Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Since 1974, Leadership Columbus has been the premier training ground to educate, empower, equip and prepare more than 3,300 individuals to become the current and future trustees in and for our community.

Diversity is at the heart of our organization’s mission: To develop, connect and inspire diverse leaders who serve as catalysts in building a strong and vibrant community.

Leadership Columbus is committed to making diversity a hallmark of our programs and a core value of the organization, while also innovating and enhancing a curriculum that will address the root causes of historical outcome disparities. We are committed to creating a safe(R) space to bring people together across differences to build bonds, trust, and dialogue.

In addition, it is incumbent upon us to cultivate leaders who think systemically, operate collaboratively and drive solutions that move us forward to a more resilient and equitable community. We believe that people, working collaboratively, have the power to create positive change.

  • Employees – Talented and creative employees are our most critical resource and the foundation for the future of Leadership Columbus. Our continued success depends upon a diverse, team-driven work environment. Valuing differences amongst our staff members, we work to give everyone the opportunity to develop their skills and talents in line with our values and organizational objectives.
  • Program Participants – Our community is comprised of many diverse individuals and groups, each representing a history, culture, passion, and perspective. By making an effort to learn about and include multiple viewpoints in their deliberations, program participants are able to recognize the value of each person and the added importance of learning from those who have different ideas and lived experiences. Our staff is tasked with the objective to recruit and select class participants that reflect the rich diversity of our community.
  • Suppliers – We believe that extending opportunities to women and minority-owned business enterprises and social enterprises is simply good business practice. We actively seek a diverse set of partners who help us execute programs. These partners include food vendors, venue owners, facilitators, coaches, mentors, panelists, and trainers.
  • Board of Trustees – Equally important to the success of Leadership Columbus is a board that not only embraces diversity and inclusion but also reflects those same qualities. We intentionally build relationships with and recruit board members from various lived experiences that represent the Columbus we serve.

Leadership Columbus cultivates an environment that values diverse perspectives and embraces the unique strengths and differences of program participants while promoting community stewardship and civic engagement.

How Leadership Columbus is Operationalizing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)

We recognize that our statements are only effective when we put our words into action. Below are examples of steps we have and are taking to ensure we operationalize our commitment to DEI.

  • Curriculum Committee – Comprised of subject matter experts, including individuals that focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion work, program graduates, and non-graduates. The Curriculum Committee was formed in July 2020. The committee, curated by our Associate Director, helps to advise staff on program curriculum and provides guidance related to other offerings.
  • All learning objectives for each program are interrogated through a DEI lens, both with the Curriculum Committee and at the staff level. This includes the addition of ensuring each program receives training in a DEI framework. We believe DEI should be taught and also integrated into every part of the curriculum.
  • Leadership Columbus Diversity Scholarship Fund – The Diversity Scholarship Fund was established at The Columbus Foundation in August 2020 to help remove financial barriers to our programs for populations historically underrepresented in leadership. We believe this is one way we can be a part of changing the landscape of leadership to reflect the greater community. Click the link above to make a donation to The Diversity Fund.
  • Diversity on Leadership Columbus Board of Trustees – We can better achieve our mission by drawing on the skills, talents, and perspectives of a broader and more diverse range of leaders, and that the diversity of viewpoints that comes from different life experiences and cultural backgrounds strengthens board deliberations and decision making. Therefore, the Board of Trustees will use a strategic composition matrix to identify opportunities with respect to race, sectors, skills, experiences, and other applicable diversity dimensions. 
  • One of our values is that we are culture creators. We create culture based on all the values we hold. Current culture serves only to communicate to us what needs to be changed. We innovate and set the pace for what it means to lead and be community trustees. We challenge the status quo and conventional ways of leadership, seeking innovative ways to help individuals and organizations lead in the community. By adopting this value in the DEI space, we invite a culture of interrogation that seeks to dismantle oppressive systems and move towards equitable and sustainable shifts whenever applicable. 
  • Marketing and communications – Ensure marketing and communication materials reflect the diversity of the Signature Program participants and alumni.

We are learning and unlearning. We know there is more to do.  We are working to dismantle the systems of oppression that live inside of us and our organizations. We are committed to being intentional and transparent about what that work looks like. This summary of actionable ways we are holding ourselves accountable is a living document; we will add to it and review our progress regularly.