Joplin chamber group launches equity, diversity and inclusion effort

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Jul. 13—Joplin companies that have promoted equity, diversity and inclusion in the workplace were recognized by the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce this morning as a chamber group announced its Joplin Leadership Pledge for that purpose.

"EDI (equity, diversity and inclusion) is a crucial component of building and maintaining a successful community. This is an opportunity for local organizations and individuals to enhance our community by including and supporting everyone," said Erin Slifka, marketing and public information manager for the chamber.

The pledge is intended to foster a more diverse and inclusive community that is welcoming to all people. The chamber work group on EDI is providing the pledge effort as an opportunity for small to mid-size companies and organizations to incorporate EDI practices as well as implement changes to internal education, empowerment, collaborative learning and leadership at their own pace.

A number of local businesses and organizations already have joined the pledge effort. Among them are Commerce Bank, Arvest Bank, the Downtown Joplin Alliance and Empire Market, George A. Spiva Center for the Arts, Missouri American Water Co., Neal Construction Group and Blackthorn Pizza & Pub.

"We at Commerce Bank are pleased that the chamber has taken this critically important step to serve as a community leader in all things EDI," said Clive Veri, president of Commerce Bank, in a chamber statement. "It was an easy decision for us to sign on as one of the initial supporters of the pledge, as EDI has been a top priority for our company for a number of years. We firmly believe that diverse and inclusive teams make better decisions and ultimately deliver a better experience for both our customers and for our associates."

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