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Intentional Inclusion – Feeling Safe, Seen, Heard and Respected

Posted by: Angie Prather on Thursday, February 6, 2020

Why does the C-suite at Dow, a successful and well-established global company, put so much emphasis on the intentional inclusion of their 37,000 employees?  According to their Chief Human Resources Officer & Chief Inclusion Officer, Karen S. Carter, Dow leadership understands and embraces the symbiotic relationship between a best in class employee experience and a best in class customer experience.

Employees who feel safe, seen, heard and respected will bring their best solutions and ideas to their team. And those diverse views often lead to inventive solutions, better decision making and higher innovation revenue. (A study by Boston Consulting Group indicates that companies with above-average diversity on their management teams reported innovation revenue that was 19 percentage points higher than that of companies with below-average leadership diversity—45% of total revenue versus just 26%.)

Native Wichitan Karen S. Carter (pictured left) was the keynote speaker at the Chamber’s annual Chair’s Lunch on Jan. 30 at INTRUST Bank Arena. Urging the 500 business leaders and elected officials attending the event to “open the door to real action” on the topic of intentional inclusion and diversity, Carter called for less debate and more dialogue. She reminded business leaders that there’s nothing to gain with division. “Diversity is a fact. Inclusion is a choice. Always lead with inclusion.”

Carter shared that boosting business requires winning the war for talent by creating a sense of belonging. “Reinventing Wichita does not negate a proud history; it simply imagines a vibrant future. Let’s make Wichita synonymous with opportunity.”

Citing studies about improved market outcomes that result from a diverse workforce, Carter shared that companies that embrace diversity are 45% more likely to report that their firm’s market share grew over the previous year. (Harvard Business Review)

Karen S. Carter and Junetta Everett share their thoughts during a fireside discussion on stage at Chair's Lunch.Ultimately, intentional inclusion is about both business success and personal growth. Carter’s presentation was a reminder that we are all responsible for respecting others and removing inclusion barriers related to age, ethnicity, gender, social class, education, physical ability/attributes, values, national origin, race and political beliefs.


1) PARTICIPATE.  The Chamber’s 2020 Chair, Junetta Everett of Delta Dental of Kansas, provided Chair’s Lunch attendees with action items and community initiatives and events to engage in making inclusion and diversity a key driver for talent and business success. 

2) READ.  Other resources on the event program included a book enjoyed by both Everett and Carter, Dare to Lead by Brene Brown. Children’s books donated to attendees and recommended by the Kansas Health Foundation included Mixed:  A Colorful Story by Arree Chung (pictured right); Say Hello! by Rachel Isadora; We’re Different, We’re the Same by Bobbi Kates; Zero by Kathryn Otoshi.

3) FOLLOW.  Karen S. Carter is active on Twitter and frequently shares inclusion resources and information @KarenS_Carter.

You’ll find event photos on our Facebook Album.

Thank you to our partners, sponsors and all those who attended. A special shout out to those who shared their impressions and favorite quotes on Twitter using #ICTLevelUp. From 11:30 am -1:30 pm that day there were more than 230 tweets from 43 individuals and 12 companies.

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