Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

The Columbus Partnership is committed to being an impactful community partner and leading example of how the private sector can help build an increasingly diverse, equitable and inclusive region.  

Our current focus is primarily on building racial equity inside our organizations and across our community, through a sustainable, long-term strategy that is built upon a deep understanding of the impact of racism in Columbus. 


We will:

  • Act on what we can uniquely do  as business leaders, while at the same time engaging and supporting other community efforts with deference to existing knowledge, credibility and experiences.   

  • Meet one another, our individual organizations and our community partners where each sit on the spectrum of activities that build diversity, equity and inclusion.    

  • Thoroughly understand the interplay between equity and economic development, and use that knowledge to help rectify Columbus’ racial wealth gap and inequities.  

  • Operate with a sense of humility and an enduring commitment to the values of Columbus Way, recognizing that we must aspire to extend its benefit to the entire community.    

  • Commit to driving both near- and long-term change.   


Our commitment to impact focuses on three work streams, each driven by workgroups of Partnership members:

Individual Awareness and Education

Organizational Commitment

Community Partnerships


The steering committee includes the co-chairs of each workgroup, and advises the Partnership's advancement of DEI-focused strategies. 

In pursuit of the shared vision to make Columbus the most prosperous region in the U.S., the Columbus Partnership is developing a new plan to address its role in realizing this community-wide aspiration. The emerging plan will place focus on three dimensions that together contribute to prosperity: Growth, innovation and equity.

The Partnership’s DEI Steering Committee is focused on the development of strategies that are specific to the equity-building dimension of the plan. This work is underway now.  

Steering Committee

Mike Kaufmann
Curt Moody


Sandy Doyle-Ahern
Adam Weinberg
Dr. Steve Markovich
Francie Henry
Tanny Crane


Purpose: Elevate the membership’s level of awareness and conviction to act on the individual level, as a means to influence mindsets and behaviors that will drive change.

This workgroup supports programming, workshops and other member-focused activity in order to: 

  • Create a shared baseline of racial literacy across members of the Partnership.  

  • Provide members with a solid grasp of the history of racism in Columbus and the racial equity landscape that exists here today. 

This is accomplished by: 

  • Holding group trainings and workshops for Partnership members. 

  • Hosting speakers who bring diverse perspectives and thought leadership on advancement of equity. 

  • Creating DEI-focused curriculum for new Columbus Partnership members.  

  • Building relationships between Partnership members and local leaders working on DEI.  

Recent and Current Activity 

The Individual Awareness and Education Workgroup hosted a three-part series with Dr. Robert Livingston in June of 2021. Partnership members, along with leaders from within their organizations, participated in a dialogue focused on the concepts in Dr. Livingston’s book, The Conversation: How Seeking and Speaking the Truth About Racism Can Radically Transform Individuals and Organizations. The sessions with Dr. Livingston engaged more than 200 participants.

Workgroup members 

Sandy Doyle-Ahern, EMH&T 
Adam Weinberg, Denison University

Dr. Melanie Corn, Columbus College of Art & Design
Brent Crawford, Crawford-Hoying
Manny Guzman, CAS
David Harrison, Columbus State Community College
Rich Langdale, NCT Ventures  

Workgroup Advisors 

Christie Angel, YWCA Columbus 
Yvette McGee Brown, Jones Day
Ralph Smithers, Encova Insurance


Purpose: Turn the mirror on ourselves, through examination of and action on what we can affect within our own organizations. 

This workgroup will determine policies and practices to emulate, change or enact in order to build more diverse, equitable and inclusive workplaces.  

This is accomplished by: 

  • Working with members to understand existing organizational strategies for linking diversity, equity and inclusion to their mission and core principles.  

  • Working with members to inventory articulated goals, scorecards or measurable results. 

  • Demonstrating how diversity drives stronger creativity, innovation and relationships.  

  • Identifying training opportunities and resources to reduce bias and educate employees. 

  • Empowering an open share of information on DEI across the membership as a means to learn from one another.

Recent and Current Activity
Through qualitative and quantitative survey and one-on-one interviews, the Partnership is currently researching the baseline of DEI-focused activity that exists within the membership. Information collected will be used to help build a framework of recommendations to enact or change within Partnership organizations.

Workgroup Members 

Francie Henry, Fifth Third Bank
Dr. Steve Markovich, OhioHealth 

Heather Brilliant, Diamond Hill
Corrine Burger, JPMorgan Chase
Lou Von Thaer, Battelle 

Workgroup Advisors 

Angela Bretz, Nationwide
Donna James, Lardon & Associates, LLC
Devray Kirkland, Cardinal Health 

Loaned Executive

Gideon Okonrende, OhioHealth 


Purpose: Lend the Partnership’s collective support and influence to uplift and support existing DEI initiatives in the Columbus Region.

This workgroup recommends key areas for Columbus Partnership engagement. 

This is accomplished by: 

  • Cataloging current and emerging efforts in the Columbus Region that advance DEI. 

  • Evaluating which community efforts have needs that intersect with the Partnership’s objectives, and the types of support that the Partnership can uniquely provide.  

  • Forming small groups of members to act on driving change through those specific partnerships. 

Recent and Current Activity 

The Community Partnerships workgroup has been meeting with community-based organizations to learn more about existing efforts and potential collaborations.  
The Columbus Partnership has invested in the African American Leadership Academy (AALA) in order to support a second cohort of the AALA Signature Program that will begin in January 2022. 
Several Partnership members also participated in Ready2Earn, a comprehensive summer work readiness training and work experience program for youth ages 16-18, offered by Franklin County and the Columbus Urban League. 

Workgroup Members 

Tanny Crane, The Crane Group Co.
Alex Shumate, Squire, Patton & Boggs (US) LLP

Jane Grote-Abell, Donatos Pizza
Mary Auch, PNC
Tom Feeney, Safelite
Lisa Ingram, White Castle
Brett Kaufman, Kaufman Development
Tim Robinson, Nationwide Children’s Hospital
Doug Ulman, Pelotonia

Workgroup Advisors 

Stephanie Hightower, Columbus Urban League
Karen Morrison, OhioHealth
Kyle Strickland, Roosevelt Institute & The Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity 

 Connect with Us.

Robbie Banks
Program Director, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion