Michigan-based nonprofit organization Focus: HOPE is responding to increased interest in corporate diversity through its #GoPro DEI training. “The public’s heartbreak over the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and others segued to important national discussions about economic justice,” says Focus: HOPE CEO Portia Roberson. “We are doing our part by helping our partner companies become more inclusive. This is an important step for any company looking to move the needle in 2022, and a great way to honor Black History Month.”
“#GoPro helps leaders understand retention barriers faced by BIPOC, women, queer, and disabled people, encouraging companies to become proactive about inclusion,” says Jasahn Larsosa, Focus: HOPE’s director of Advocacy, Equity, & Community Empowerment and chief curator of the series.
The series regularly features thought leaders like Jamon Jordan, Detroit’s official historian; Peter Hammer, Director of Damon J. Keith Center at Wayne State School of Law; Benjamin Evans, co-founder of BMe Community; Dessa Cosma, Founder and Executive Director of Detroit Disability Power; Rhiannon Chester, Fellowship Manager for Detroit Equity Action Lab (DEAL); and Marvin Cotton, recent exoneree and Founder of Better not Broken.
The program grew out of conversations between Focus: HOPE and GM Financial (GMF), the financial services arm of General Motors providing auto finance globally. “This partnership has been absolutely critical to our work at GM Financial,” says Shunda Robinson, GMF’s Global senior vice president of DE&I. “Helping our leaders understand the lived experiences of team members is essential to GM Financial’s overall DE&I strategy.” GMF has received the training several times since 2020 and is planning its 2022 #GoPro schedule. Robinson said the company started with executive leaders and is engaging middle managers this year.
Focus: HOPE received support from GM Financial, Meritor, and General Dynamics Land Systems to offer this training and is aiming to add 3 to 5 companies to its client portfolio for 2022.
“We see this as a sound strategy not only for promoting economic mobility among marginalized groups in the workforce, but also a way to help companies diversify their talent, broaden their perspective, and hopefully improve services and increase their market share as a result,” said Roberson. “Additionally, partnering with Focus: HOPE for #GoPro is a wonderful way to give back to the community because of all the service work we are doing in the region.”