“We have work to do,” said Natalie S. Burke, President and CEO of CommonHealth ACTION, during her Keynote address at the 2019 Hampton Roads Leadership Summit. And she meant that literally. Burke is a public health leader and speaker, known nationally as an “equity evangelist.”
She added, “There are lessons that even the ‘woke’ need to learn,” arguing that everyone, even the culturally competent, needs to work more towards achieving greater diversity, equity, and inclusivity.
Nneka Chiazor, Regional Vice President of Public and Government Affairs for Cox Communications, agrees, saying, “It’s important as members of the community to be part of the conversation.”
Old Dominion University President John R. Broderick believes the academic and business community of Hampton Roads is ready to further engage in the conversation, adding, “This summit is evidence that people in our region are willing to have a dialog.”
The Hampton Roads Leadership Summit event is a follow up to the Hampton Roads Chamber’s Diversity and Inclusion forums held this past February and October, which tackled minorities’ workplace challenges and concerns, better hiring practices, and workforce diversity opportunities within the Hampton Roads region.
Today’s event seeks to remove systemic obstacles to organizational equity, inclusivity, and diversity to make Hampton Roads institutions more competitive. It was titled, “Leading with Values, Not Bias: Applying an Equity Lens to Produce Good Health, Strong Communities, Effective Organizations, and Innovative Business.” The way towards these, Burke says, is through dialog.
Also among today’s speakers are Dr. Janice Underwood, Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion with the Office of the Governor for the Commonwealth of Virginia, a former ODU professor, and Dr. Ron Carlee, an Assistant Professor in the School of Public Service at the Strome College of Business, ODU.
The Hampton Roads Leadership Summit is presented by Old Dominion University and U.S. Senator Mark Warner’s office. The event’s co-sponsors include LEAD Hampton Roads and the Hampton Roads Chamber, CIVIC Leadership Institute, LEAD Peninsula and the Virginia Peninsula Chamber of Commerce, and LEAD Historic Triangle and Greater Williamsburg Chamber of Commerce. Additional co-sponsors include Volunteer Hampton Roads and Reinvent Hampton Roads. The Corporate presenting sponsor is Cox Communications, and additional sponsors include the Port of Virginia, Newport News Shipbuilding, the Brock Institute, and CHKD & Bon Secours Mercy Health.
The Hampton Road Chamber acts as an inspiring ignitor, impactful advocate, powerful economic partner, and regional collaborator. We mean business and are excited to bring opportunities like this to our members.