Volunteer Opportunities

Volunteer At Workplace Forum 2018

Enjoy the benefits of being a volunteer for this amazing event.

We would love to have you volunteer your time to assist us with our hospitality and logistics needs at the 2018 Forum on Workplace Inclusion! You don’t necessarily have to have expertise in the diversity & inclusion field to volunteer, and we appreciate anyone who shares our passion for providing the best possible experience to our attendees!

See the FAQs section below to learn about the different volunteer roles that are available during the three days of the conference on April 10-12, 2018.

Become a Volunteer Today!

Elevate Thinking, Ideas and Practices

The Forum on Workplace Inclusion is a conference experience designed to elevate thinking, ideas and practices that can create positive shifts in diversity, equity and inclusion in every type of workplace. The Forum on Workplace Inclusion’s 30th Anniversary Conference is a three-day learning experience that brings people together from across the globe to engage in fresh thinking and new ideas. With a rich history behind us, the 30th Annual Conference provides an opportunity in 2018 to celebrate the Forum’s growth and evolution–but we don’t stop there.

In turning 30, The Forum seizes the opportunity to look forward with intention, imagine possibilities, invite fresh perspectives and create new shifts in thinking that examine trending challenges across industries, and exercise future forward thinking.

Become a Volunteer Today!

Creating A Volunteer Schedule

There are several volunteer shifts available on each of the three days of The Forum. Please consider your schedule when you select which shifts you are most interested in, since you may be assigned to any or all of your top choices.


Shifts are separated in to morning (approx. 7:00AM – 12:30PM), afternoon (approx. 12:00PM – 5:30PM), or all day (approx. 7:00AM – 5:30PM). All shifts include meals and breaks!


Volunteers are welcome to attend general sessions during their shifts, or attend any other conference concurrent sessions outside of their shifts on the days they volunteer.


Volunteers can also receive a steeply discounted registration rate for the days they do not volunteer. In addition, all volunteers will receive a free Forum Volunteer t-shirt!

Become a Volunteer Today!

Volunteer FAQs

Below are commonly asked questions about being a volunteer at the Workplace Forum.

Volunteers can apply to serve in one of one of six categories, as outlined in the FAQs. Each volunteer type plays a vital role in the success of The Forum, and we encourage you to consider applying for whichever type best fits your skills and interests.

What volunteer roles are available?

Hospitality Volunteer:

Hospitality volunteers are the face of the Forum. You may be the first person an attendee will see at the Forum. You are Forum ambassadors and share a common goal with Forum staff – to ensure attendees have an exceptional learning experience. With a national, and increasingly international presence of attendees at the Forum, we ask that you extend and share Minnesota hospitality. Duties include greeting and wayfinding, assisting attendees with disabilities, and providing guidance to those who appear lost, inquisitive, or generally have questions about the event. Hospitality volunteers may also be asked to attend to the Diversity & Inclusion Coaching Center.

Diversity & Inclusion Coaching Center Volunteer:

The D&I Coaching Center is a groundbreaking service established to provide individual professional coaching and consulting to conference attendees. Volunteers can be assigned to multiple roles within the Center to assure the smooth flow of services in a non-intrusive environment with maximum interaction.

Volunteer assignments include (1) welcoming and registering the coachees and coaches, assisting in confirming coaching appointments; (2) greeting and wayfinding, and/or (3) serving as room coordinators to provide support to the coachees and coaches. Because D&I coaching is strictly confidential, all volunteers in this space will be required to sign a confidentiality agreement.

Registration Volunteer:

Staffing seven counters, our registration team will check in over 1,500 attendees over the course of three days, ensuring that all attendees receive a warm welcome to The Forum, receive all conference collateral, and a brief orientation to the conference space. This is a busy role during peak times!

Marketplace Volunteer:

The Forum Marketplace is the hub of all activity during the three days of the conference. Volunteers here assist with exhibitors, events, and stations throughout the Exhibit Hall and can be expected to provide support to exhibitors during set up and take down, to ensure smooth operation of our interactive Learning Labs, to manage book signings, or to MC the Spotlight Series presentations.

Session Coordinator Volunteer:

The main duty of a session coordinator is to assist the session host and presenters to ensure a smooth session. Volunteers are assigned to one room for the duration of their shift for continuity and easy transition between sessions. Coordinators should have basic knowledge of how to operate PCs and Macs, how to call up documents from flash drives and how to start PowerPoint presentations. Coordinators track session time, manage room supplies, and should use innovative thinking when approaching logistical problem situations.

Session Host Volunteer:

The session host is responsible for working with presenters and the session coordinator to ensure session management and success. Volunteer hosts act as official representatives of The Forum and the presenters, panelists, and attendees. Hosts introduce presenters, help to keep discussions on track and manage conflict resolution if needed. Hosts complete evaluations after each session for the highest caliber content and presentation form. While we encourage anyone to apply, host roles are typically given to seasoned Forum volunteers.

How old do I need to be to volunteer?
Because The Forum on Workplace Inclusion is hosted by the University of St. Thomas, university policy requires all volunteers to be 18 years of age or older.
What training / orientation opportunities are available for Forum volunteers?

In the days leading up to the Forum, all volunteers are asked to attend one of two orientation sessions. Sessions will be held on the downtown Minneapolis campus of the University of St. Thomas.

The two sessions will be held on Thursday, April 5 (9:30 – 11:30 AM) and Saturday, April 7 (9:30 – 11:30 AM). When you apply to be a volunteer, you will be asked to select which session you prefer. Specific details regarding the orientation sessions will be provided as the dates approach.

Refreshments and complimentary parking will be provided! Volunteer t-shirts will also be distributed at these orientation sessions. Make sure to pick yours up!

Thornton Auditorium
1000 LaSalle Avenue
Terrence Murphy Hall, 2nd Floor
Minneapolis, MN 55403

On the days I volunteer, where should I park?

The Forum on Workplace Inclusion contracts with a City of Minneapolis-owned parking ramp, the Leamington Ramp, on the southeast corner of 10th Street and 2nd Avenue South. The Leamington Ramp is a short two block walk southward to the Minneapolis Convention Center. It is also connected to the Convention Center via the skyway.

All Forum volunteers who drive for their shifts should park in the Leamington Ramp. For each day you volunteer, you will receive a validated parking ticket to cover your parking expenses. Unfortunately, we cannot validate parking in any other location; The Forum cannot reimburse for any other parking charges.

What conference benefits are available to volunteers?

The Forum is pleased to offer all conference volunteers a steeply discounted registration rate for any days that you wish to attend outside of your volunteer days. See our 2018 Rates page for more information.

Volunteer days are considered complimentary; if you volunteer on Tuesday morning, for instance, we invite you to attend the conference for the rest of the day at no cost to you. Additional days that you do not volunteer are available at a forty percent discount. Please visit our website for registration rate information!

All volunteers are invited to attend general sessions and meals at no cost.

How should I dress for the conference?

We ask that all conference attendees follow a business casual dress style.

For volunteers, you will receive a complimentary Forum t-shirt, in purple, with The Forum’s institutional logo on the left side. Returning volunteers will be familiar with the style. Shirts will be distributed at one of the two Forum volunteer orientation sessions.

For 2018, we are issuing new volunteer t-shirts to all volunteers because our institutional logo has changed. If you already have a Forum t-shirt from previous years, they will not be used going forward.

We suggest comfortable khaki or dress pants/skirt, with comfortable shoes. Many volunteers arrive already wearing their volunteer t-shirt, or choose to put it over a collared shirt or blouse. Since many of the volunteer tasks involve standing and moving, sandals or open toed shoes are not recommended.

I applied to become a volunteer. When will I know what days, shifts, and role I will be placed into?

We receive about 200 applications for volunteers every year. We are so grateful for so much interest in supporting the Forum’s conference! We generally accept around 130-140 volunteers to assist across all four days of the event.

Because the application system opens in December and runs through early-to-mid February, it is likely that you may not hear back from us regarding your application for a few weeks, outside of the automated confirmation email that your application has been received.

We try to assign and place volunteers on a rolling basis, so that no one must wait for months and receive notice of their acceptance and placement too close to the event in April. We want to be very accommodating to our applicants’ time and schedules. This is a big task, to juggle ranked preferences for days, times and roles. We do apologize for the wait, and we certainly hope The Forum is worth the wait!