Meet Kelsey Gordon, One Of The Chamber’s Professional Of Colors

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: Operations Program Manager
Company: Microsoft

How are you involved in the group?
I was one of the members that proposed POC to the Chamber of Commerce’s Board and now I am a committee member.

This is one of the first groups of its kind in the area. Why do you feel this program is needed?
The Fargo/Moorhead/West Fargo area has seen growth in diversity over the past decade. Professionals of Color will encourage a diverse business community and foster a community of inclusion.

What feedback did you receive after the initial launch meeting?
Excitement! A lot of comments stating “FINALLY” and “This is needed for our community!”

As the demographics of Fargo- Moorhead change, why do you think this organization is good for the business community?
To keep diverse talent in this area, we need to have groups like POC to bridge gaps and to cultivate a culture intended to blend into the fabric of the local landscape.

What do you hope will come as a result of the group?
To help create a more inclusive community!

Have you ever felt discriminated against in the workplace?
What? Being a woman and, to double down on that, a woman of COLOR? Absolutely!

How can businesses get involved and support the mission of Professionals of Color?
1. SHARE, SHARE, SHARE with employees, potential employees and other businesses
2. Come and participate at our events. Get uncomfortable and grow.
3. Become a sponsor and support POC.

Are there any businesses, community leaders or organizations in town that you admire?
Emerging Prairie. The work they are doing is great! They are true change agents!

Business owners and businesses often have a tendency of hiring people similar to them. Why is it good to have diversity in a workplace?
We all tend to gravitate to individuals who look and act like us, however to be successful, we have to let go of that general premise. We have to be open to our differences, to understand different cultures and backgrounds and our different upbringings and approaches to doing things. We also need to bring people of different backgrounds and life experiences together to strengthen their culture and their overall business.

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