Simplified: The nonprofit Pathways to Inclusive and Equitable Workplaces started in 2020 with a goal of educating businesses on why diversity, equity and inclusion are both important for the community and good for business.

Why it matters

  • Founder Kira Kimball had more than 100 conversations with local business, civic and community leaders in 2019. She asked all of them about the importance of diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I).
"Everybody said, 'It's important,' and everybody said, 'No, we don't know how to do this," Kimball said.
  • From there, Kimball knew what the community needed was more help understanding what it DE&I means and how it applies to workplaces. She and a dozen or so others formed Pathways the following year.
  • In its first two years, the nonprofit has worked with the Sioux Falls Area Chamber of Commerce and businesses to provide education and practical ways to be more inclusive. Now, the focus is shifting toward the broader community with a new event Friday open to anyone in the community.
"Most people think about diversity and they only think about race," said Willette Capers, Pathways board chair and assistant vice provost for diversity, equity and inclusion at Augustana College. "They don't think about the other identities that we as human beings show up with."

Ok, so what is diversity, equity and inclusion?

Diversity is a way to describe who individuals are, Capers said. It's race, yes, but it's also gender, socioeconomic status, education status, whether or not you're a parent, religion, any other background traits you bring to the table.

"I show up as a black person, as a woman, as a person who had the opportunity to be educated, as a woman who didn't have children, as a person with a learning disability" Capers said, as an example.

Equity means the opportunities a person has aren't limited by who they are.

Inclusion is an action. It's how people in the community show up to create opportunities for greater equity, Capers said.

Tell me more about the upcoming event

The event is called "Foundations of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion."

  • The goal is to start conversations that help attendees realize how diversity, equity and inclusion shows up in everyday interactions.

And while most of Pathways' work up to this point has been focused on businesses, this event is open to anyone.

"Anyone who wants to be empowered with this information to be a change-maker is welcome," Kimball said. "Our goals would be to give some tactical, practical takeaways for folks who are in workplaces."

Give me the specifics – what's next?

The event will be held from 7:45 a.m. to 10:15 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 16 at the Hilton Garden Inn.

It's free to attend, but you can reserve your spot here and make sure you've got a seat.