Skip to main content

Partnership Launches New Event to Encourage Greater Diversity and Inclusion in Regional Workforce

Published Sep 04, 2018 by A.J. Mistretta

Houston NEXT will be springboard to new talent program launching in 2019.

HOUSTON (Sept. 4, 2018) – What can the most ethnically diverse city in the nation do to better reflect that diversity among its major companies and key industries? The Greater Houston Partnership will take on this question through a new event, Houston NEXT: An ERG Summit. The inaugural event scheduled for October 4 will bring together talent, community and business leaders to grow diversity and inclusion (D&I) in the workplace.

“We are proud that Houston is America’s most diverse city, which feeds into our culture and our way of life, and we believe increasing the diversity of our regional workforce will improve company culture and performance,” said Bob Harvey, president and CEO of the Partnership. “As the largest chamber of commerce and economic development organization in the region, we have a platform to champion collaboration among different stakeholders—from companies and employee resource groups to smaller chambers of commerce and associations—and to realize a Houston workforce that better reflects our diverse and inclusive community.”

The Partnership hopes to spur discussion and action through the half-day event that will include a panel discussion on best practices for establishing and managing Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) or affinity groups, as well as presentations and breakout sessions around topics such as gender equality in the workplace, the costbenefit analysis of better talent retention and managing multigenerational workplaces.

Research shows that building a more diverse and inclusive workforce impacts not just optics, but also the bottom line. Companies in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity are 35 percent more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians, while gender-diverse companies are 15 percent more likely to see such results, according to a 2015 McKinsey study. Diverse companies also have 2.3 times higher cash flow per employee over time. The study also suggests there’s a linear relationship between racial and ethnic diversity and better financial performance – for every 10 percent increase in racial and ethnic diversity on the senior-executive team, earnings before interest and taxes rise 0.8 percent.

The inaugural Houston NEXT event will help the Partnership develop a baseline for understanding the needs and issues of the business community when it comes to diversity and inclusion. In January, the Partnership will launch a new program geared toward providing human resource professionals, ERG leaders and recruiters with information on how to grow their talent pipeline. The Talent Resource & Recruitment Group will provide talent attraction materials and resources, build relationships with relocation agencies and advisors, offer continuing education credits and much more.

Related News

Digital Technology

Greentown Labs Selects Midtown Site for Houston Incubator

9/22/20
Greentown Labs, the cleantech startup incubator that earlier this summer announced plans to open a Houston facility in 2021, has chosen a spot on the south side of Midtown near the much-anticipated Ion innovation hub to build its incubator.  Greentown Houston is expected to open in spring 2021 with more than 40,000 square feet of prototyping lab, office, and community space for about 50 startup companies, totaling 200 to 300 employees. The facility will be within the footprint of Rice Management Company’s 16-acre Innovation District, anchored by the 300,000-square-foot Ion.  Greentown Labs announced its first-ever national expansion to Houston in June 2020, with the goal of accelerating the energy transition through entrepreneurship, innovation, and collaboration. Greentown is the largest climatech and cleantech incubator in North America, headquartered just outside of Boston and providing space for about 100 member companies. "In order to meet the urgent challenge of climate change, we must engage the talent and assets of major ecosystems around the country,” said Greentown Labs CEO Emily Reichert. “We look forward to catalyzing the Houston ecosystem's support for climatetech startups as we work together toward a sustainable future for all.” Greentown Houston joins a growing number of startup support organizations and startup companies already located or locating in the Midtown Innovation District, as well as Houston-based accelerator programs. Greentown will be located on the site of a former Fiesta grocery store.  "What we love about Greentown Labs as much as its commitment to helping Houston become a leader in energy transition and climate change action is its proven track record of job creation through the support of local visionaries and entrepreneurs," said Ryan LeVasseur, Managing Director of Direct Real Estate at RMC, the developer of The Ion and the Innovation District. "Greentown Houston, like The Ion, is a great catalyst for growing the Innovation District and expanding economic opportunities for all Houstonians. We're thrilled Greentown Labs selected Houston for its first expansion and are honored it will be such a big part of the Innovation District moving forward." The location in the Innovation District also positions Greentown Houston close to local universities with strong energy- and cleantech-focused programs, including Rice University, the University of Houston, Houston Community College, and other leading educational institutions. The site is less than two miles away from downtown Houston, and will provide entrepreneurs with access to investors and corporate and civic leaders. Finally, it’s located steps away from a Houston METRORail stop and accessible by a new, on-street protected bikeway. "We are so pleased that Greentown Houston will locate in the heart of the Innovation District, where they will seamlessly integrate into the region's robust energy innovation ecosystem of major corporate energy R&D centers, corporate venture arms, VC-backed energy startups, and other startup development organizations supporting energy technology," said Susan Davenport, Chief Economic Development Officer at the Greater Houston Partnership. "Houston truly is the hub of the global energy industry, and Greentown Houston will ensure we continue to attract the next generation of energy leaders who will create and scale innovations that will change the world." Learn more about Greentown Labs, Houston innovation and the energy industry.   
Read More
Economic Development

Greater Houston Partnership Adds Wharton County to Service Region

9/3/20
HOUSTON (September 3, 2020) – The Greater Houston Partnership’s Board of Directors has approved adding Wharton County to the business organization’s economic development footprint. Wharton becomes the 12th county covered by the Partnership, which is the Houston area’s designated economic development organization.  The Partnership will work closely with leaders in Wharton County to identify, recruit, attract and retain investment, companies and jobs for the benefit of the people of the county and the greater Houston region. “We are excited to add Wharton County to our service region and support the area’s economic development and growth,” said Bob Harvey, president and CEO of the Greater Houston Partnership. “I got to know Wharton County Judge Phillip Spenrath a few years ago and was impressed by his team and his personal enthusiasm for expanding economic opportunities in Wharton County by growing connections with the broader region. Wharton County offers new placement opportunities for certain types of economic development projects, particularly distribution and logistics projects, as well as those tied to supply chains in Mexico and projects that must be in an attainment area for NOx (ozone). We look forward to working with county leaders to leverage this partnership for the benefit of all in the Houston region.” Located 60 miles southwest of Houston, Wharton County is a strategic location for projects tied to the US 59/I-69 Superhighway and the accessibility to freight rail service.  “In recent years, Wharton County has facilitated critical infrastructure projects, as well as business expansions in the region,” said Wharton County Judge Phillip Spenrath. “By joining the Greater Houston Partnership’s service region, Wharton has the opportunity to leverage the business organization’s influence to accelerate the county’s economic development efforts. We look forward to working closely with the Partnership on driving our area’s growth.”  The Partnership will work closely with the Wharton County Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) and the City Development Corporation of El Campo in their efforts to recruit, retain and expand new and existing businesses in the area.   “Wharton is dedicated to growing our manufacturing and agricultural base,” says Joshua Owens, Executive Director of  Wharton Economic Development Corporation. “Joining the Greater Houston Partnership will enhance our ability to attract the right mix of companies and entrepreneurs. The City of Wharton has invested in expanding our transportation network, enhancing critical infrastructure, opening land for greenfield development, and reinvesting in our historic downtown.” Wharton County’s recent economic development wins include the 540-acre Southwest International Gateway Business Park, a rail-served warehouse park in El Campo developed by Stonemont Financial Group.  Kansas City Southern Railway is  expanding rail infrastructure to support the project.  “El Campo is excited about joining the Greater Houston Partnership and the myriad of opportunities this relationship will offer our community and the broader Houston region as we work to attract companies to our area,” said Carolyn Gibson, Executive Director of the City Development Corporation of El Campo. “We are ideally situated for logistics as we sit at the intersection of Interstate 69 and State Highway 71, with outstanding shovel-ready land with both highway and Class One rail frontage. This relationship will be a win-win for all involved.” As the state-designated regional economic development organization, the Greater Houston Partnership works closely with partners across the area to submit regional responses to RFP’s (requests for proposals) from domestic and international companies looking to relocate or expand their operations. A formal relationship facilitates and promotes increased interactions related to these projects. The Partnership has already been working closely with Wharton County Junior College, which has a campus in Sugar Land, as part of the organization’s UpSkill Houston program. UpSkill Houston is an employer-led initiative to develop programs and practices critical to ensuring the region has the skilled workforce needed to drive a strong, diverse economy.  Wharton County joins 11 other counties incorporated in the Partnership’s service region: Austin, Brazoria, Chambers, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris, Liberty, Montgomery, San Jacinto, Walker and Waller counties. ### Greater Houston Partnership The Greater Houston Partnership works to make Houston one of the best places to live, work and build a business. As the economic development organization for the Houston region, the Partnership champions growth across 12 counties by bringing together business and civic-minded leaders who are dedicated to the area’s long-term success. Representing 1,100 member organizations and approximately one-fifth of the region’s workforce, the Partnership is the place business leaders come together to make an impact. Learn more at Houston.org. A.J. Mistretta Vice President, Communications          (c) 504-450-3516 | amistretta@houston.org   
Read More

Related Events

Demography

One Houston Together Webinar Series: The Business Community's Role in Addressing Racial Inequities

Every Tuesday for the month of September, the Greater Houston Partnership will host its Racial Equity webinar series. Focused on building knowledge and awareness, this series acts as a starting place to inform…

Learn More
Learn More
Executive Partners