the right of each person to express thoughts and opinions freely. We encourage open expression with civility, sensitivity, and mutual respect.
We affirm the value of human diversity because it enriches our lives and our organizations. We acknowledge and respect our differences while affirming our common humanity.
We reject all forms of prejudice and discrimination, including those based on age, color, diverse ability, gender, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, and veteran status. We take individual and collective responsibility for helping to eliminate bias and discrimination and or increasing our own understanding of these issues through education, training, and interaction with others.
We pledge our collective commitment to incorporate these principles into our goal of creating a community dedicated to inclusive excellence, where all citizens can live and thrive.”
- Approved and adopted by the Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, 2020
Speaker Request Form
The Chamber's Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Task Force is a resource of professionals who will be assisting area businesses and organizations who are seeking speakers on topics related to DEI.
Please fill out the form below to help us learn a little more about what you are looking for.
The Perspective - Educational Blog
This monthly publication provides information, training and resources to area employers who wish to learn and implement initiatives in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the workplace.
In today’s interconnected world, fostering an inclusive work environment has become more than just a buzzword; it has become a strategic imperative for companies. Embracing diversity and cultivating a culture of inclusion within the workplace brings about numerous benefits that extend far beyond moral obligations. This article explores the importance of inclusion in the workplace and highlights its positive impact on productivity, innovation, employee well-being, and organizational success.
1. Unleashing the Power of Diversity
Diversity encompasses various dimensions, including race, ethnicity, gender, age, abilities, sexual orientation, and more. When individuals from different backgrounds come together, they bring unique perspectives, skills, and experiences that can enrich a company’s collective intelligence. Inclusive workplaces capitalize on these diverse talents, fostering creativity, problem-solving, and fresh approaches to challenges.
2. Enhanced Productivity and Performance
Inclusion drives employee engagement and satisfaction, leading to increased productivity and improved performance. When employees feel valued, respected, and included, they are more likely to go the extra mile, collaborate effectively, and contribute their best efforts. A diverse workforce, united by a sense of belonging, leads to higher levels of motivation, loyalty, and dedication, resulting in tangible business outcomes. Companies with inclusive workforces problem-solve much faster, according to the Harvard Business Review.
3. Driving Innovation and Creativity
Inclusive workplaces serve as breeding grounds for innovation. Different perspectives and experiences fuel the generation of novel ideas and solutions. When employees feel comfortable expressing their opinions without fear of judgment, a culture of psychological safety emerges, encouraging creative thinking and risk-taking. This environment nurtures the incubation of groundbreaking concepts and drives a company’s competitive edge. According to research, inclusive companies are 1.7 times more likely to be innovation leaders in their market.
4. Attracting and Retaining Top Talent
Inclusion is a magnet for talent. In today’s job market, prospective employees seek organizations that embrace diversity and foster inclusivity. Companies that prioritize diversity and inclusion have a broader talent pool to draw from, enabling them to attract the best candidates. Moreover, inclusive cultures enhance employee retention, as individuals are more likely to remain in organizations that value their contributions and provide equal opportunities for growth. According to a survey conducted by Glassdoor, 67% of job seekers said an inclusive workforce is important when considering job offers.
5. Improving Employee Well-being and Satisfaction
When employees feel included and accepted, their overall well-being and job satisfaction improve. Inclusive workplaces prioritize mental and emotional health, ensuring that individuals feel safe, supported, and respected. This sense of belonging contributes to reduced stress levels, enhanced work-life balance, and increased overall job satisfaction, resulting in higher levels of employee happiness and reduced turnover rates.
6. Enhanced Reputation and Customer Relations
Companies that champion inclusion and diversity establish a positive reputation in the marketplace. This reputation attracts customers who value organizations with strong ethical values and a commitment to equity. Inclusive companies build stronger relationships with diverse customer bases, as they can better understand their needs, preferences, and aspirations, ultimately leading to improved customer loyalty and trust.
7. Increased Profitability
According to a study done on DEI, it shows that companies with leaders who have a high degree of focus on inclusion are 3-4 times more profitable and financially successful than their peers. Companies with greater workplace diversity achieve greater profits. McKinsey & Company, a global management consulting firm, conducted research which encompassed 180 companies in several countries including France, Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States. They discovered that companies with more inclusive & diverse leadership were also top financial performers.
Inclusion in the workplace is no longer an option; it is a strategic imperative for companies that aspire to thrive in today’s dynamic business landscape. By embracing diversity and fostering an inclusive culture, companies unlock the full potential of their workforce, driving innovation, productivity, and employee well-being. Moreover, inclusive workplaces attract top talent, enhance their reputation, and build strong relationships with customers. As we move forward, let us recognize the transformative power of inclusion and work towards creating workplaces that embrace the richness of diversity, empowering every individual to contribute their unique strengths for the collective success of the company.
Submitted by Joe Martin of WESTconsin Credit Union, DEI Taskforce Vice-Chair
Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month (AANHPI) celebrates the achievements the AANHPI community has contributed to this country. From the gold rush of California to Congress, Asian American Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders have created lasting impact that has changed the landscape of some areas. My name is Isabella Hong and I am the writer for the May Perspective Issue. I serve as one of the Community Impact Directors at United Way of the Greater Chippewa Valley and I’m also a board member for Young Professionals of the Chippewa Valley. I am Asian-American. Specifically, I am a second-generation Cambodian-American. My parents immigrated to California in the 1980s to escape war-torn Cambodia, where millions of Cambodians died in the Khmer Rouge. In honor of Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, I’ll be sharing the history of AANHPI Heritage Month, Asians in America, and how you can celebrate.
First, what are the countries of Asian and Pacific Islanders? Well, Asia and the Pacific are made up of many ethnic groups. A broad list of ethnic identities of Asians and Pacific Islanders can be found below:
- Central Asians: Afghan, Armenian, Azerbaijani, Georgians, Kazakh, Kyrgyz, Mongolian, Tajik, Turkmen, Uzbek.
- East Asians: Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Okinawan, Taiwanese, Tibetan.
- Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders (in the U.S. Jurisdictions & Territories): Carolinian, Chamorro, Chuukese, Fijian, Guamanian, Hawaiian, Kosraean, Marshallesse, Native Hawaiian, Niuean, Palauan, Pohnpeian, Papua New Guinean, Samoan, Tokelauan, Tongan, Yapese.
- Southeast Asians: Bruneian, Burmese, Cambodian, Filipino, Hmong, Indonesian, Laotian, Malaysian, Mien, Singaporean, Timorese, Thai, Vietnamese
- South Asians: Bangladeshi, Bhutanese, Indian, Maldivians, Nepali, Pakistani, Sri Lankan.
- West Asians: This is a contested term, most people from the region do not self-identify as such. West Asia is typically referred to as the Middle East; and geographically includes the countries of Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey (straddles Europe and Asia) United Arab Emirates and Yemen.
- June 30, 1977: The House of Representatives introduced resolutions to designate the first 10 days in May as “Pacific/Asian American Heritage Week” while Senator Daniel Inouye also introduced in the Senate to designate the beginning of May as “Pacific/Asian American Heritage Week.” A 4th joint resolution was introduced in the House by Rep. Frank J. Horton and proposed designating 7 days in May beginning on May 4th as Asian/Pacific American Week. This joint resolution was passed by Congress. This law directed the President to issue a proclamation designating the week beginning on May 4, 1979 as “Asian/Pacific American Heritage Week.”
- March 28, 1979: President Carter issued a proclamation for Asian/Pacific American Heritage Week. In this proclamation, President Carter spoke of the significant role Asian/Pacific Americans have played in the creation of a dynamic and pluralistic American society with their contributions to the sciences, arts, industry, government and commerce.
- May 7, 1990: President George H.W. Bush issued another proclamation designating May 1990 as the first “Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month.”
- May 9, 1990: Congress passed a public law, requested the President, to issue a proclamation which expanded the observance of Asian/Pacific American Heritage Week to a month in May 1990. This law called on the people of the United States to observe Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month with “appropriate ceremonies, programs and activities.”
- October 23, 1992: Congress passed a public law which permanently designated May of each year as “Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month.” Presidents Clinton, George W. Bush, Obama, and Trump have annually issued proclamations designating May as Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.
- April 29, 2022: The Biden-Harris Administration designated May as “Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Heritage Month” to bring broader visibility to Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander communities and their unique needs.
Asians in America
- A People’s History of Asian America: these 4 videos (each video is less than 11 minutes) provide a history of Asian Americans and the microaggressions and stereotypes they’ve faced since arriving in the US—from the Chinese Exclusion Act to Japanese Internment Camps to Anti-Asian Hate Crimes during the pandemic.
How you can celebrate Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month:
- Support locally-owned businesses. Find local finds here: https://www.cveiwi.com/aapi-businesses
- Watch a film
- Everything Everywhere All At Once: A middle-aged Chinese immigrant is swept up into an insane adventure in which she alone can save existence by exploring other universes and connecting with the lives she could have led.
- Minari: semi-autobiographical film that follows a South Korean immigrant family who moves to an Arkansas farm in search of their own American Dream.
- Moana: Disney animated film about a Polynesian teenager setting sail on an adventure to save her people
- The Big Sick: Pakistan-born comedian Kumail Nanjiani and grad student Emily Gardner fall in love but struggle as their cultures clash. When Emily contracts a mysterious illness, Kumail finds himself forced to face her feisty parents, his family’s expectations, and his true feelings.
- Learn a new recipe
- Visit a virtual museum via Google Arts & Culture
- Know a member of the Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AANHPI)? Ask them out for coffee or tea sometime and learn about their family history. Each person has their own story and would be more than happy to share.
Submitted by Isabella Hong, MSW (she/her/hers | What are Gender Pronouns?)
Community Impact Director
We are happy to introduce our fantastic panel of working mothers. This diverse panel has been carefully selected to give expert advice on how to manage motherhood while working a job.
Stacey M. Jackson Ph.D.
Dr. Stacey Jackson is an Assistant Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. She received her B.A. in Psychology from South Carolina State University, her M.S. in Community Psychology with a specialization in African/Black Psychology from Florida A & M University, and received both her M.A. in African and African diaspora Studies and Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from the University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Jackson became a mother while working to complete her Ph.D. As a single parent, Dr. Jackson’s son was her inspiration and motivation to complete her degree and be a positive role model for her son. Following the completion of her Ph.D., Dr. Jackson landed her current teaching position at UWEC. In her role, Dr. Jackson established the Marginalized Identity Status and Trauma (M.I.S.T) Research lab, in which she serves as the faculty advisor, mentoring students in conducting research heavily geared towards the social justice and empowerment of collegiate students from marginalized identities. Her research interests explore the implications of the trauma individuals from marginalized identities experience on their overall well-being. In addition to teaching, she also serves as a Clinician at the University Counseling Center where she sees students for individual, couples, group, and crisis counseling, along with providing psychoeducation and outreach services. In her first year at counseling services, Dr. Jackson created a Women of Color focus group to help meet the needs of women of color on campus. This therapy group has since grown to become a student of color support group. Dr. Jackson has served on several committees on campus, within the Eau Claire community, and within her field devoted to Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion efforts. She has provided several keynotes, workshops, facilitated dialogues, and trainings regarding mental health and well-being, culturally appropriate approaches to counseling African Americas, Self-care, Stress Management, tele-health, coping strategies in response to racially motivated worldly events for students, faculty, and staff at UWEC, the greater Eau Claire community, institutions of higher education, organizations, and businesses. In March of 2020, Dr. Jackson gave birth to her second child, a daughter who was born 10 weeks premature during the height of the COVID19 Pandemic. During this time, Dr. Jackson had to navigate teaching from home with a newborn and a kindergartener doing virtual school. The pandemic brought several challenges, but through the tough times, Dr. Jackson excelled and celebrated several successes as an educator, mentor, scholar, clinician, and most importantly, as a mother.
Hello, my name is TaNevia. I am the owner of Legacy Hair and Beauty Supply, Bags and Boujee, and a social worker. I am very very busy, and in everything I do, I strive to encourage others. My daily goal is to try to make others feel special and beautiful in their own skin. I opened Legacy to fill a void in the community for people of color, but more importantly, I wanted a store that EVERYONE could come and get all their hair care products in one place. This was the first step in creating an inclusive space in the Chippewa Valley for the hair care industry. I carry a little something for everyone. Through my work, I put an emphasis on community and uplifting other women entrepreneurs. One thing I say all the time is, "We are stronger together". There is nothing that can stop strong, ambitious, united women. But my most important job is being a mother to my 1.5-year-old son because he is my reason why! I am a first-time mom who takes pride in working hard each day to build a legacy for my son!
Mel Koontz is the Vice President of Marketing & Communications at Royal Credit Union, where she has worked for four and half years, including the past three years as a fully remote leader. Mel closed her natural skincare business Melnaturel in January this year to spend more time with her young and growing family. Mel is also one of the founding women of 100 Women Who Care Eau Claire (a local philanthropic organization), serves on the regional board for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwestern WI, and values the role of her mentors and enjoys being a mentor to others.
Mel was born and raised in Eau Claire. She and her husband Geoff live on the river and have two boys, James (age 3) and William (6 months). Mel looks forward to “me time” playing golf in a ladies’ league every summer with her girlfriends and also enjoys spending time on the pontoon.
Mel is a two-time Chippewa Valley Technical College graduate with associate degrees in Marketing and Supervisory Management. Mel also has a bachelor’s degree in Management with a minor in Project Management from the University of Wisconsin-Stout and a master’s degree in Marketing & Communications Management from Franklin University.
My name is Kelly Williams. I am the co-founder/co-owner of Appel Weight Loss & Body Contour Clinic. My business has been my passion for over 12 years. In my previous life, I had not taken care of myself physically, emotionally, or mentally and was very unhealthy and overweight. I worked in Admin and Sales and hide my emotions well.
I work with Women, Mothers, and Men daily to find a better healthy balance and relationship with food. I help women with hormones and allow them to feel better in their own skin. We also specialize in Red Light Therapy. I am a Certified Nutritionist, Certified Health Coach & Certified Life Coach. I am a married Momma of Two Teenage Boys who are 17 & 15. I work Full Time 3-4 12-hour days.
2023 will mark Kim Wudi’s 17th season as head volleyball coach at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. Under Wudi, the Blugolds have won five Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) titles and qualified for the NCAA Tournament eleven times. In 2021, the Blugolds posted a 35-3 record en route to claiming the NCAA Division III Women’s Volleyball National Championship. Her coaching accolades include four WIAC Coach of the Year honors, two American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Midwest Region Coach of the Year awards and the 2018 AVCA National Coach of the Year award. Wudi has also served on the USA Volleyball Badger Region Volleyball Association Board of Directors since 2012 and is currently an AVCA Division III Head Coaches Committee representative.
Wudi resides in Eau Claire with her husband, Jason, and their 2 daughters, Layla (13) and Sophia (8). Directing a championship-caliber volleyball program comes with stressful “seasons” but also offers flexibility during other times of the year. With a partner who travels frequently and children busy in theatre, dance, sports, and school, Wudi relies on shared calendars, trusted friends, student nannies, and a whole lot of coffee and grace to balance marriage, motherhood, and coaching.
Submitted by DEI Taskforce Member Joe Martin, from Westconsin Credit Union
Let’s face it, April is one of those months that seems like anything can happen with the weather. Possibly 65F and sunny? Yes! How about 16F with a side of blizzard? Also, yes. How about a rocking thunderstorm? Why not! April is full of hope and excitement. We have holidays to look forward to with family and that springtime feeling is just about to blossom. With everything that April brings us from the sunny, bright, warm days, to the cold, snowy, and blustery, it seems fitting that it’s the month to celebrate all that our world has to offer. Maybe that’s why April was chosen to be designated “Celebrate Diversity Month!”
“Celebrate Diversity Month came to be in 2004 following a campaign led by two American diversity consulting firms, ProGroup Inc. and Diversity Best Practices. The goal of the celebrations is to address the growing multiculturalism taking place in global societies as a way to further understand and handle it sensibly. It highlights the urgency of understanding other cultures to ensure a better world.” https://nationaltoday.com/celebrate-diversity-month/
Recognizing diversity during this month is critical to our constant changing and developing world around us. As our community grows, so do the opportunities to experience different people and their backgrounds. We have recently seen massive changes, especially with the upgrades to downtown Eau Claire, expansion of River Prairie in Altoona, and explosion of housing throughout the whole county. We are inviting many more people to join the Chippewa Valley community through the increase of housing, jobs, and recreation.
Why is this important?
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) is a growing topic, especially in the workplace. Many organizations have seen some major changes in their workforce; including hardships with recruiting.
“The shortage is so bad that it’s creating operational risks and even limiting service in many hospitality businesses.” https://rockcontent.com/blog/high-quality-talent/
There are so many reasons that play into the WHY of our labor shortage from the pandemic to organizational culture. Applicants may not understand everything that goes into an organization’s culture, but they are exposed to it any time they come in contact with a representative during their application and interview process. The culture of the organization has an effect on the hiring and retention process. And with our growing population in Eau Claire, the hiring and retention should be easier, right? No. With a growing population comes more competition with other businesses. The businesses that see the least amount in turnover are the ones that embrace the importance of a strong organizational culture.
The strongest organizational cultures are those that actively promote employee engagement; which is no easy task! What do these employers do to foster employee engagement? Some start with the simple things like offering free coffee or tea in the break room. They may even offer competitive benefits, and generous salaries. Of course, a great wage is a wonderful place to start, but unfortunately, it isn’t the only factor that keeps people. A skilled employee who isn’t happy at work will always find a matching or better wage somewhere else. Not that paying employees a good wage isn’t critical, it just isn’t the only thing. A workplace that embraces what it means to be a diverse, equitable, and inclusive place will have all the fundamental parts to create a healthy, welcoming organizational culture. Embracing and supporting a strong Diversity, Equity, and Inclusive program is a cornerstone to a strong organizational culture.
What are some organizations doing to foster a healthy organizational culture with DEI?
Many organizations understand the importance of DEI and take it to heart. Check out what these organizations are already doing to embrace and celebrate DEI!
What are some simple and effective ways you can Celebrate Diversity?
- Hang a world map in your main office/hallway and have each staff member pinpoint their birthplace. https://www.hireimmigrantsottawa.ca/ten-ideas-to-celebrate-diversity/
- Organize an intercultural potluck and invite everyone to write a short description of the food they contributed so that others can learn about the dish and the culture. https://www.hireimmigrantsottawa.ca/ten-ideas-to-celebrate-diversity/
- Develop a cultural celebration calendar https://www.berlitz.com/blog/3-ways-to-celebrate-diversity-in-the-office
- Create internal traditions that highlight different cultures https://www.berlitz.com/blog/3-ways-to-celebrate-diversity-in-the-office
- Play international music in the office. https://coachdiversity.com/blog/how-to-celebrate-diversity-month/
- Engage in learning opportunities. https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/april-diversity-month-six-ways-celebrate-garrett-she-her-hers-/
Check out all that April has to celebrate!
April: Celebrate Diversity Month https://www.edi.nih.gov/more/calendar/april
- 2nd – World Autism Awareness Day
- 2nd – Palm Sunday (Christian)
- 5th – Passover/Pesach (April 5 to April 13)
- 6th – Maundy/Holy Thursday (Christian)
- 6th – Theravada New Year (Buddhist)
- 7th – Good Friday (Christian)
- 7th – Day to Remember Rwanda Genocide Victims
- 9th – Easter Sunday (Christian)
- 14th – Day of Silence (Students take a day-long vow of silence to protest the actual silencing of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students and their straight allies due to bias and harassment)
- 14th – Orthodox Good Friday
- 14th – Vaisakhi (Sikh)
- 17th – Yom Hashoah (Jewish) (Sunset April 17 to Sunset April 18)
- 17th – Laila Al-Qadr (Islamic) (Sunset April 17)
- 21st – Eid Al-Fitr (Islamic) (Sundown April 21 to Sundown April 22)
- 21st – Festival of Ridvan (Baha’i) (April 21 to May 2)
- 24th – Armenian Martyrs’ Day
- 25th – Yom HaAtzmaut (Jewish) (Sundown April 25 to Nightfall April 26)
Do you take time to set intentions and plan for the new year?
Identifying the intentions that will be meaningful and doable can make a huge difference in your work and personal life.
The New York Times says your goals “should be smart – and SMART. Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-Bound.Source
Workplace resolutions create an opportunity to reflect on the previous year and set intentions for the year ahead. People who take time to reflect on and celebrate their successes are generally more optimistic, take better care of themselves and tend to be less stressed. Celebrations increase people’s sense of well-being, regardless of socioeconomic factors, education age or gender. Source
Dave Minor, President/CEO of the Eau Claire Chamber of Commerce has frequently said all roads lead to workforce.
Resolutions are no different, check out this content creators’ video about how resolutions were started.
Top New Year’s Resolutions for the Workplace
Take this time to consider where you want to be in your job this time next year. Where do you see your career going over the next three to five years? And what steps do you need to take to get there?Source
- Get Clear on Your Career Priorities
- Learn a New Skill
- Embrace Flexibility as a Manager
- Help Employees Connect with Leadership
- Prioritize Work-Life Balance