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A new Direction for Diversity: Leap Paving the way for Diversity in the Lansing Region


By Melanie Strouse, Diversity Apprentice & Tedi Parsons, Diversity Coordinator, LEAP Over the past three years, the Lansing Economic Area Partnership (LEAP) has been hard at work creating and implementing an economic development strategy focused on creating a regional diversity initiative, which will allow Lansing to have a strong presence locally, nationally and globally. From this was born Diversity Lansing. At its core, Diversity Lansing seeks to educate, advocate and inspire; from the individual to the CEO, to create a region that embraces, thrives and is strengthened by its many diverse roots, allowing us to competitively attract top talent and business to the region. “The rich tapestry of diversity already present, helps the Lansing region demonstrate itself as a global place to thrive, succeed, prosper and explore for everyone,” said Bob Trezise, president & CEO of LEAP. “Diversity Lansing strives to improve the overall quality of life for all the residents of Clinton, Eaton and Ingham counties and to assist businesses in attracting and retaining world-class talent, the ‘Best of the Best.’” Diversity Lansing focuses on leveraging strong partnerships and pathways that celebrate and embrace the core values of a diverse, welcoming and affirming region. We are committed to creating diverse and equitable communities where top decision-makers, creators and innovators live, are valued and thrive. Through our efforts and with strong community support through conversations and programs, businesses will grow, communities will thrive and prosper and tomorrow’s world leaders will be created and come from the Lansing region. “In 2016, the region will see an increase in diversity programming from Diversity Lansing,” said Tedi Parsons, LEAP’s diversity coordinator and administrator of Diversity Lansing. “This will include an educational series to begin the conversation at the community level; as well as the executive leadership workgroup that is currently underway, to strengthen the work being done within the business community, educational sector and municipalities within the Lansing region.” One of the greatest challenges facing not only Lansing, but also the state of Michigan as a whole, is the ability to attract and retain top talent, despite an improving economy. “Today’s professionals are searching for what’s beyond their job descriptions when they make decisions about their futures,” said Trezise. “They look for quality, flagships for diversity and cultural offerings. They’re searching for excitement. Through the work being done here at LEAP and Diversity Lansing we strive to bring forward and emphasize what makes Lansing different and unique and a global community that people want to visit and call home.” Diversity Lansing’s mission begins with encouraging and leveraging partnerships that embrace and celebrate the core values of a diverse, welcoming and affirming region. Lansing is unique in that it offers something for everyone, from a Big Ten university to a riverfront with more than 13 miles of paved and usable trails. With a diverse population, a deep appreciation for the arts, a variety of faith communities, multicultural events and world-class schools, Lansing is a great place to call home and raise a family. Lansing can provide businesses a uniquely competitive advantage over other regions of the state and Midwest as the region is home to an unusually diverse and tolerant global community. Together, we have to seize this opportunity. Through these efforts we can attract, retain and inspire the talent, create businesses that embrace the rich cultures that the region encompasses and form a sense of community that is grounded in diversity. Learn more online at diversitylansing.com.