Panelists discuss how diversity generates economic development

A panel of community leaders analyzed how diversity could bring more economic development to Columbus.

Six panelists represents health care, higher education and the business community were featured at “Lead by Design: An Inspirational Initiative” Thursday morning at Mill Race Center in downtown Columbus. More than 100 people attended the panel discussion.

The discussion, the first in a series, centered around what panelists said were the many benefits of diversity in the community and workplace. The event was organized by the IUPUC Center for Business and Economic Development and the IUPUC Office for Women and was moderated by Nicole Pence Becker, owner of Pence Media Group and niece of Vice President Mike Pence.

Panelist Julie Abedian, vice president of community partnerships and corporate responsibility at Columbus Regional Health, said diversity allows companies to pull from larger applicant pools, potentially maximizing the talent on staff.

Panelists Chatney Gelfius, independent senior sales director at Mary Kay, and Ryan Brewer, associate professor of finance at IUPUC, said diversity can help businesses boost their performance.

“When we get as much variation (in employees) as we can handle and still have anger, hate, sadness minimized, then we’re going to get better results because the ideas that we generate are going to be more varied,” Brewer said. “And if people genuinely listen to one another, we’re going to have a better portfolio of ideas for the business to choose from. Therefore, the returns on their investments can be optimized more easily.”

For more on this story, see Saturday’s Republic.