Diversity Awards

Diversity Awards

Since 2008, The Forum’s Diversity Awards Program has recognized individuals or organizations showcasing exemplary insight and fortitude in the area of workplace diversity. Nominations are submitted for individuals, organizations, or a group within an organization such as an Employee Resource Group or Diversity Council.

Diversity Awards nominations are now open! See links below.

Since 2008, The Forum’s Diversity Awards Program has recognized individuals or organizations showcasing exemplary insight and fortitude in the area of workplace diversity. Nominations are submitted for individuals, organizations, or a group within an organization such as an Employee Resource Group or Diversity Council.

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Award Categories

Power the Future Award

The Power the Future Award goes to an individual new or emerging leader who:

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Effectively leads from their current position by consistently demonstrating innovative, future forward, visionary thinking

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Rallies, engages and inspires others around imagining and investing in future state possibilities

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Leads by example demonstrating a commitment to bold exploration, risk taking, and learning from both failure and success

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Seeks new challenges and challenges others to continually work toward making a difference in the work/life experiences of present and future generations

Power the Future Award

The Power the Future Award goes to an individual who:

9

Effectively leads from their current position by consistently demonstrating innovative, future forward, visionary thinking

9

Rallies, engages and inspires others around imagining and investing in future state possibilities

9

Leads by example demonstrating a commitment to bold exploration, risk taking, and learning from both failure and success

9

Seeks new challenges and challenges others to continually work toward making a difference in the work/life experiences of present and future generations

Winds of Change Award

The Winds of Change Award goes to an individual, organization, or group that:

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Has demonstrated sustained support for advancing diversity and inclusion in the workplace

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Has raised awareness of workplace diversity and inclusion issues

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Has been a catalyst for change regarding workplace diversity and inclusion and/or has impacted change within an industry, organization or local community

Jordan Maguire Roberge Friend of the Forum Award

Nominated and awarded by The Forum’s Program Committee, The Friend of the Forum Award goes to an individual who:

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Has demonstrated sustained support of The Forum.

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Has made significant contributions to The Forum in time, talent, leadership, content, vision or financial support

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Has increased visibility or helped expand The Forum within the local community or throughout the United States

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Has expanded the focus of The Forum as a nationally recognized premier diversity conference

2022 Diversity Award Winners

Amy Batiste

Jordan M. Roberge Friend of The Forum

In 2008, Amy Batiste began working as a consultant with the Multicultural Forum–that was The Forum’s name at the time. That year she led an effort with multiple community stakeholders to better define what was then just an annual, mostly local, two day conference. That stakeholder summit became the catalyst for the creation of the organization that The Forum is today.

Amy’s role set the foundation of The Forum’s rigorous effort to bring to its audiences the highest quality content and presentation from experts from around the world. She developed the annual themes, advised on keynote speakers, designed conference engagement, wrote scripts, and helped create our Call for Proposals process. She also was behind our name change and our first mission and vision statements. If you have heard us say, “Engaging People, Advancing Ideas, Igniting Change,” then you know Amy’s work.

Amy is the founder and CEO of Creative Catalysts, an affiliation of creative thinkers working toward social impact strategies and learning experiences for corporations, nonprofits, and governments. It is through her network of catalysts that The Forum continues its expansive work still today.

For her dedication to making The Forum the very best in diversity, equity, and inclusion learning and development, we are pleased to present our 2022 Jordan M. Roberge Friend of The Forum award to Amy Batiste.

Stephen Frost 

Winds of Change Award (Individual)

Stephen Frost is a globally recognized diversity, inclusion, and leadership expert, who founded Included–his United Kingdom-based consulting firm–in 2012. He works with leaders around the world to embed inclusive leadership into their decision-making.

From 2007-2012 Stephen designed, led, and implemented the inclusion programs for the London Olympic and Paralympic Games as Head of Diversity and Inclusion for the London Organizing Committee. London 2012 showed the world what inclusion can look and feel like and the value it can bring to individuals and organizations. Prior to his Olympics work, he established and led the workplace team at Stonewall, the UK LGBT advocacy organization. He has also led D&I at KPMG in the UK.

Stephen has taught Inclusive Leadership at Harvard Business School, Singapore Management University and Sciences Po in France and has advised the British Government, Royal Air Force, and the White House. He is author of The Inclusion Imperative (2014), Inclusive Talent Management (2016), and Building an Inclusive Organization (2019). He is writing a fourth book–The Key to Inclusion–in collaboration with a range of contributors, which will be published in June 2022.

Stephen also regularly writes for Forbes on topical diversity and inclusion issues, spanning neurodiversity, racial inequality, and gender parity. He speaks internationally to a range of audiences about diversity and inclusion, and helps raise the voices of others.

He has won various awards from the 2010 Peter Robertson Award for Equality and Diversity Champions and 2011 Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum to one of Management Today’s Change Agents for his race and gender work.

Stephen, with Included, skilfully and positively disrupts and educates the boardroom to help re-engineer organizations to be more inclusive. He is committed to achieving measurable change in the value added to organizations and to the wider world. He brings together leaders with deep expertise in diversity and inclusion, extensive leadership experience in the worlds of academia, business, and government, and strong capability in implementing programs in the public, private, and non-profit sectors.

It is for all these reasons–and especially his groundbreaking work with the Olympic movement–that the Forum’s awards committee is proud to present Stephen Frost with the 2022 Individual Winds of Change Award.

Bitwise Industries

Winds of Change Award (Organization)

Bitwise Industries was founded in 2013 with the mission of uplifting people from disadvantaged backgrounds and/or coming from systemic poverty by creating pathways into the technology industry. Bitwise builds tech ecosystems focused on activating human potential in America’s poorest zip codes through three key areas: Workforce, Industry, and Infrastructure.

The first component is workforce–training individuals to gain skills to enter the technology industry. Secondly,
Bitwise Tech Consulting creates world-class software and hires many of those coming through the Bitwise workforce program, providing real world experience and accelerated professional growth. Finally, Bitwise Real Estate takes blighted buildings and renovates them to create beautiful environments that house all of Bitwise, new start-ups, and related businesses, in a process that creates a strong community and reignites forgotten downtowns.

By discussing why barriers into employment are detrimental to minority groups, Bitwise has been able to spark discussions, changing minds about hiring practices and systemic barriers that disproportionately impact people of color. Part of Bitwise’s work is to make evident the obstacles that keep people from high wage, high-growth jobs, whether that is criminal background checks, childcare access, or an inability to spend time and/or money on training to acquire new skills. Bringing wider awareness is a critical part of showing others how to bring change into their workplaces.

Since its founding, Bitwise has trained more than 5,000 students, 80% of whom have acquired high-wage, high growth jobs. A 2020 survey showed the average trainee was a 26-year-old Latinx woman with a high school diploma, who was performing field, factory, restaurant, or retail work. The survey also showed 41% of Bitwise’s trainees identified as LGBTQ+, and nearly half were either first-generation Americans or undocumented immigrants. One in twenty are veterans, one in fifty are formerly incarcerated. Six out of ten trainees are women. On average, trainees’ new jobs triple their earnings after three years. Because one tech job creates 4.3 other jobs, Bitwise has created more than 15,000 total jobs.
Further, Bitwise has renovated more than 450,000 square feet of buildings, preserving cities’ unique downtown culture while creating inspiring, local places for Bitwise’s newly trained workforce. By providing the training and resources needed to enter the tech workforce and addressing the barriers to entry, Bitwise is helping to end generational poverty in communities and towns across the nation.

With clear impact and broad approach, The Forum is happy to present to Bitwise Industries its 2022 Organizational Winds of Change Award.

Farah Siddiqui

Power the Future

Religious identity and diversity are often left out of the broader DEI conversation in corporate America. But, we know that religion drives the values and decisions of billions of people across the globe and is a significant part of many individuals’ lived experiences in the workplace. In order to engage that diversity in a positive and productive way, we need interfaith leaders with the skills to do so. Farah Siddiqui is an exemplary interfaith leader, working to change the landscape of diversity, equity, and inclusion to be more inclusive of religious diversity.

Farah saw a gap in the way that her employer, Salesforce, was engaging religious diversity across the company. Her personal experience was one of being “very visible” due to the hijab (head scarf) that she wears as part of her expression of her Muslim identity, and at the same time “invisible” because there was very little acknowledgment of religious belief or practice across her team.

Farah didn’t accept the current reality at Salesforce but she also didn’t choose to complain or quit–that’s not the kind of leader she is. Instead, Farah chose to build a better culture at Salesforce that was intentionally inclusive of all religious and secular identities. She took their own personal experiences and effectively advocated for the creation of Faithforce, Salesforce’s Interfaith Employee Resource Group. Farah did all of this outside her role as a senior manager.

Faithforce is now one of the most well-respected, high impact Interfaith ERGs in the world and is made up of thousands of members across cultures and religious and philosophical backgrounds. All of this success grew out of Farah’s vision, commitment, and hard work.

Farah will tell you that she is 100% committed to creating an inclusive work environment and models authentic and humble engagement with religious diversity in her own life and work. She leans into the discomfort and invites others to do so as well, creating respectful spaces for mutual storytelling, religious literacy, and common action. She acknowledges deep difference while at the same time looking for common ground.

In sum, Farah is an exceptional emerging leader who has not only highlighted the need to engage religious diversity in the DEI field, but has shown all of us how to do it, inviting us in along the way.

For using her own time, talent, and skills of persuasion to fill a gap by creating a global religious presence for her organization, The Forum is delighted to present the Power the Future award to Farah Siddiqui.

2022 Honorable Mention

Power the Future

Cara Valentino | RTI International

Cara Valentino has always been bold. In the face of leadership resistance, she sparked the movement for racial justice within her organization and, as a result, is the person most responsible for securing institutional commitment to change. As the founder of her company’s Black Employee Resource Group and Open Forum on Race discussion group, she inspired the executive leadership team to implement concrete changes to advance racial equity in the institution. Cara has a long term view of the change she wants to create, with a focus beyond her own lifetime.

Maurice Wilson | State of Minnesota

Following the murder of George Floyd, Maurice Wilson recognized a need for black employees at the State of Minnesota to come together in mourning and support. He initiated regular discussions which would later become the Equity and Justice Black Caucus. His invitation was and continues to be widely circulated, encouraging people of all races to have open and honest conversations about the state of race in our society. Steadily increasing participation (more than 4000!) is a sign that his efforts continue to have success.

Winds of Change Individual

Mark Fowler | Tanenbaum

Rev. Mark Fowler is a queer, Black, interfaith, interspiritual minister who, after twelve years of employment and in the middle of the 2020 pandemic and social revolution, was appointed as CEO of the Tanenbaum Center. Before and since his appointment, Mark has strived to make Tanenbaum’s workplace and programming, a beacon of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. He guides Tanenbaum’s work of promoting justice and building respect for difference, including religious difference, by transforming individuals and institutions to reduce prejudice, hatred, and violence, approaching each new challenge as an opportunity to bring communities together.

Irma Olguin Jr. | Bitwise Industries

To understand why Irma Olguin Jr. is driven to raise awareness for diversity, equity, and inclusion, you need to understand where she started. Irma is a Central California native who comes from a long line of fieldworkers, never knowing other work was possible. After taking the PSAT and hearing from colleges, she realized she had the potential for more. After graduation, she returned home determined to provide similar opportunities for people within her community. Irma created Bitwise Industries with the mission to uplift people in disadvantaged communities by teaching the skills needed to succeed in the technology industry. Bitwise builds tech ecosystems focused on activating human potential in America’s poorest zip codes.

Winds of Change Organization

Out of Hand Theater

Winner of The New York Times Best Theater of 2020, Out of Hand Theater works at the intersection of art, social justice, and civic engagement. They use their skills as theater artists—the ability to design and lead collaborative processes, conceptualize and execute public events, synthesize complex content into articulate meaning, and create shared investment—to work with non-arts partners to build community and promote social justice. Out of Hand has collaborated with dozens of community partners to produce programs that combine art to open hearts, information to open minds, and conversation to process emotions, all to make a plan for action.

PRIDE Industries

Founded in 1966 with a mission to create employment for people with disabilities, PRIDE Industries has continued to champion diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workforce with the belief that each person has unique abilities to offer. True pioneers of the modern inclusivity movement, the founders grew the organization into the nation’s leading employer of people with all types of disabilities and other barriers to employment— including former foster youth, human trafficking survivors, and military veterans. PRIDE Industries’ record of success in advancing workplace inclusion earned them recognition as the “Leading Disability Employer” by the National Organization on Disability (NOD).

Past Diversity Award Winners

Winds of Change

  • Barilla America (2021), Candi Castleberry Singleton (2021)
  • Subha Barry (2020), Scott Fearing (2020)
  • Marnita’s Table (2019), Dr. Saundarya Rajesh (2019)
  • US Business Leadership Network (2018), Frederick A. Miller (2018)
  • Department of Citywide Diversity and Equal Employment Opportunity for the City of New York (2017), Michele Meyer-Shipp (2017)
  • CAIR MN (2016), Mary-Frances Winters (2016), J.T. (Ted) Childs Jr. (2016)
  • The Mayo Clinic’s LGBTI (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex) Employee Resource Group (2015), Dr. Johnnetta B. Cole (2015)
  • Stinson Leonard Street (2014), Ken Charles (2014)
  • University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (2013), Howard Ross (2013)
  • City of Brooklyn Park’s Human Rights Commission (2012), ConAgra Foods (2012), Emily King (2012) Chaplain John Morris (2011)
  • Dr. Reatha Clark King, (2010) Deb Dagit (2010)
  • Lee Butcher (2009), Ghafar Lakanwal (2009)
  • Richard (Dick) Gaskins (2008), Eric Watson (2008)

Jordan M. Roberge
Friend of The Forum

  • Manichan “Joy” Nguyen (2021)
  • Destiny Xiong (2020)
  • Betsy Lofgren (2019)
  • Robby Gregg (2018)
  • Jordan Roberge (2017)
  • Dave Baker (2016)
  • Renee Pagano (2015)
  • Kurt Wiger (2014)
  • Elsa Batica (2013)
  • Lyle H. Iron Moccasin (2012) Sue Plaster (2011)
  • Jim Burnett (2010)
  • Syl Booth (2009)
  • Terri Ricci (2008)
  • Vivian Tanniehill (2008)

Power the Future

  • Youlanda Gibbons (2021)
  • Melanie Muñoz (2020)
  • Brian Richardson Jr. MS.Ed (2019)
  • Joshua Love (2018)

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