Zendesk and Overture Center Partner for Diversity and Inclusion Symposium
International Speakers Marsha Bonner and Tanya Odom, Ed.M., To Present
Zendesk, Inc. and Overture Center for the Arts announced today a diversity and inclusion symposium, “Zendesk Presents: Paths to Inclusion” on THU, OCT 25. The collaboration, hosted by Zendesk and co-sponsored by Overture, is centered around diversity, inclusion and equity and the role that organizations play in fostering these environments.
“Overture is delighted to collaborate with Zendesk in furthering the important mission of diversity and inclusion,” said Sandra Gajic, president & CEO of Overture. “The partnership between a tech company and a performing arts center is a striking example of how we can work in tandem to facilitate vital, cross-industry conversation.”
The half-day event will be held at Overture Center and features global speakers Marsha Bonner and Tanya Odom, Ed.M. Presentations will also be given by both Zendesk and Overture representatives, including a performance by two of Overture’s Rising Stars winners, Danielle Crim and Elijah Edwards.
In addition to staff from both organizations, joint local community partners and business leaders will also be invited to the event. While the event is being held in Madison, Zendesk employees from around the globe will have the opportunity to tune in via livestream.
“Organizations like ours have a responsibility to create space for meaningful dialogue and to amplify underrepresented voices,” said Khalida Ali, Sr. Manager of Diversity & Inclusion at Zendesk. “Our industry in particular demands change, and sharing knowledge, experiences, and actions that foster inclusion accelerates that change.”
“Collaborating with Zendesk was a natural fit,” said Dr. Ed Holmes, Overture’s director of diversity and inclusion. “We’re bringing art and technology together to discuss D & I, viewing them through both a non-profit and international business model lens. While there may be areas of D & I that are specific to art and some that are specific to technology, there is far more that connects and binds us as we explore strategies to promote and improve equity, diversity and inclusion.”
Both the arts and technology industries say they are committed to diversity, but there isn’t a simple formula for building truly inclusive work environments. When we empower people to bring their whole selves to work, how do we ensure we don’t unconsciously select who that actually applies to? This event is dedicated to listening, learning and collaborating on ideas for what a diverse and inclusive workplace looks like in Dane County.
We will celebrate the various spectrums of the human experience and the value it brings when they are all present in an organization. We will explore actionable ways at both the individual and company level for how we can begin to unwind power structures that have allowed inequity, disparity and underrepresentation to form. We will learn how to tackle divisive comments and microaggressions. And we will begin to understand the biases we all have and chart a path to move beyond them.
Marsha R. Bonner is the former assistant vice president of human resources for the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) and recently accepted the vice president of human resources position at VillageCare. Marsha is active in grassroots, multicultural, women, LGBTQ, domestic violence, social justice and humanitarian initiatives and garnered international acclaim after her appearance on the ABC network television program “What Would You Do?” in an episode titled, “Interracial Couple Faces Criticism.” Marsha’s diplomatic boldness against bullying and intolerance in a Harlem barbershop created a “teachable moment” that became a viral sensation and has received more than 100 million views around the globe. Marsha is the Founder of the H.U.G.S. Movement (Helping Us Group Spiritually) to advocate appreciation of all humanity. www.mrbinspires.com
Tanya M. Odom, Ed.M. is a global consultant, writer, coach and diversity, equity, and inclusion and civil rights thought leader. She has worked globally for over 20 years, in over 30 countries, as a consultant, coach, storyteller and facilitator focusing on areas including: diversity and inclusion, inclusive leadership, race/racism, challenging conversations, mindfulness, coaching, innovation and creativity, educational equity and youth empowerment/mentoring. Workingmother.com/tanya-odom
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