Colours Conference and Pride Awards
May 13th - May 14th 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. EST

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About the Event

The Detroit Regional LGBT Chamber of Commerce and the Michigan Diversity Council are proud to present the Virtual COLOURS Conference and Pride Awards! Michigan's #1 LGBTQ Business Diversity Conference. As leaders in workplace Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Business Development, this two-day conference will be offered on Thursday and Friday, May 13th-14th, 2021 and ending with an LGBTQ Career Fair.

The conference will offer best practices and educational support to attendees on the importance of LGBTQ inclusion in the workplace and supplier diversity. The conference will feature a keynote address. Additionally, an awards presentation where local leader, Nancy Schlichting, former CEO of Henry Ford Health System, will be presented with the Allan D. Gilmour award for Outstanding Leadership in Inclusion. Additional awards that will be presented at the conference include Small Business of the year; Corporation of the Year; Equity Champion of the Year; and Employee Resource Group (ERG) of the Year.

Highlights the Event has to offer

Live breakout sessions with Q&A

Business matchmakers & networking

Over 20+ recruiters from top Michigan companies

Fantastic keynotes, leaders and Special guests

Up to 3,000 professionals and business owners

Who should attend:

  • Supplier Diversity Professionals
  • Human Resources Professionals
  • Employee Resource Group Leaders
  • LGBTQ + professional and business owners
  • Diversity, Inclusion & Equity professionals
  • Job Seekers of All Levels


Day 1

Opening Session & Keynote

Opening up the Conference will be a motivating message from

Louis A. Vega

President North America Dow Chemical

and a Fireside Chat with our very own

Darlene King

Michigan Diversity Council Executive Director

Interim Break
Concurrent Sessions #1

Intersectionality: Our Identity and its Layers -
Explores topics and situations that may create an internal conflict within oneself. How do those internal “conflicts” play out in decision-making?

ERGs/BRGs The Heartbeat of DEI - Leveraging business to move beyond the fun and festive. Specifically focusing on the use of ERG/BRG's in recruiting and retaining top talent in a competitive market.

Corporate Responsibility: Standing in the Gap - Understanding diverse suppliers and their needs. How to build equity in your Supplier Diversity program. Meet some certified LGBT businesses and Supplier Diversity leaders who include LGBT suppliers in their programs.

Lunch and Networking : Matchmaking
Concurrent Sessions #2

Corporate Leadership: Understanding Race, Privilege and Identity -
An open dialogue, unpacking race, privilege, and identity and how to have these conversations with your leadership team and employees.

Creating LGBTQ-Inclusive Workplace Policies: Moving beyond the EEOC and Affirmative Action - The what, why, and how to create DE&I training for the modern workplace. Measuring employee engagement, Deploying self-identification surveys, and understanding the "new" workplace.

PART 1: (45 MIN) NGLCC Supplier Diversity Workshop LGBT Certification - What is it? How you do use it? What are some success stories? Presented by the Director of Supplier Diversity at the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce, Alicia Greene will walk through the certification process, how to connect to corporate partners via the national portal, and answer your questions.

PART 2 (45 MIN) Regulation & Global Standards for Diversity & Inclusion: Introduction to the new ISO-30415 Standard for Diversity Equity Inclusion & Belonging(D&I). Attendees will learn how to use the standard to implement D&I across the Product, Supplier-Diversity, Human-Resources, and Governance operations of their organizations. In 2021 D&I must be structured as change management so that leaders can reverse engineer risks, scale maturity, and manage all other D&I programming.

Interim Break
The Impact of Systemic Racism: Understanding the Power of Diverse Coalitions

The role of Corporations, Communities, and Congress to root out racism and inequality. This diverse panel of leaders will speak from their perspective and provide attendees with ways to stand against racism, homophobia, transphobia, and bigotry.

Alphonso David

President Human Rights Campaign

Dana Nessel

Attorney General Michigan

Kevin Heard

Diversity & Engagement Program Manager, USA Today Network

Sabrina Kent

SVP, Operations NGLCC

Paul Ashley

Director Strategic Engagement - Global Procurement Bristol Myers Sqibb

Darlene King

Executive Director Michigan Diversity Council

Nancy Kaffer

Award-winning columnist and member of the editorial board Detroit Free Press

Closing Remarks
Happy Hour Lounge

Day 2

Concurrent Sessions #3

Marketing to Today's LGBTQ Community-
In Community Marketing & Insights 2020 national survey, 85% of LGBTQ+ people said Corporations showing support for LGBTQ equality is more important than ever. 80% say companies that support LGBTQ equality “will get more of my business this year.” Merithot Creative Marketing CEO/Founder, and Pride Source Media Publisher Benjamin Jenkins discusses the importance of building a strong relationship with the LGBTQ community, and how to do it most authentically.

Mental Health: How the pandemic increased the imposter syndrome and isolation - Join this conversation to learn how to refocus, practice self-care, and find the right mentor for you. Also, learn health disparities among the BIPOC and LGBTQ+ community and how to educate your friends and family about mental health.

Recruitment, Training, and Retention - A new LGBTQ+A Workforce has Arrived - An Inclusive Culture Is A Must: This session will provide an understanding of the LGBTQ+ community, its diversity, and Gen Z's embrace.

Interim Break
COLOURS Awards Presentation:

Nancy Schlichting, former CEO of Henry Ford Health System will be presented with the Allan D. Gilmour award for Outstanding Leadership in Inclusion. The annual award is named on behalf of Gilmour, former Vice-Chair and Chief Financial Officer of Ford Motor Company, who supported the LGBTQ community for decades through philanthropy and business leadership. It is given to a leader in the community who has pioneered the inclusion of LGBTQ people in the workplace and in the community. Additional awards that will be presented at the conference including; Small Business of the Year – Good Cakes and Bakes, Corporation of the Year – Henry Ford Health System, Equity Champion of the Year – State of Michigan Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist II, ERG of the Year – Ford Globe – Ford Motor Company. Join us as Nancy Schlichting, and LT Gov. Gilchrist II both accept their award.

Nancy Schlichting

former CEO of Henry Ford Health System

  10:45 am-11:15 am
Lunch and Networking: Matchmaking
Keynote Speaker, Interview and Q&A & Closing Remarks

Join us for a special closing keynote address by Carmen Carrera, Trans Rights Activist and Model, who will focus her remarks on trans representation, rights, employment needs, and entrepreneurship. Ending with a fireside chat with Kevin Heard, Diversity & Engagement Program Manager at USA Today Network, as they take a deep dive into how to uplift the Trans community and Carmen's journey.

Carmen Carrera

Model, Actress, Performer and Activist

Career Fair

Featured and Special Guests

Louis A VegaPresident, North America
Dow Chemical

Garlin Gilchrist II, Lieutenant Governor,

Carmen CarreraModel, Actress, Performer and Activist

Nancy SchlichtingFormer CEO
Henry Ford Health System

Alphonso DavidPresident
Human Rights Campaign

Nancy KafferMember of the editorial board
Detroit Free Press

Ángeles Valenciano, Chief Executive Officer,
National Diversity Council

Sabrina Kent, Senior Vice President,
National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC)

Nate Cannon, BA, MFA, CDP,
Speaker and Author

Tom Anderson, Director of Employee Engagement,

Tina McCullar, CoFounder,

Lee Cage, Associate Director,
CrossCountry Consulting

Karen Bathanti, Co-Owner,

Deanna Willmarth, Co-Owner,

Bill Peters, Integration Product Lead,
Ford Motor Company

Sonia Jackson Myles, Founder & CEO,
The Sister Accord, LLC

Iesha Berry, Chief Inclusion & Diversity Officer,

Dana Nessel, Attorney General

Debra Quade, Supplier Diversity Manager,

April Anderson, Owner,
Good Cakes and Bakes

Bill Calhoun, Manager Partner,
iCode Innovations

Paul Ashley, Director, Strategic Engagement & Procurement,
Bristol Myers Squibb


Alicia GreeneDirector of Supplier Diversity

Darlene KingExecutive Director
Michigan Diversity Council

Jennifer A. IngramFounder and CEO
Calibrated Lens, LLC

Kevin HeardPresident DRLGBTCC
USA Today Network

Jody Jones, Diversity & Inclusion Manager,
Mercedes Benz Financial Services USA, LLC

Lori Walker, Vice President, Senior Diversity & Inclusion Consultant,
Comerica Bank

Angela Thompkins, Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer,
Consumers Energy

Tory Niceswander, Senior Specialist, Diversity Inclusion & Employee Engagement,
The Hershey Company

Marquita Chamblee, Associate Provost for Diversity and Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer,
Wayne State University

Eric Bacigal, Vice President of Organizational Effectiveness, Learning, Employee Health, Safety and Wellness,
Henry Ford Health System

Emme Zanotti, Senior Analyst of Diversity & Inclusion,

Jennifer Schwartz, LMSW, Behavioral Health Program Manager & Therapist,
Corktown Health Center & Health Emergency Lifeline Program

Ashton Henderson, Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion,

John Davis-Piotrowski, CEO Action for Racial Equity and is the LGBTQ ERG Vice Communications Chair Flagstar Bank

James Felton Keith, CEO - Inclusion Score

Karen Prater Jasmine, COO Inclusion Score

Bobby Chasnis, Director – Pure Michigan Business Connect

Rob Ganesan, Technologist and business owner.

Brian Lloyd, Supplier Diversity & Inclusion Manager, Ford Motor Company

Career Fair Sponsor

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, you need to register to attend the conference. The prices are listed during the registration process.
Yes, the career fair is open to anyone at no additional cost.
Yes, the event will remain open 24/7 for 30 days. The recorded sessions will be available 24 hours after the session at for registered attendees. The career fair is a recruitment event, therefore it won't be recorded.
The event is virtual (on-line), you can participate anywhere that you have Internet access. The event is accessible from desktop, tablet, and mobile devices. You will go to to attend after registering.
Your login details will be emailed to you prior to the event. You can use these details to access the online event. Please do not share your login information, it is specific to your registration information. You will come to the same website you registered on.
Yes, you can add all of the documents available to the online Cart in your account and then email them to yourself or share items with colleagues and friends by simply entering their email.
Yes, we are counting on you to invite others! Help us spread the word. You can simply share the link to this page, and they can register at their convenience.
No, you do not need to download or install any software to participate in our conference. You only need to have access to the Internet.