Joplin Chamber talks diversity and inclusion

Joplin Chamber talks diversity and inclusion
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The Joplin Chamber of Commerce begins the first in a series of discussions focused on minorities in business.

One business owner shares his thoughts on the topic.

Since 2016, Alex Menejias has devoted his time and energy into growing his business, never considering his race a challenge.

“I consider myself a business owner, not necessarily a minority business owner. I’m just a guy that has a business, much like anybody else that has a business here,” he said.

Still, Menejias is interested in attending the Joplin Chamber’s series of discussions on diversity and inclusion for business owners such as himself.

“The open dialogue is what I’m interested in, with not just the Hispanics, or any group of individuals, more so, downtown Joplin is based on small businesses, and it’s been a long time coming opening up this dialogue to potentially improve relationships with small business owners.”

The Chamber is looking for ways to bring in different ethnic groups, with hopes of creating a sense of belonging for newcomers.

“We all know that the United States as a whole is becoming more and more diverse and that means a larger percentage of that talent pool that’s external, that we’re trying to attract here, are of color. So it’s really important for us to understand what they need, what they’re attracted to as a community, and see if we can create that community and service them here in Joplin,” explained Joplin Chamber of Commerce President, Toby Teeter.

While several minority groups in the room expressed concerns: “This is not a community of inclusion and diversity and nobody wants to talk about it,” said one woman.

Menejias feels the focus should be on moving forward.

“The only obstacles and hurdles I face are the same obstacles and hurdles that you face with any ordinances, city hurdles and things like that.”

You can find out more on the Chamber’s next diversity and minority discussion by calling 417-624-4150.