Meet Iby Nemati, One Of The Chamber’s Professionals Of Color

Written by: Andrew Jason

The demographics of Fargo- Moorhead are changing before our eyes. While U.S. Census data still states that the population of Fargo is predominantly white (86.2 percent), according to demographic information from Fargo Public Schools, 28 percent of the students there are nonwhite. In fact, from 2011 to 2015, Moorhead Public Schools increased from 19 percent to 25 percent of its student population being a person of color.

This change can already be seen in the workplace as more people from across the world come to Fargo-Moorhead to work. To celebrate this growing diversity, the FMWF Chamber of Commerce recently launched a new program called Professionals of Color. We talked to four of their members to see why this is a needed addition to the business community.

Title: Mortgage Specialist
Company: Caliber Home Loans
Role with Professionals of Color: Committee member

This is one of the first groups of its kind in the area. Why do you feel this program is needed?
Due to the local area having increasing diversity, it is important for all aspects and demographics to be recognized and feel a part of the community.

What feedback did you receive after the initial launch meeting? Exceptionally positive feedback with people asking how they can get more involved and what they can do to promote the program.

As the demographics of Fargo- Moorhead change, why do you think this organization is good for the business community?
This organization is great for the business community and will help businesses learn about the diversity in our area within a fun informal setting while offering professional development and education.

What do you hope will come as a result of the group?
Education, professional development and opportunities for members to serve in our community by giving back, volunteering and being immersed and involved.

Have you ever felt discriminated against in the workplace?
Not in the workplace, however occasionally in social interactions. The way people perceive me due to looking and sounding differently, but this doesn’t happen often and people are usually welcoming and friendly.

How can businesses get involved and support the mission of Professionals of Color?
By attending our social events, promoting diversity and by being a host for one of our events if possible.

Are there any businesses, community leaders or organizations in town that you admire?
Mayor Jonathan Judd (Mayor of Moorhead). Mayor Judd is not only a great personality in our community but has an inspirational life story of how he got to where he is today.

Business owners and businesses often have a tendency of hiring people similar to them. Why do you think it’s good to have diversity in a workplace?
Innovation, ideas and adaptability. Having a workforce with a multitude of backgrounds and diversity can help with problem-solving, improving processes and so much more.

A workplace with diversity usually includes people with a different thought process, different experiences and different points of view. In my opinion, a company which is diverse with different ages, sex and backgrounds will have an advantage due to having varied opinions and experiences.

The businesses may also be more creative and adaptable to change by having dissimilar voices heard and learning from diverse cultures and experiences to solve problems and adapt to an ever-changing globalized economy.

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