I had never heard of this project until the article in today's Business section of the Post-Gazette (see, it does pay to read the whole paper).
They have hired their first director, Dina Clark, who has a background with the Anti-Defamation League. The groups mission and vision:
The Western Pennsylvania Diversity Initiative (WPDI) is a not-for-profit membership organization dedicated to facilitating diversity by providing educational, networking, and other resources for employers and employees. It was founded in 2005 as an outgrowth of the Community Outreach Taskforce of the Bar Association.
The mission of WPDI is to promote regional economic growth by providing resources to employers in the Pittsburgh region to attract, hire, and retain employees from a variety of diverse backgrounds and perspectives.
The vision of WPDI is to:
- Create a vibrant community of organizations and individuals who value diversity.
- Provide a forum to develop and disseminate resources that communicate the importance of diversity to our region and its employees.
- Measure and publicize Western Pennsylvania’s successes in attracting, developing, and retaining employees of diverse backgrounds.
I don't see any reference to LGBT initiatives on their website, but I wrote to the organization asking about that. They do mention the community, but I think the information is very dated. I don't need to recount the research demonstrating that a LGBT welcoming and affirming region (and businesses) are central to economic growth, particularly with attracting and retaining educated talent.
Ms. Clark comments that the initiative transcends race:
When discussing diversity, she often makes the word part of a phrase, “diversity and inclusion,” that helps to take the discussion beyond usual boundaries.
“People hear 'diversity,' and they think race relations,” she said. “We're beyond that. This is about everybody.
“Diversity is not just black and white. It's size, age, socioeconomic backgrounds, abilities, religion, gender, sexual orientation. It's all of those things … all of those things that really impact the quality of life for people. It goes beyond what's traditionally been addressed.” Warming to her subject, she added, “It also shouldn't be about your victimization is greater than mine.”
That sounds promising. It would be wonderful for the Initiative to include domestic partner benefits and non-discrimination clauses to its list of “to do” things when working with local corporations (and the County of Allegheny).
Do you recognize any of these names as community members:
WPDI Board of Directors
I'd hope that including a well-informed LGBT leader would help them maintain current information and a the status quo on diversity initiatives to promote LGBT acceptance and inclusion. They have a conference coming up in October.