Greater KC Chamber’s POWER of Diversity Breakfast to honor culturally diverse business leaders

Date: October 10, 2012

Contact: Pam Whiting, (816) 374-5481; e-mail whiting@kcchamber.com
Katie Erwin, (816) 374-5465; e-mail erwin@kcchamber.com

The Chamber’s POWER of Diversity Breakfast to honor culturally diverse business leaders Program highlights impact of diversity in community, offers education on its importance in workplace

More than 300 Kansas Citians who support racial, gender, ethnic, and cultural diversity in our community will gather for the POWER of Diversity breakfast from 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. on October 16, 2012 at The Gallery Event Space Downtown, 61 E. 14th Street, KCMO.

The POWER of Diversity breakfast seeks to unite all who support diversity and recognize its importance in a successful and inclusive business community. The Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce values and promotes diversity because it enhances the business community and the economic development of the region through: increasing regional and global business development; expanding educational opportunities; and creating a robust community infrastructure that encourages all community members to make contributions using their special talents, expertise, and knowledge.

Linda Alvarado, owner of Alvarado Construction and co-owner of the Colorado Rockies, will be the keynote speaker. Alvarado personifies the classic American dream. Born to a poor family in New Mexico, she earned an academic scholarship to college and began an unlikely career in the male-dominated construction business. The company has become one of the most successful contracting firms in the country, building multi-million dollar hospitals, airports, and stadiums. In the early 1990s Alvarado was asked to step up to the plate and join six other Denver entrepreneurs in a bid to buy a major league baseball team. Alvarado has broken through several glass ceilings, both as a woman and as a minority. She is the first female CEO to head up a major construction firm. She is also the first woman and the first Hispanic to buy a major sports team. These "firsts" have made Alvarado a role model, a position she is proud to play. As she told Enterprising Women, "I view my path as one that will open doors of opportunity for other women and people of color to pursue."

As a new feature of the event, the Champions of Diversity awards will be presented to Burns & McDonnell, KCP&L, and UMB Bank; three very worthy inaugural recipients, who are leading by example as they embrace diversity in their workforces, management structures, boards of directors, company cultures, and in the Kansas City community.

“Burns & McDonnell believes strongly in the importance of cultivating and maintaining a diverse workforce and supplier base because it’s the best way we know to foster a culture of innovation and performance,” said Burns & McDonnell Chairman and CEO Greg Graves. “We face tough competition every day in the engineering, architecture, and construction industry and nobody has a monopoly on innovation. That’s why we invest heavily in the communities we serve to lift up the disadvantaged and under-served. Practices that promote diversity in the workplace and in our supplier base are just good business.”

“At UMB, we recognize a commitment to diversity and inclusiveness as an essential part of delivering our Count on more promise to customers and associates,” said Peter deSilva, chairman and CEO of UMB Bank. “We continuously explore opportunities to strengthen diversity and inclusion, an essential component of our culture.”

“At KCP&L we are committed to energizing life in our community by developing and maintaining a diverse workforce and suppliers,” said Terry Bassham, KCP&L president and CEO. “We believe a community is only as strong as the businesses that support it. When we are able to contribute to the success of diverse employees and suppliers, not only do we benefit, the local community and economy benefit, too.”

The Chamber’s new diversity subcommittee will outline its plans to support diverse workforce recruitment and retention, and encourage our regional business community to embrace diversity in thought, action, workforce talent, and supplier base.

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