Drivers of Change

Impact Hub MSP to host event to expand diversity discussion

By Kevyn Burger
Monday, August 29, 2016

Difficult conversations about inclusion and diversity have been on the agenda of priorities for many Twin Cities civic and business groups.

Now add the Impact Hub MSP to the organizations that are looking for innovative ways to open the workforce to populations that have been marginalized in the past.

While the topic is a tough one, the Impact Hub’s next efforts to address it will include after work cocktails — with dancing as part of the presentation.

Its upcoming Happy Hour event, which is open to the community, promises to connect attendees with an out-of-the-box presentation and networking opportunities with other changemakers.

“We are doing a new take on a panel discussion that we believe will inspire and engage our audience,” says Danielle Steer, manager of operations and membership for the Impact Hub MSP, located in the North Loop in Minneapolis.

“We want to get past what you could call Diversity 101 and talk about how we can be more welcoming and create spaces that invite and include people of different races, ethnicities and experiences,” she says. “We want to expand the definition of inclusion and get to Diversity 2.0.”

The locally-based Impact Hub is part of a global network of 85 such organizations. Earlier this year, representatives from 30 Impact Hubs in North America met to look at "co-creating the future of our cities” by engaging their individual communities in conversations about intentional civic development.

Across the nation, Impact Hubs are scheduling Drivers of Change events in the last week of September; the Impact Hub MSP Happy Hour event will be held September 27.

“We are focusing on how we can create positive change by leveraging social entrepreneurship and promoting purpose-driven professionals in their work,” Steer says.

The panel chosen to present at the MSP Impact Hub will include:

  • Ananya Chatterjea, founder of the Minneapolis- based Ananya Dance Theatre, who will focus on racial equity in the dance performance and will dance her way through her presentation.
  • Hannah Carney of Mind Shift and Better Workforce, who has expertise in how businesses can be more inclusive in recruiting and employing people with physical and mental disabilities and autism.
  • Alex Rodriguez, founder of Graveti, a Meet Up for tech startups that regularly gathers tech talent and community champions from underrepresented backgrounds. He’s also the founder and CEO of Workmand.

“The panel will not be a download of information,” Steer says. “Each of our panelists will tell their story about how they are driving change and then we want a dialogue with the audience, who are agents of change themselves.”

Steer expects the short presentation from the panelists will be followed by a conversation with attendees.

“We expect a diverse mix to attend, with people from different sectors,” Steer says. “We have a number of emerging leaders who attend our events, and we’ve also found a growing Boomer population who will soon be leaving the workforce but care deeply about economic development and are looking for ways to be actively engaged.”

The event is free but Impact Hub MSP asks that attendees RSVP so that they know how much food and drink to order.