Alliance Events Calendar

Inclusion=Innovation: MAGNET Project & World Class Workforce Development

Date: December 19, 2012 Time: 12:00 PM - 1:15 PM

Managing, Attracting and Growing New and Existing Talent
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Event Description Image and inertia are creating barriers to building a world-class, diverse professional workforce in the Kanawha Valley.

That's among the key finding of a first-of-its-kind research project released by the Charleston Area Alliance.

The study, called MAGNET: Managing, Attracting and Growing New and Existing Talent, was undertaken to identify issues that impact recruitment and retention of minority professionals in our region.

Research findings and recommendations for the future will be the focus of the Alliance's re-scheduled "inclusion=innovation" luncheon series program, to be held at noon on Thursday, Dec 19, (Location TBA).

Speakers will include:
* Jeff James, Mythology Marketing CEO and lead MAGNET researcher
* Crystal Good, Director of Brand Experience at Mythology
* John Gianola, Ernst & Young
* Representatives from Spilman, Thomas & Battle, a lead partner on this Alliance initiative
* Rabbi Victor Urecki

The Alliance's Senior Vice President JoEllen Zacks highlights, "Business today is driven by innovation, which depends on attracting and retaining top talent. Companies and our communities lose out if real or perceived barriers prevent them from recruiting the best and the brightest to the Kanawha Valley. Our region competes globally for jobs, capital and people, and the welcome mat must be out to all if we are to be successful."

The MAGNET study also found:
  • The image of the Kanawha Valley presents challenges in recruiting. Perceptions of West Virginia among those outside the state are negative or neutral. "We hear directly from corporate recruiters that it is more difficult to 'sell' the Valley within the context of West Virginia's image," said Zacks.
  • A significant lack of minority professional and business "infrastructure" (social activities, personal care items and services, etc.) creates a chicken-and-egg problem.
  • The same issues that negatively impact retention of young professionals, such as a lack of quality housing and limited cultural, social and entertainment amenities, impact minority talent.
  • The Kanawha Valley has solid historical and current assets to build upon that could attract minority professionals (including the legacy of Leon Sullivan, West Virginia State University and a strong network of diverse houses of worship).
The MAGNET project is part of the Alliance's "inclusion=innovation" initiative sponsored by Ernst & Young LLP, a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services that is dedicated to leveraging diverse and inclusive ways of thinking to continue delivering high quality work for clients around the world.

"Top talent comes in different packages," said John Gianola, the managing partner of Ernst & Young LLP's Charleston office. "Diverse teams help create the best ideas and solution - but only if we've established an inclusive culture that supports each person in contributing fully to our success. This means valuing the differences and contributions of people from all backgrounds and perspectives. By collaborating with other organizations, we seek to be at the forefront in reflecting and advancing the diversity and inclusiveness of the communities where we operate. That is why we are excited to be a part of this Alliance initiative."

Spilman, Thomas & Battle, long committed to diversity, provided lead sponsorship support for the MAGNET project.

"We compete in an ever-expanding marketplace for talent. No enterprise or law firm, Spilman or other, exists in a vacuum. If we are to continue to thrive, it is imperative that we are able to recruit the best and brightest of every race, age, gender, faith and lifestyle to a community that is diverse, vibrant and open. That's what today's young professionals expect and demand. Those are the stakes," explained Spilman Member Ned Rugeley, Chair of Recruiting.

"We will immediately begin to look at ways to incorporate the key insights from this research into our recruiting and overall management at Spilman. We are pleased to be involved in this important research. I'm excited about what it will mean to the future of our region."

"The MAGNET project will take the Alliance's 'inclusion=innovation' initiative to the next level by providing solid data upon which we can direct future efforts to attract and retain diverse young professionals and ensure our businesses and our region stay competitive in a global marketplace," said Zacks.

Event Sponsors

Event Location

Alliance Offices
1116 Smith Street
Charleston, WV 25301

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Date/Time Information Wednesday, Dec 19
Noon - 1:15pm
Contact Information
Deb Coffman
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