Chamber News

DEIA | Mid-Ohio Food Collective is taking DEIA to the next level!

March 23rd, 2023

Darlene Carson, DEI Administrator/Executive
Assistant to President/Chief Executive Officer,
Mid-Ohio Food Collective

How would you describe the state of DEIA in your organization a year ago?  

Since its inception, Mid-Ohio Food Collective has incorporated diversity, equity, and inclusion into its way of being but wanted to move it to something more deeply woven into our mission, culture, and values. In 2022, we were selected as one of thirteen food banks to participate in an organizational culture assessment pilot led by Feeding America. We utilized the individualized reports of those findings and recommendations to create strategies for our organization’s DEI culture change.  

What have you accomplished thus far?  

We are making considerable progress in our organization’s DEI work. In November 2022, we established a DEI Council that mirrors the diversity within MOFC and includes representation of leaders, teams, and cultures. Our Council worked together to create a shared organizational DEI statement to guide the work, established the pillars of our work, and we are now outlining internal DEI goals along with strategies to achieve them.  

How has the work been received?  

We are fortunate to have support and buy-in from our board, and we have an enthusiastic team eager to see our DEI work thrive. The MOFC Executive Leadership affirmed that DEI initiatives are a strategic priority and have worked to ensure that the organization’s overall business strategy fully aligns with the diversity, equity, and inclusion strategy.  

How did the Next Level DEIA program help?  

MOFC was honored to have the opportunity to participate in the inaugural Columbus Chamber’s Next Level DEIA cohort. The classes provided a rich body of content with the active engagement of the participants and a community of peers. This was truly a testament to Sherrice Sledge-Thomas and the mix of exercises, practices, and tools that were integrated into the classes regularly. MOFC has utilized the learnings to take concrete steps in moving our DEI work forward.  

What’s next for the DEIA work in your organization?  

As we progress along our organization’s DEI roadmap, we are utilizing the learnings of the Next Level DEIA program to develop a strategic and measurable 1-3 year DEI Action Plan and execute the plan. 

Sherrice Thomas 
Vice President of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Access