Diversity Focus ceasing operation, CEO resigns

Programs to be moved to 'interested' organizations

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Diversity Focus, an organization formed 11 years ago to promote diversity, cultural awareness and inclusion in the Corridor, is ceasing operations.

The not-for-profit’s board of directors made the decision, saying in a news release that the landscape of community, economic development and workforce organizations has changed and diversity and inclusion work needs to be aligned with established community organizations.

The board, which will continue to meet, accepted the resignation of Chad Simmons, the organization’s president and CEO, on Tuesday.

“As president and CEO of Diversity Focus, I am pleased with the numerous organizations we have incubated as well as events and microbusinesses that support diversity in the region,” Simmons said in the news release.

Diversity Focus was established to be a resource for information on diversity, cultural awareness and inclusion in the Corridor. Among its activities was the annual Workplace (Re)volution business professionals conference.

It also collaborated with the Employee Resource Group Consortium, a member-based organization that supports employment related initiatives through collaborative partnerships, professional development and networking opportunities.

The Diversity Focus board said it is committed to transitioning diversity and inclusion initiatives to other “interested” organizations.

“Everyone with Diversity Focus remains strongly committed to the organization’s mission and will continue to support the next generation of diversity and inclusion efforts throughout the Corridor,” Circe Stumbo, acting board chairwoman, said in the news release.

Clay Jones, former Rockwell Collins chairman, president and CEO, led the formation of Diversity Focus in September 2005. Rockwell Collins was joined by ACT Inc., Alliant Energy, Guaranty Bank, the city of Cedar Rapids, the Cedar Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce (now Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance), Kirkwood Community College and the University of Iowa to launch Diversity Focus.

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