Intercultural Relations


14th Annual Community Intercultural Relations Conference

Stronger Organizations, Stronger Communities: Engaging People with Diverse Backgrounds

April 14, 2023 

Our community and the organizations within it are growing more diverse and will continue to do so with the expanding industries and opportunities in Central Ohio. The need to focus on building stronger organizations and communities that can provide a foundation for this growth and diversity is more pressing than ever before for people who reside and work in Licking County.

The 14th Annual Community Intercultural Relations Conference, with the theme Stronger Organizations, Stronger Communities: Engaging People with Diverse Backgrounds, will explore how individuals and organizations can forge intentional and deep connections with people of all backgrounds.

We invite you to join us for a day that will feature presentations from expert speakers and engaging group conversations with your choice of virtual or in-person attendance. In this conference, attendees will gain insights including how to build common ground with people with diverse backgrounds, how to help people feel truly included and valued within their organizations and communities, and much more.

The Diversity & Inclusion Champion Award will be awarded at this event. Make sure to nominate your favorite individual, organization, and business from Licking County that has made an impactful diversity and inclusion contribution to the community.


Date and Time

Conference takes place on April 14, 2023 from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Doors open at 8:15 a.m.


Melissa Warner Bow Grand Ballroom
John Gilbert Reese Center
1209 University Drive
Newark, Ohio 43055


The entry fee for the conference is $30 per person.


Registration deadline is March 20, 2023.


James Knight, PhD

James Knight portrait. James Knight, PhD, is an educator, coach/ mentor, consultant, author, itinerant speaker/teacher, and equity and inclusion strategist. As an equity and inclusion strategist, James works with leaders, schools, organizations, and individuals in the corporate, nonprofit, governmental, and academic sector to develop frameworks rooted in humility. The primary goal of this work is to assist others in building safe environments where everyone can thrive and bring their best selves.

As an author, James has written three books, including his latest release, Heart: A Journey Toward Cultural Humility. This book is a manual and guide for any leader, student, or person looking to develop greater awareness and increase their emotional and cultural intelligence.



Diversity & Inclusion Champion Award

Diane Kanney holding her award stands in line with her colleagues and CIRC members.

The Diversity & Inclusion Champion Award (D&I Champion Award) acknowledges an individual, group or company that has made exceptional diversity and inclusion contributions in Licking County. These contributions include developing or revising a diversity and inclusion program, creating awareness of cultural and social events, proactively seeking to diversify employee demographics, or establishing diversity and inclusion training programs. The award recipients promote a better understanding — not only of people who live in Licking County — but of people around the world.

The Diversity & Inclusion Champion Award recipient will be recognized at the Community Intercultural Relations Conference (CIRC) and presented with a personalized plaque by the CIRC Committee.


About the Community Intercultural Relations Conference and Committee

To complete the mission of raising awareness of social and cultural similarities and building an inclusive community, the Community Intercultural Relations Committee (CIRC) hosts an annual conference on the cost-shared campus of Ohio State Newark and COTC addressing topics around a current theme.


Past CIRC Conferences

April 8, 2022

13th Annual Community Intercultural Relations Conference (Virtual)
​Creating Inclusive Spaces

There’s no question that when we find a space that is accessible, welcoming and inclusive, we feel free to live our best lives and do our best work. But sometimes it’s hard to know how to get there — or how to create those spaces for others whose experiences are different from our own. At this conference, we will explore ways to identify the barriers and biases that hinder those creative spaces. Attendees will be empowered with tools and recommendations to make their organizations’ practices more equitable while providing ongoing support for all.


Leo Taylor, PhD, Program manager for faculty and staff affairs for The Ohio State University; College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences; Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Taylor is passionate about equity and inclusion, particularly implicit bias, power and privilege, gender identity and sexuality, mental health, and neurodiversity.

Title: The Role of Pronouns in Cultivating Inclusive Spaces for People of All Genders

Simone Crawley, Founder and chief executive officer of Crawley Cultural. Crawley guides both businesses and individuals as they address their implicit bias and implement diversity, equity, inclusion and antiracism. She is also a certified instructor of the Adult and Youth Mental Health First Aid curricula.

Title: Elephants in the Room: Addressing Bias and Microaggressions to Achieve Inclusion

Sarah Buffie, MSW, LSW, Founding director of Soul Bird Consulting. Buffie believes that nothing has the power to heal like supportive relationships. Specializing in trauma responsive care, she helps disrupt current models of thinking by building empathy and understanding around the effects of trauma.

Title: Relational Resilience — Centering Safety between You and Me


Owens Corning
Licking Memorial Health Systems

Park National Bank
Licking County Job & Family Services

Denison University
United Way of Licking County

April 9, 2021

Racial Justice Requires Equity and Me
View Video Playlist

J. Love Benton, PhD – Columbus State Community College and Temple University Adjunct Professor
Benton recently published her dissertation, entitled Culturally Collaborative Teaching: A Path Toward Black Student Learning, that reveals a new framework for education that works to create transformational change to ensure the experience of equitable education for black students in the K-12 system. She earned her PhD in Leadership and Change from Antioch University.

Simma Lieberman – Workplace Inclusivity Consultant, Speaker, Advisor and Facilitator
Lieberman, “The Inclusionist,” creates inclusive cultures where employees love to do their best work, and customers love to do business. She has consulted for organizations including Intel, Diageo, McDonalds, Sonoco, Oracle and the U.S. Department of Transportation. She hosts a weekly cross-race podcast on race and has authored several books and articles on diversity and inclusion. Lieberman earned her Master of Arts in Health Education from Columbia Pacific University.

Concurrent Facilitator – Eric Jorrey – Central Ohio Technical College Sociology Professor

2021 Sponsors

Gold Sponsor:
Licking Memorial Health Systems

Silver Sponsor:
Boeing Company
Park National Bank

Bronze Sponsor:
Denison University
Energy Co-op
United Way of Licking County

Conference Sponsor:
First Federal Savings

September 25, 2020

2020 Conference logo Continuing to Create a Community of Belonging 11th Annual Conference
Continuing to Create a Community of Belonging

Keynote speaker: Daniel Juday. Juday works to build bridges of understanding and empathy across challenging “divides.” He deeply believes that all people matter, and he’s spent much of his life working in roles that have allowed him to develop thinking around the nature of education and learning, relationship-building, and professional growth – all in a pursuit to make the spaces we influence more inclusive. Sessions facilitated included “Redefining Diversity and Exercising Inclusion” and “The Power of Authentic Relationships.”

This virtual conference allowed local individuals with diverse backgrounds the opportunity to provide an overview of their experiences while demonstrating the importance of community acceptance and belonging. Live demonstrations and workshops were included.