Press Release

Orlando Executives Sign First-Ever Regional Corporate Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Pledge

The regional effort focuses on raising the growth potential of residents by creating opportunities for those long-affected by racial inequality by ensuring pathways for participation in the economy.

Orlando, Fla. – Orlando’s business community signaled commitment to improve regional diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) outcomes today by launching its “Take the Pledge” initiative. Seventy three CEOs and top executives added their companies’ names and joined the regional effort focused on raising the growth potential of residents by creating opportunities for those long-affected by racial inequality and ensuring pathways for participation in the economy.

To accomplish this, the Orlando Economic Partnership (the Partnership) engaged Orlando’s business leaders across varied industries and from diverse backgrounds including its board of directors, investors, and community partners to form a task force to address critical hurdles to achieving its mission of Broad-based Prosperity™. The task force, chaired by the Partnership Chair Elect Tony Jenkins, market president of Florida Blue, convened through the latter part of 2020. Jenkins brought decades of experience and leadership in the area of DEI.

“To fully achieve our region’s promise, where Orlando is a place in which equity and inclusivity are the foundation for prosperity, we must exponentially increase our efforts to battle racism.”

Tim Giuliani, president and CEO of the Partnership

“This is the time for the business community, in partnership with other leaders, to stand together to address racism so we can build a better future for our region. The Partnership is here as a resource to help businesses with information and tools to take action,” said Tim Giuliani, president and CEO of the Partnership.

The result of the task force’s work: A call to expand a portfolio of programs and collaborative engagements that are aligned with the pledge. Programs already in place include the following:

  • BRACE, a free, bi-lingual service helps small- or medium-sized businesses find long-term recovery and resiliency resources, tools and programming as they navigate the challenges of this unprecedented economic environment and prepare for other possible future disruptions.
  • Skills-based hiring helps companies increase workplace diversity and improve business outlooks by focusing on skills and competencies and re-think job requirements.
  • Tech Connect creates a scalable process to match local company needs with local companies’ skill sets with a focus on identifying minority-owned startups and entrepreneurs.
  • Women’s Initiative provides needed resources for women and minority-owned businesses with the tools they need to build the future they envision for themselves.
  • Site Evaluation & Marketing Program – sponsored by Duke Energy, is a multi-pronged approach to identify, evaluate and market industrial sites in the Orlando region for development or redevelopment. The program’s evaluation criteria consider sites located in opportunity zones and under-served communities.
  • Orlando Prosperity scorecard tracks economic performance and community development through the lens of achieving Broad-based Prosperity.™

CALLING ON BUSINESS LEADERS TO SIGN THE PLEDGE AND PARTICIPATE:

Corporate leaders in Orlando have laid out a course of action and are now inviting the rest of our community to sign the pledge and participate. The pledge is available on the Partnership’s Take the Pledge website and includes eight statements of commitment and allows CEOs and executives to add their signatures.

CEOs AND EXECUTIVES WHO TAKE THE PLEDGE ARE COMMITTING THAT:

  • We will educate ourselves, review examples and share insights through partner organizations such as non-profits and educational institutions into the history of systemic racism throughout our region and the barriers it continues to present today.
  • We will create opportunities for sessions to listen to those affected and marginalized by these barriers to learn how we can help, with follow up on actionable areas focusing on what’s working, what needs improvement and where we can be most effective.
  • We will identify, support, and collaborate with specific non-profits and other partner organizations who work tirelessly in marginalized and vulnerable communities, asking for careful review of work in marginalized sectors in our region and identify the work still to be done.
  • We will use our power, influence and position to amplify unheard voices and endorse policies that lead to racial justice and opportunities for all.
  • We will improve the employment, training, wage equity, growth potential, advancement, support and success of black and brown people in our workplace, workforce and marketplace, and commit to ways that minority owned businesses are intentionally included in pipeline opportunities. We will pledge to remove barriers, diversify our talent pool and create upward mobility employment opportunities through implementing skills-based hiring as an innovative hiring practice.
  • We will continue ongoing conversations with CEOs and executive leaders to collectively address issues of social injustice, racism, and biases in our communities and organizations, confirming within organizations DEI is a strategic imperative with demonstrated commitment and actions.
  • We acknowledge the critical importance of accountability to our community and pledge to collaborate in annual efforts to track and report our contributions to the collective (regional) goal of creating a more diverse, equitable and inclusive business community.
  • We will support efforts to implement effective community-based models that improve conditions within vulnerable communities throughout Central Florida, using our voices and position to amplify and elevate examples of success.

WHO HAS TAKEN THE PLEDGE?

Orlando Economic Partnership Governors Council and Board of Directors:

  1. Cari Coats, Accendo Leadership Advisory Group
  2. Linh Dang, Addition Financial Credit Union
  3. Daryl Tol, AdventHealth
  4. Tanisha Gary, African American Chamber of Commerce of Central FL
  5. Ginny Childs, Akerman LLP
  6. Dan Pollock, AT&T
  7. Tim Baker, Baker Barrios Architects
  8. Steve Alch, Bank of America/Merrill Lynch
  9. Gary Cain, Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida
  10. Pamela Nabors, CareerSource Central Florida
  11. George Huddleston, Catalyst Design Group
  12. Jim Gray, CBRE, Inc.
  13. Phil Zeman, CenterState Bank
  14. Mark Brewer, Central Florida Foundation
  15. Glen Gilzean, Central Florida Urban League, Inc.
  16. Brandi Markiewicz, CI Group
  17. Marni Spence, CLA
  18. Jim Seneff, CNL Financial Group Inc
  19. Marc Hoenstine, Duke Energy
  20. Karen Willis, Early Learning Coalition of Orange County
  21. Carlos Carbonel, Echo Interaction Group
  22. Daryl Holt, Electronic Arts
  23. Ken Croston Jr., Electronic Locksmith, Inc.
  24. Wendy Kurtz, Elizabeth Charles & Associates. LLC
  25. Suneera Madhani, Fattmerchant
  26. Greg Dryden, Fifth Third Bank
  27. Rob Panepinto, Florentine Strategies
  28. Deidre Keller, Florida A&M University College of Law
  29. Tony Jenkins, Florida Blue
  30. Steve Hogan, Florida Citrus Sports
  31. Paul Sohl, Florida High Tech Corridor Council
  32. Geoff Rogers, Full Sail University
  33. Olive Gaye, Gencare Resources Healthcare
  34. Jason Siegel, Greater Orlando Sports Commission
  35. Orlando Evora, Greenberg Traurig
  36. Steve Orosz, Hanover Family Builders, LLC
  37. Jeff Hayward, Heart of Florida United Way
  38. Scott Mann, Highforge
  39. Gabriela Ortigoni, Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metro Orlando
  40. Glenn Adams, Holland & Knight
  41. Chris Brockman, Holland & Knight
  42. Dr. Mimi Hull, Hull & Associates
  43. Paul Drayton, JPMorgan Chase
  44. Kirt Bocox, KPMG LLP
  45. Eddy Moratin, LIFT Orlando
  46. Bill Dymond, Lowndes
  47. Randall Hartley Nemours Children’s Hospital
  48. The Honorable Vicki-Elaine Felder, Orange County Public Schools
  49. Dr. Barbara Jenkins, Orange County Public Schools
  50. Tim Giuliani, Orlando Economic Partnership
  51. The Honorable Andy Gardiner, Orlando Health
  52. Alex Martins, Orlando Magic
  53. Chris Brown, Orlando Repertory Theatre
  54. Jeff Revels, Orlando Repertory Theatre
  55. JoAnn Newman, Orlando Science Center
  56. David Karabag, Orlando Sentinel Media Group
  57. Clint Bullock, Orlando Utilities Commission
  58. Linda Ferrone, Orlando Utilities Commission
  59. Michelle Chandler, SchenkelShultz Architecture
  60. Nancy Schwalb, Schwalb Public Relations
  61. Todd R. Langner, SESCO Lighting
  62. Mandy Weitknecht, Skanska USA
  63. Christopher Sorensen, Sorensen Moving and Storage
  64. Dr. Jeremy Levitt, Stono Institute for Freedom, Justice and Security
  65. Karen Turpin, Tavistock Group
  66. Sandy Hostetter, Truist
  67. Tajuan Mills, Truist
  68. Beverly J. Seay, University of Central Florida
  69. Dr. Alexander N. Cartwright, University of Central Florida
  70. Dr. Sandy Shugart, Valencia College
  71. Jeff Vahle, Walt Disney World
  72. Derek Jones, Wells Fargo
  73. John Soapes, WESH-TV/WKCF-TV
  74. Paul Briggs, WFTV/WRDQ
  75. Michael Brown, Wyndham Destinations

COMMUNITY QUOTES:

“Leaders must put decisive action behind the pledge and take the necessary steps to change the inequities within their organizations and use their influence and resources to make change happen within the community,” said Tony Jenkins, Florida Blue market president.  “A commitment to change by business leaders must be a top priority.”

“It’s encouraging to see the business community recognize its role in creating real change on these issues,” said Sandy Hostetter, Central Florida Regional President, Truist Bank. “We all share in the responsibility to move the region forward. The Orlando region can’t be the best version of itself without addressing racism and bias.” 

Links:
CEOs and Executives Take the Pledge:
www.Orlando.org/DEI

For more information, please contact Laureen.Martinez@Orlando.org or at 407-242-3982.