2017 Collaborative Conference: Inclusion by Design

Lara Dorfman, BA


The Alliance for Nonprofit Resources (ANR), The Community Action Association of Pennsylvania (CAAP), and PANO teamed up last week to put on the 2017 collaborative conference, Inclusion by Design. A few of us at the Department of Community Development and Decade to Doorways kicked off October at The Penn Stater Hotel and Conference Center to attend the conference and learn about how to bring together all of the voices of our community. Inclusion by Design was created to bring together an array of voices in our community and learn how to successfully eliminate bias in the workforce and in our daily life.

The conference opened with a very special guest, Candi Castleberry, the founder of Dignity & Respect Inc. and Vice President of Inclusion and Diversity at Twitter. Candi was an incredibly engaging and inspiring speaker who spoke on achieving an inclusive culture for everyone in your workplace. Candi’s presentation was followed by a slew of workshops that echoed her ideology, honing in on communication, bias, cultural competency, advocacy, mindfulness, and building meaningful workplace relationships, just to name a few.

Candi was a tough act to follow, but the other keynote speakers did not disappoint.  Dr. Al Condeluci’s presentation was as energetic as it was relevant. Al is the CEO of CLASS, a non-profit focused on supporting people with disabilities, and bounced around the room offering the audience incredible enthusiasm about our ability to advocate for each other in our communities. Dr. Frances Kunreuther, co-director of the Building Movement Project also spoke to us on how to strengthen and diversify nonprofit leadership. The entire conference was filled with intelligent and important conversation.

My personal favorite part of the conference was the self-sufficiency awards. Every family and individual who received an award had overcome incredible challenges with the help of one of the sponsoring organizations. The room was filled with pride and positivity as these amazing award recipients sent a message that we can all overcome the odds with a little bit of support.

 The 2017 Collaborative Conference Inclusion by Design’s message is so important because the event focused on how to become better; not just better at your job, but better to each other and to ourselves. Inclusion requires genuine conversation and constant self-reflection. If you missed out this year, you can always join in for the 2018 Collaborative Conference next October at State College!