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DEI isn't a trend - it's here to stay. For public service organizations that don't have an inclusive approach and culture, real risks loom. Throughout the month of October, we will be discovering what DEI really means and start the exploration into how municipal leaders need to evolve to continue to creating thriving communities and workplaces.

October 12th, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion:  How to Move Your Comfort Zone & Organizational Culture with Dr. Pearce and Margo Ely

Nicholas PearceJoin IRMA's Executive Director Margo Ely as she sits down with DEI Expert, Pastor & Northwestern Kellogg University Professor, Dr. Pearce to explore our past, its impact on our society and how to blaze a path for the future. By asking the tough and uncomfortable questions, this session will provide municipal leaders with the foundation of what DEI really means, why it matters, and how it applies to them. The first 100 registrants will also receive a copy of Dr. Pearce's book, The Purpose Path: A Guide to Pursing Your Authentic Life's Work.

About Our Keynote:
Dr. Pearce is a globally-recognized expert on values-driven leadership, diversity & inclusion, and organizational transformation. Through his global executive advisory practice, The Vocati Group, Dr. Pearce has been privileged to serve as a trusted executive adviser, leadership coach, organizational strategist, conference speaker, and retreat facilitator, for several of the world’s premier organizations. More on The Vocati Group
Vocati DEI Practice Overview


October 14th, Implicit Bias-Why it Matters & What Managers Need to Know

Adewunmi Lewis, Certified Instructional Designer & Master Trainer, Vice President of GovHR
This session is focused on raising awareness of implicit bias and steps we can take to prevent biased attitudes and behaviors from interfering with our decisions and interactions. The session addresses the meaning and types of implicit biases, what it impacts and what can be done about it. Each participant will leave the session with actionable guidelines for managing their biases. They will also receive worksheets for developing individual action plans to execute as they continue on their own personal journey to overcome implicit bias.

Presented By:
Adewunmi Lewis, Certified Instructional Designer & Master Trainer,
Vice President of GovHR

Ade Lewis Bio
More info on GOVHR

October 19th, Transforming Community Attitudes:  The Park Forest Experience

John Ostenburg, Retired Mayor of the Village of Park Forest
The roots of racial inequity in our communities lie hidden and thus are left to fester day after day until they emerge as the overt evils that they have grown to be. This workshop will use the work of one community as an example of what can be done in our cities and villages to identify and remove those roots. The presenter will draw on his experience as a mayor of a suburban community for 20 years and on what he has learned from his exposure to racial inequity as an active participant in the National League of Cities Race, Equity, And Leadership (REAL) Council, of which he formerly served as co-chair. He will use how he led his community to examine the root causes of racial inequity and explain how to develop systems for change.

Presented By:
John Ostenburg, Retired Mayor of the Village of Park Forest

John Ostenburg Bio

NLC Park Forest Profile

October 21st, Advancing Equity Outcomes through Zoning Updates
Jacob-Seid-Headshot-(1).jpgMany land use policies and zoning regulations have historically resulted in segregation and disparate outcomes of low-income and Black and brown communities.  This session will review the history of systemic racism in land use and zoning policy, common ways that this history can manifest in regulations, and strategies to improve equity outcomes through regulatory updates. Some of the strategies to be discussed include diversifying housing types, reducing or removing minimum parking requirements, streamlining administrative processes, creating more accessible code language, and providing meaningful public engagement opportunities. Experienced planners from the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP), City of Evanston, and Village of Bensenville will be on hand to share on-the-ground examples and facilitate discussion among the session attendees.
Panel Presentation Moderated By:
Jake Seid, Senior, CMAP

Panelists Include:

  • Johana Nyden, Community Development Director, City of Evanston
  • Kurtis Pozsgay, Senior Planner, Village of Bensenville
More info on CMAP

October 26th, LGBTQ+ 101
Dansen Mayhay, Community Engagement & Training Coordinator, Center on HalstedAs companies & organizations work toward a more inclusive workplace, it is important to keep LGBTQ employees, residents and officials at the forefront. This session includes a history of LGBTQ movement, foundations of terminology, importance of pronouns and aspects of allyship. The terminology reviewed covers gender identity, sex assigned at birth, sexuality, the LGBTQIA+ acronym and gender expression. Participants will learn what a pronoun is, how to ask for someone’s pronoun, and how to correct someone/themselves if they make a mistake. The allyship section covers who an ally is, why it is important to have allies and how to be an ally.

Presented By:
Dansen Mayhay, Community Engagement & Training Coordinator, Center on Halsted

More info on Center on Halsted

October 28th, How to Handle the Message:  When Community Outrage Enters the Municipal Board Room
Lissa Druss, Founder & CEO, Strategia CommunicationsIt's not a matter of IF a crisis is going to happen; it's WHEN. During a crisis, communication is the most crucial key in mitigating risk for local government. Every community is unique in its diversity, and understanding what is at the heart of a community is important in communication. Lissa Druss will discuss the importance of planning, having an updated assessment of communication tools in the toolbox, and understanding how best to use those tools to navigate through any crisis.

Presented By:
Lissa Druss, Founder & CEO, Strategia Communications

More info on Strategia
Strategia Promotional Flyer