Diversity & You A Guide for Chapter Diversity Liaisons

APWA Diversity Statement: The American Public Works Association recognizes, appreciates and fosters the synergy which is created when the work environment values the differences in individuals and practices inclusiveness and open communication.

Diversity awareness is essential for the continued growth and vitality of an organization, both as a workforce and as a membership organization such as APWA.
APWA’s Diversity Committee was established in 1995.  The committee advances diversity issues throughout the association, placing value on all individuals and the different perspectives of those individuals, and promoting the process for all to feel included as part of the whole. Diversity includes race, gender, creed, age, life-style, national origin, disability, personality, educational background, processing style, thinking style, energy level, assertiveness level, weight and height, values, political views, marital status, goals and ambitions, likes and dislikes, social status, income level, tenure within an organization, level of position within an organization and income level.

The Diversity Committee established the concept of Chapter Diversity Liaison for each chapter with the goal of fostering a greater understanding of diversity at the chapter level.

APWA Chapter Diversity Liaisons are very important to APWA’s work in valuing the differences in our membership and in creating and maintaining the feeling of inclusiveness for each of our members.  In your chapter, Diversity Liaisons should recognize people for their unique talents and skills through their volunteerism.  Managing diversity is certainly not new.  However, handling certain differences of individuals needs to be done sensitively.  This is where the Diversity Liaison’s role is so important in the chapter as this person can be the turning point for a member feeling included and valued.  Diversity Liaisons function as an advocate for diversity.  Liaisons take responsibility for reaching out to new members through mentorship programs, phone calls, welcoming letters, new member packets and invitations to participate on committees or task forces.  These efforts are encouraged at the branch level as well.
Liaisons are encouraged to:

  1. Work with your chapter executive committee to establish a chapter Diversity Committee to work with you on diversity initiatives.
  2. Receive diversity information from the National Diversity Committee and share with your chapter.
  3. Share diversity related success stories from your chapter/branch and/or individual members with the National Diversity Committee.
  4. Provide quotes to use in your chapter newsletter as fillers or as a Diversity Awareness Corner.
  5. Become the expert on diversity issues in your chapter and advise your executive committee of ways to incorporate the feeling of inclusiveness into your chapter programs/activities and to new members.
  6. Seek opportunities for including diversity educational topics at chapter and branch meetings.
  7. If you are attending the APWA International Congress and Exposition:
  • Attend the First Timers Meeting to get a flavor for working with first-time attendees at your chapter conference/meeting

  • Attend the Diversity Brunch to hear an acclaimed speaker discuss a specific diversity issue.

  • Attend the National Diversity Committee meeting to become updated on what the national level is doing.

  • Attend the diversity sponsored educational sessions to stay up-to-date on diversity issues.

Thank you for volunteering as a Diversity Liaison.  Please contact the Diversity Committee through: Cindy Long, Staff Liaison, e-mail: clong@apwa.net or phone: (816) 595-5220 or view our web pages on www.apwa.net, Discover APWA, Diversity.