By now, many are aware that on February 1, 2017 my role at the Greenville Chamber evolved. As with any change there are often questions so I wrote this blog to help clarify some of the recurring questions I have received since this transition.
What change in the Diversity & Inclusion department of the Greenville Chamber has occurred and what was the reason for the change?
Since August of 2012, I have had the privilege of serving as a Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion for the Greenville Chamber. On February 1, 2017, after planning, preparation and working closely with Chamber’s President and CEO, I transitioned from a W2 employee to a contract employee having launched my own company, Nika White Consulting. The Greenville Chamber serves as my first and primary client. I continue to oversee the Chamber’s Diversity & Inclusion’s strategies, practices, programming, and initiatives as before with the same level of commitment and passion. It’s a true honor to have the Chamber as a client, which provided the perfect opportunity for me to journey into entrepreneurship. The partnership with the Chamber allows me the fortune to continue to offer my skill sets, passion and experience to benefit the Chamber, as well as help other organizations in the Upstate community and beyond to grow in their endeavors of strategic diversity and intentional inclusion.
Helping businesses grow and thrive is why the Chamber exists, and I am blessed to be among those on the receiving end.
What does this change mean to the future of the Chamber’s Diversity & Inclusion leadership?
It means we are going to continue to perform great efforts to ensure we are elevating the works of the diversity and inclusion. The partnership has proven to be a win/win for both the Greenville Chamber and Nika White Consulting. There is no change in terms of the priority of the Diversity & Inclusion or our ability to fully execute what’s needed to foster economic inclusion and create a global competitive economy where businesses succeed and people prosper. The Chamber’s leadership to diversity and inclusion aligns with the Chamber‘s mission and vision, and the commitment to the work will remain strong and an integral part of the organization. The commitment that has led the Chamber to gain recognitions like Palmetto Visions Award Recipient for Excellence in Workplace Diversity presented by SC Chamber of Commerce, Excellence in Diversity Award presented by Greenville Society of Human Resources Management (GSHRM) and a national platform as a leader in the space of diversity inclusion recognized by American Chamber of Commerce Executives is what will continue to allow the Chamber to have a significant impact in Greenville and beyond. The value of diversity and inclusion drives innovation, enriches experiences, promotes growth and strengthens economic competitiveness. For Greenville to stay and grow even stronger, we need more focused and strategic efforts in the discipline of diversity and inclusion.
What does the Diversity & Inclusion department wish to accomplish in 2017 different from previous years?
We want to build on the great success we have established through the diversity and inclusion initiatives that have been offered in previous years. We will do it with speed and power to increase our impact in the important work of inclusion bringing other individuals and organizations along with us. In addition, we have created a new day long Diversity & Inclusion Summit scheduled for October of this year, where we will focus on inclusion as a leadership function. Our hope is that participating in the summit will allow professionals and businesses to hone their skills as authentic, intentional leaders of diversity and inclusion. The 2017 Diversity & Inclusion Summit is all about leveraging human difference. The theme is a “Strategic Priority for Business Success & Community Prosperity.”
Viewing diversity and inclusion as a leadership function is vital for professional and personal development. The Greenville Chamber has created this diversity and inclusion leadership conference that encourages participants to have conversations and dialogue that will lead them to action. Years of experience have taught us that a diverse, inclusive workplace and society doesn’t just happen. Yet, as we look to the future of our marketplace and workforce, we recognize that huge demographic shifts are happening that impact our business model and require a new way of conducting business and ensuring community prosperity. The Greenville Chamber’s Diversity & Inclusion Summit will provide opportunities to learn from authorities who speak from years of experience.
Further, for 2017 we have a new intern in the D&I department, Naomi Lin, who is a student in Clemson’s MBA program from the island of Formosa in Taiwan. With Naomi’s involvement, we anticipate accomplishing more than we have in the past. We are fortunate that she will be interning with us throughout 2017.
What are the Diversity & Inclusion department’s goals for next 3 - 5 years?
- We want to continue to include all people in the business sectors to work of the Chamber and increase engagement of those individuals.
- We desire to help grow the minority entrepreneurial landscape in Greenville so that our city is seen as a market destination because of inclusiveness and economic opportunity that is available to all members of the community.
- We will continue to elevate the work we do in the space of diversity and inclusion to positively impact the business community.
If anyone wants to reach Nika can they still find her at the Chamber?
I continue to maintain a satellite office at the Chamber and am there several times throughout the week. My email has changed to firstname.lastname@example.org and I can best be reached by cell 864-631-6596 or office 864-239-3727. If I’m not available to answer your phone call, please leave me a message and I will get back to you. If you can’t find me at the Chamber, when I’m not out meeting with clients, you can likely locate me at my Nika White Consulting office, located on fifth floor of the downtown Hyatt. My office number there is 864-516-7525.
How can I learn more about Nika White Consulting?
Nika White Consulting is a diversity and inclusion consulting firm with recognized authority on strategic diversity, intentional inclusion, and organizational effectiveness. Services include consulting, facilitation, training, coaching that intersects diversity, business and leadership. You can learn more about Nika White Consulting at www.nikawhite.com.
Dr. Nika White is the Senior Advisor to the Greenville Chamber’s Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives & President and CEO of Nika White Consulting.