The events of this summer and through the fall have reinforced the need for a statewide conference to address issues of racism, inclusivity and diversity in communities and workplaces. Organizers for this year’s “Toward One Wisconsin” inclusivity conference are heading into the final month of preparations for what is now a total virtual program on November 11-13.

“As a state and a nation, we have had to reckon with the repeated, horrific violence of racism, while a pandemic forced us to see racism as a public health crisis,” said Eric Giordano, executive director for the Wisconsin Institute for Public Policy and Service, which is hosting the conference.

“By going virtual, we can ensure the safety of presenters and attendees and allow everyone to fully participate in the interest sessions, plenary talks and conference dialogues,” Giordano noted.

Toward One Wisconsin will offer 50 interest sessions and 90-plus presenters in these four tracks:

  • Track I: Increasing Opportunities for Inclusion in Wisconsin’s Workforce
  • Track II: Creating Inclusive Communities
  • Track III: Cultivating Equity in Education
  • Track IV: Building Health Equity in Wisconsin

Two nationally recognized speakers will headline the three-day event, which emphasizes “Building Communities of Equity and Opportunity.”

Nikole Hannah Jones is a New York Times investigative journalist who won the 2020 Pulitzer prize for her groundbreaking “1619 Project,” which seeks to place the enslavement of Africans at the center of America’s story. Hilary Ware is vice president and associate general counsel, litigation and regulatory affairs at Netflix in San Francisco. Ware’s talk will focus on concrete actions the business community needs to take to create real change toward equality and opportunity in the workplace.

Nikole Hannah Jones speaks on why she chose to be a part of Toward One Wisconsin. Link to her short video snippet here.

A recently added preconference day on November 11 will address, “Racism is a Public Health Crisis…and what we can do about it.”

The MATCH Group at the UW Population Health Institute is partnering with Toward One Wisconsin on this preconference day of reflection, connection and action on racism.

“In Wisconsin, we have a long tradition of lending a hand to our neighbors and taking care of each other. Unfortunately, this attitude hasn’t translated to the same gains for everyone in our state,” said Paula Tran Inzeo, MATCH Group director at the UW Population Health Institute. “The preconference is an opportunity to think more critically about how we work together to make Wisconsin a safe, welcoming place that celebrates all individuals and families.”

Conference co-chairs are:

  • Rich Poirier, president and CEO, Church Mutual Insurance
  • George Koonce, senior VP, Marian University
  • May Yer Thao, assistant deputy director, Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA)
  • Jessica Cavazos, president and CEO, Latino Chamber of Commerce
  • Tehassi Hill, Oneida Nation chair

For more information or to register for the conference, go to


Media: Photos of Nikole Hannah Jones, Hilary Ware and conference co-chairs available here.