• Diversity Summit

Diversity Summit

The Diversity Summit features interactive Diversity Workshops with dynamic opening and lunch keynote speakers.

The Chamber's goal is to foster meaningful discussions on diversity and inclusivity, as a priority in business and community. Courageous conversations to feed our fundamental need to belong; from our place of business to our place of residence.

Diversity and inclusion is an issue which has evolved significantly in the past few years, from an emphasis on racial diversity to an emphasis on diversity of ideas and experiences. Most major companies have diversity and inclusion programs, although these often vary in scope and can focus on different things. Some examples of diversity and inclusion initiatives which are fairly representative of the field include:

  • Targeting new hiring to reflect the customer demographics (especially in international markets, this could include age, origin, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation)
  • Promoting company resource groups based on age, origin, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation
  • Encouraging employees to put forth their ideas for new products to be considered by upper management

Thank you for attending!

Thanks to everyone who attended this year's Diversity Summit, The Power of YOU: Unleashing your Inner Potential.

Check back for information on Diversity Summit 2019!

Keynote Speakers

Dr. Atira Charles is an Assistant Professor of Management in the School of Business & Industry at Florida A&M University and CEO of Think Actuality, LLC. She began her academic journey at Florida A&M University, which is where she earned both her B.S. in Finance and her Masters of Business Administration. Dr. Charles immediately began her career in academia, after graduating with her Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior and Management from Arizona State University.
As one of the most innovative organizational scholars in the country, Dr. Charles' research, consulting, and training facilitation seeks to shed light on and further understand the unique narratives revolving around the way in which individuals manage their differences while striving for personal, professional and organizational success and wellness. Her expertise also focuses on organizational structures and processes that promote positive,  less biased, inclusionary, and healthy environments. Additionally, she explores how organizations can effectively manage the differences of their employees, through social and structural means. More specifically, her research and consulting revolves around  identity management in the workplace, organizational management of differences, wellness practices, bias reduction, and communication and feedback processes within diverse organizations. Inspired by her teaching philosophy, she also engages in research and coaching which focus on how individual’s can motivate themselves to positive and productive action through self- awareness, wellness, and  identity management.
Dr. Charles’ research has been published in numerous academic journals and media outlets. She has presented her research internationally and has worked with many municipalities, higher education institutions, and  global Fortune 500 organizations exploring the role of identities in the workplace. Dr. Charles provides workshops, coaching, and consultative services that aim to build more authentic, inclusive, healthy, and engaging work experiences. She created The Mask Project (www.ourmasks.com), which is a national initiative that documents and uncovers individual’s experiences of “wearing the mask” at work and in life. Dr. Charles also serves as a contributor for Black Enterprise Magazine. Dr. Charles’ has also released an audiobook entitled  “The Art of Unmasking: Peeling back the layers to maximize personal and professional success”.


 Gobinder Gill is a #1 Best Selling author on Amazon for "Achieving Prosperity Through Diversity". His second book, "Stolen Moments of Hope " will be published by Motivational Press later this year. He has been voted as a “World Class Speaker” at the 2016 High Impact Speaking event in Montreal, Quebec. 

Since the mid 1980's Gobinder has worked in many facets of the media dealing with diversity issues. His experiences cover all facets of radio, television, film and print. Gobinder holds a bachelor's degree in Journalism from Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Richmond, B.C. 

He was a researcher and reporter for CBC television, contributed freelance articles for the Vancouver Sun and wrote a weekly syndicated multicultural column for the Metro Valley Newspapers. As a journalist, he has interviewed many high profile personalities including Mother Teresa. In 2013, he spoke at the TEDx Stanley Park in Vancouver (now on YouTube) Diversity: Evolution of the Unthinkable. Then, as a program director for TEDx Stanley Park in 2015/16, he assisted in selecting and coaching speakers. In addition to appearing in films and television commercials, Gobinder has worked as a Set Dresser on such shows as Dr. Doolittle, Air Buddies and Psych. Gobinder's purpose and passion is to motivate and inspire others to embrace our differences and similarities. He trains organizations in the art of Diversity and Cultural Sensitivity to bring greater harmony, productivity, and profitability in the workplace. He teaches his clients to make a shift in their attitudes toward others by approaching them with the recognition that we are all different, gifted and follow different journeys - and that, there is much we can learn from each other. He encourages businesses, CEOs, HR personnel, managers and supervisors to view Diversity in the Workplace as a business opportunity and not as a hindrance.



Stan Phelps, is the Founder of PurpleGoldfish.com. He is a TEDx Speaker, Forbes Contributor, and IBM Futurist that focuses on customer experience and employee engagement. Throughout his career Stan held many marketing leadership roles with adidas, International Management Group, PGA of America, and Synergy. 

He’s the author of seven books: Purple Goldfish, Green Goldfish, Golden Goldfish, Blue Goldfish, Purple Goldfish-Service Edition, Red Goldfish, and Pink Goldfish. They all focus on the little ways to drive differentiation, increase loyalty, and promote positive word of mouth. He has spoken at over 300 events in 16 countries. Stan holds a JD/MBA from Villanova University and a Certificate in Achieving Breakthrough Service from Harvard Business School. He lives in Cary, North Carolina with his wife Jennifer two boys Thomas and James.


Daniel Hoffman-Zinnel has served as One Iowa’s executive director since January 2017. He is also adjunct faculty at Iowa Central Community and Des Moines University and a respite provider through Lutheran Services in Iowa. He has over 10 years of nonprofit experience working with the LGBTQ community, migrant and seasonal farmworkers, Latino community, and individuals with disabilities. 

Daniel has a Doctorate of Education in Leadership from Creighton University. His doctoral work includes a dissertation titled Resilient Leadership: A Case study about a gay man’s journey of coming out and running for public office. He holds an M.A. in health studies from the University of Alabama, a B.A. in liberal arts with sociology and psychology minors from Grand View University, and an A.A. from Iowa Central Community College. 

In 2015, Daniel received one of the Des Moines Business Record’s Forty Under 40 awards. In 2012, he received the Karen Packer Spirit of Collaboration Award at the Iowa Cancer Summit. Daniel completed the Greater Des Moines Leadership Institute’s Community Leadership Program in 2017.


David Walker is a columnist, photographer, and menswear designer. He writes essays on culture, politics, and social issues, and his work has been distributed in several publications. David has delivered talks and hosted for TEDx events, and is regularly asked to offer analysis on talk radio. He served in the United States Army and currently works closely with healthcare facilities. David lives in the Augusta metropolitan area with his wife and three children. 

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