McKINNEY, TX – The strange cadence that was 2020 has turned into an even stranger cadence of 2021. Not only is COVID-19 still around, businesses – large and small – are dealing with labor shortages, supply chain issues, mandates, and much more.

One of the topics we, as a Chamber of Commerce, pledged to start tackling in 2020 was diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). We promised a multi-pronged approach to help the McKinney area define any actionable changes that can be made at the local or state level.

As a result, we formed a DEI Task Force led by Don McKneely, the president and founder of Business News Group. Other members of the task force include Leroy Armstrong with Charis Communications, Derrick Robinson of AEYL, James Craig of Craig International and Katy Drake Bettner of Playful Studios.

The McKinney Chamber has also reinstated its Foundation to provide funding for our Diversity Initiatives – which led to a successful fundraising campaign led by Nate Pike of Utter Pike Private Wealth Management Group of Wells Fargo Advisors. The lead donor is Independent Financial. Other companies that have contributed include Raytheon, Emerson, Atmos Energy, and more.

“I’m thrilled the Chamber is leading the many fantastic businesses in our community toward this crucial objective at such an important time,” said James Tippit, the Executive Vice President of Corporate Responsibility at Independent Financial. “Ultimately, DEI is about being unified not uniform. It creates a place of belonging that allows for individual flourishing and connection to each other, which in turn becomes a force multiplier for teams. At Independent Financial, we know that high performance teams means being better together.”

“We look forward to identifying opportunities where we can help move this community forward in meaningful ways as we invest in our diversity initiatives,” said Lisa Hermes, President and CEO of the McKinney Chamber of Commerce. “Like we said last year, we want this to be more than words we put onto a report, but rather action items that can help our region in the long run.”

One of the action items already underway by the Chamber, with support from the Foundation, is hiring Arrowhead Consulting, LLC and their Senior DEI Consultant Kuma Roberts to provide guidance and help the Chamber develop an action plan.

“We hope that through this initiative, the Chamber can begin in earnest to lead more courageous conversations, take an unflinching look at their own policies and practices with the hope of coalition building across the community to ensure McKinney remains, relevant and attracting and retaining top talent,” said Roberts.

Something else the McKinney Chamber is doing – and will continue to do - is supporting the McKinney Juneteenth Celebration as well as this year’s Dia de los Muertos celebration in McKinney.

Companies interested in learning more about helping fund Diversity initiatives in McKinney can contact Lisa Hermes at the McKinney Chamber of Commerce at lhermes@mckinneychamber.com.