Press release from Buncombe County government, shared April 1:

Buncombe County and the city of Asheville, in partnership with UNC Asheville, are inviting the participation of area organizations to attend a conference titled “Realizing the Benefits of Inclusion & Diversity.”

Timed to coincide with the YWCA national initiative Stand Against Racism, the conference will take place on Thursday, April 25, at the Wilma Sherrill Center at UNC Asheville.

By the year 2042, the United States will be a majority-minority population, where those of European, non-Spanish speaking ancestry will make up less than 50% of the population. This demographic change will impact hiring, marketing, promotion, vendor choices and every aspect of a business’s operations.

Dr. Robert Livingston, the keynote speaker, is a diversity researcher who has examined how physical appearance and non-conscious processes influence stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination, and how these in turn affect organizational diversity and leadership. Specifically, he investigates the unique challenges confronting women and minorities in upper management, as well as the conscious and non-conscious processes underlying leader selection. Livingston will be joined by regional economist Tom Tveidt who will provide an analysis of the current and future demography of the state and region.

Other offerings for the conference include 20 breakout sessions with topics such as HR Basics for Transparent and Fair Policies, Mentoring Transformed for 2013, and Building Effective Diverse Teams. The conference will conclude with a panel of organizational representatives who have instituted best practices for equity and inclusion including Wells Fargo, the Asheville Fire Department, and the US Forest Service.

Lisa Eby with Buncombe County Health and Human Services said: “We hope organizations will come in teams so that they can take full advantage of our 20 mini-workshops. Participants will leave with a toolbox full of ideas, accountability measures, and further training opportunities that help organizations to realize the full benefits of a diverse and inclusive workforce.”

Interpreter services and accommodations for persons with disabilities are available. In order to meet participant needs, requests should be made in advance.

The cost of the conference is $25 a person.

Click here to register [PDF]. If you have any questions, contact Lisa Eby at or Deborah Miles at

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Angie Newsome was the executive director and editor of Carolina Public Press. Contact her at (828) 774-5290 or e-mail her at

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