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Commission on Economic Inclusion

The Commission on Economic Inclusion, a program of the Greater Cleveland Partnership, is focused on creating positive, measurable outcomes leading to:
  • Increases in board, senior management, workforce and supplier diversity among the more than 120 Northeast Ohio employers who are members of the Commission;

  • Increases in the total revenue, value, size, and number of employees for minority-owned businesses in our region and throughout the State of Ohio. Read more about the Commission’s member benefits and minority business resources.

Our members - Join us!

Click here for the list of the more than 100 Northeast Ohio employers that belong to the Commission on Economic Inclusion. To learn more about Commission membership, please email us  or call 216.592.2213.

Message from the Co-chairs: Diversity and inclusion strategies from the NFL

More than 125 Greater Cleveland Partnership-member CEOs and members of their executive teams filled The Union Club on November 7th for the Commission on Economic Inclusion’s second annual Leadership Forum.

Robert Gulliver, the National Football League’s chief human resources officer, shared components of the league’s diversity and inclusion strategies with the group.

The discussion focused on the Rooney Rule, a policy implemented by the NFL more than a decade ago to increase diversity in head coach and senior football operations positions. It has since expanded to require at least one female candidate be interviewed for executive positions.

Click to view video highlights of the forum.

Racial and gender disparity in top leadership positions isn’t unique to major leagues sports; it cuts across all industries.

Tech companies adopting similar strategy

Several notable businesses have implemented Rooney Rule-like policies in recent months, particularly in the tech industry (Amazon, Facebook, Pinterest, etc.). And, from our conversation, we know that several Northeast Ohio companies and organizations have, or are considering, following suit.

Several attendees expressed the challenge of finding women and people of color for specific technical and industry-specific roles—“It’s a pipeline issue,” while others believe this is a myth, and more focus needs to be on recruitment strategies.

Mr. Gulliver talked about the NFL’s strategies to address both concerns by developing talent to fill the pipeline and expanding recruiting efforts because the truth probably lies somewhere in between.

The conversation also touched on the blurry line between business and social issues. Mr. Gulliver discussed an obvious example from the NFL: San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick using his position as an employee of a football franchise to make a statement about race-issues facing our country.

Importance of CEO commitment

The morning ended with time for CEOs and their senior executives to discuss what they learned and how to bring it back and apply it to their organizations.

CEOs were also strongly encouraged to make a commitment, or re-commitment. Best-practices suggest that diversity and inclusion efforts are only as successful as the CEO’s commitment.

Audience participation demonstrated that Northeast Ohio business leaders are interested in learning more and are committed to making diversity a source of strength for our region. We encourage you to continue these important conversations within your own organizations, consider ways to implement inclusion strategies, and join us at future programs.

Thank you to our forum sponsors—the Cleveland Browns and Forest City Realty Trust—and for the support of Squire Patton Boggs.

Commission Co-chairs

Paul Clark                           Lonnie Coleman
Regional President               President
PNC Bank, Northern Ohio     Coleman Spohn Corporation

Above photo: Commission Co-chair Paul Clark, who moderated the discussion, and Robert Gulliver, the NFL's chief human resources officer.

More news from the Commission

Click to read or download the latest issue of our newsletter.

Our 2015-2016 Annual Report

The Commission's 2015-2016 Annual Report can be viewed or downloaded here. It includes:
  • An overview of our accomplishments over the past 18 months

  • A summary of the results of the 2015 Employers Survey on Diversity™

  • Our newest Hall of Fame Inductees and Best-in-Class winners.

To request a hard copy, please contact Scott Harrington at 216.592.2213 or