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StartOut Chicago Presents Diversity Improves Your Bottom Line: HR...

Event organized by StartOut

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Research suggests that companies with diverse workforces deliver better results than non-diverse businesses. Inclusion provides a broader talent pool for hiring, better problem solving, more innovation, and a greater understanding of the market.

In this panel discussion, we'll discuss the "why" and "how" for building a diverse workforce.Panelists include:

Anna "AJ" Johnson, Program Manager, Diversity and Inclusion, Braintree

Before Braintree, AJ developed and taught philosophy classes at DePaul University. AJ joined Braintree in the summer of 2015 as a member of the training team, designing and facilitating trainings about the world of fintech. When Braintree decided to take more proactive steps towards creating a diverse and inclusive team, AJ advocated for the institution of a gender neutral bathroom in the office and began designing trainings around various topics related to diversity and inclusion. In the summer of 2017, AJ stepped into the full-time role of Diversity and Inclusion Program Manager for Braintree, and now oversees all inclusion efforts, company-wide D&I education, and program evaluation and assessment.

Seth Heape, SVP of HR and Corporate Culture, MB Financial

Seth is responsible for overseeing MB Financial Bank’s Corporate Culture. His work touches all 3,600 employees encompassing employee-directed charitable and volunteer events, teambuilding, philanthropic activities, employee engagement, and new hire orientation. As the Diversity and Inclusion Officer for the bank, he oversees the established Employee Resource Groups with a constant effort to grow and expand their capacity and areas of specialization. Seth is also responsible for administering and implementing the affirmative action plan of the bank’s parent company, MB Financial Inc. His diverse experience enables him to leverage his expertise in sales and operations management to recognize, train, and develop young talent. Seth currently sits on the board of the LGBTQ Chamber of Commerce of Illinois and has been a member since 2011.

Jim Conti, People Lead, dscout

Jim Conti recently joined dscout as the first People Lead. In this new role, Jim will be leading both the strategy and execution of all people-related functions. Prior to dscout, Jim served as Director of Talent at Sprout Social, a Chicago-based software company, where he built, grew and oversaw a team of 12 across recruitment, talent, culture, HR and benefits strategy for the organization. While in this role, Sprout Social was routinely recognized by employees for being an exceptional workplace through awards from Glassdoor, Chicago Tribune, Crain’s Chicago, and Built in Chicago. Jim’s early career was in the non-profit and education sectors where he worked in recruitment, program development and fundraising for Accelerate Institute, one of Chicago's premier education reform entities.

Moderated by:

Bernadette Smith, Founder & President / Equality Institute

Bernadette Smith’s vision is for all people to receive equal treatment as they move through life. She is CEO of Equality Institute, a firm dedicated to consulting with businesses on issues of unconscious bias, diversity and inclusion. She started her career as a pioneer in the LGBTQ wedding industry, where she wrote three books and became a sought-after thought leader, speaker and consultant on issues of inclusion in weddings and travel.

Light snacks and beverages will be served.

Date: April 18, 2018

Time: 5:30- 7:30 pm