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February 27, 2001

Panel Addresses Workplace Diversity

The combination of global business and changing demographics is creating an increasingly diverse consumer population, and for smart companies, an increasingly diverse workplace.

In March, College of Business Administration at California State University, Sacramento will host a look at the challenges and rewards of this business climate with a seminar on "Working in a Multicultural Environment. "The free panel will be held from 5 to 7 p.m., Tuesday, March 13 in the University Union Ballroom.

The seminar will begin with a presentation by Marilyn Edling, vice president and general manager of North America enterprise systems at Hewlett-Packard, followed by a panel discussion by representatives from the local Arab American Chamber of Commerce, Asian Pacific Islander Chamber of Commerce, Iranian American Chamber of Commerce, the Sacramento Black Chamber of Commerce, the Sacramento Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the Sacramento Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce.

The event is the College of Business Administration's major contribution to the campus-wide Year of Unity celebration. CSUS President Donald R. Gerth designated the academic year 2000-01 as "The Year of Unity" in an effort to increase mutual support and understanding not only at CSUS, but in the Sacramento Region.

College of Business Administration Dean Felicenne Ramey, who will serve as moderator, says that the idea for the seminar came from her faculty. "We felt it was a good way to connect to the business community," she says.

Edling will talk about her experiences working in a diverse environment and about coming to Hewlett-Packard from a workplace that was not very diverse. "Hewlett-Packard recognizes the value of diversity," she says. "Diversity engenders more creativity, which is essential in high-tech. If everyone in an organization is similar, they all think alike. Different points of view raise the energy level."

Diversity also affects how Hewlett-Packard connects with consumers, she says. "In a diverse economy, it's beneficial to have a diverse workforce," Edling says. "It becomes a feeder, giving you access to pools of talent you wouldn't have had access to otherwise."

After Edling's talk, panelists from each of the chambers will give short presentations on the importance of multiculturalism in the workplace. Then the group will take questions and comments from the audience.

For more information on the "Working in a Multicultural Environment" seminar, contact the College of Business Administration at (916) 278-6578. For media assistance, contact the CSUS public affairs office at (916) 278-6156.

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