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New Zealand’s first Diversity Summit

Wednesday, Jun 29, 2016, by Sheryl Blythen

Global and local experts on diversity and inclusion in the workplace will converge in Auckland for New Zealand’s first Diversity Summit in August. Organised by Diversity Works New Zealand (formerly the EEO Trust), the summit will provide a unique opportunity for Kiwi organisations to learn about initiatives creating a more inclusive culture in workplaces around the world. Diversity Works New Zealand chief executive Bev Cassidy-Mackenzie says the summit will also showcase local companies who are maximising the economic and staff-focused benefits of diversity and how their initiatives can be scaled to suit businesses of all sizes from all sectors. A session on how technology is changing the workplace will help companies set themselves up for future success and people leaders from within some of New Zealand’s most forward-thinking organisations will participate in a panel discussion, sharing their experiences of diversity and inclusion. Among the high-profile international speakers confirmed for the summit is Dr Lisa Coleman, Harvard University’s first Chief Diversity Officer and Special Assistant to the President of Harvard. Dr Coleman will present the latest information on unconscious bias and how it impacts the way people lead, learn and work together. Research has shown that implicit biases, often systematized within organisational practices, can have a significant impact on leadership effectiveness, workplace interactions, communication, decision making, perceptions and beliefs about others. Dr Coleman’s session will introduce approaches to help identify biases, and explore strategies to help remedy organisational bias. “It’s fantastic to have a speaker of Dr Coleman’s calibre lined up for our Diversity Summit,” Cassidy-Mackenzie says. Addressing unconscious bias is becoming a focus for more New Zealand businesses, she says. “Whether we accept it or not, we tend to like people who look like us, think like us and come from backgrounds like our own.” Undiagnosed, biases work to subtly undermine the hours of time organisations invest in developing a diverse and inclusive culture, Cassidy-Mackenzie says. “Our summit is a great chance for Kiwi organisations to hear the latest global research on this important concept and get effective strategies to reduce the impact of unconscious bias at an organisational level.” Diversity Summit NZ 2016 will be held at Auckland’s Sky City Convention Centre on Tuesday, August 23. Get more information or book for the summit at www.diversityworksnz.org.nz/diversitysummit2016 For more information, to arrange an interview or to request a hi-res image, please contact: Diversity Works Chief Executive Bev Cassidy-Mackenzie bcassidymackenzie@diversityworksnz.org.nz + 64 274 397 458  

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