SUBSCRIBE NOW Get a year of news PLUS a gift box!



Moorhead mayor, business leaders discuss diversity and inclusion in the workplace during Chamber webinar

Dieumerci Christel.png
Moorhead mayor Johnathan Judd, left, moderates as Dieumerci Christel, right, speaks on the Fargo Moorhead West Fargo Chamber of Commerce’s Eggs & Issues virtual panel Tuesday, June 23.
We are part of The Trust Project.

FARGO — A group of business leaders logged on Tuesday morning, June 23, to open up the conversation of equity, diversity and inclusion in the workplace during the Fargo Moorhead West Fargo Chamber of Commerce’s Eggs & Issues webinar.

Instead of an in-person forum, the panelists spoke to community members virtually about the importance of creating an inclusive environment in a community with changing demographics.

“This is a really, really critical topic, that obviously with recent events, has our community engaged in a really important, vital conversation,” said Moorhead Mayor Johnathan Judd, who moderated the event.

To improve and create change, the conversation needs to be had, Judd said.

“More diverse communities only make us stronger and more resilient,” he added.


North Dakota State student and entrepreneur Dieumerci Christel has been ready to bring diversity and inclusion to the forefront for a while.

Christel, the founder and CEO of Enlight, an app that helps teachers become experts on their students in the classroom and online, was born in a refugee camp in Africa. He’s been an outsider his entire life, and the workplace was no exception, he said during the webinar.

Christel got his first job at Culvers in ninth grade. He was excited to start working and help bring in some income for his family.

“When customers came in and said things like, ‘Did your mother spray black ink on you when you were born?’ It made me very furious, but I kept my cool,” Christel said. “But at the same time, one of my managers didn’t step up to actually defend me. That was one of the hardest things I had to go through while working.”

Now, he’s a voice in the conversation on fostering diversity and inclusivity. Instead of just a diverse workplace, inclusion is where we need to get to, Christel said.

“Diversity is being invited to the party, inclusion is being able to dance,” said fellow panelist Colette Campbell. “And I think equity is being able to be the DJ when you can pick the songs you want to play so that you can dance to the music you like.”

Chamber Eggs & Issues.png
Moorhead mayor Johnathan Judd, left, Dieumerci Christel, middle, Kelsey Gordon, top right, and Colette Campbell, take part in the Fargo Moorhead West Fargo Chamber of Commerce’s Eggs & Issues webinar on diversity and inclusion in the workplace Tuesday, June 23.


Campbell holds a leadership role at Bremer Bank as the director of talent acquisition, diversity and inclusion. As influencers in the workplace, Campbell, who is also the senior vice president, said people must ask themselves some questions.

“What role are we going to play? How are we going to contribute?” she said. “And what are we going to need to learn more of so we can be part of the transformation?”

To help give underrepresented people those opportunities, personal networks can play a pivotal role, Campbell said.

“We look for talent in our networks,” she said. “And maybe it’s who you play golf with or who’s on your (lake). Well, there’s lots of people who don't have lake houses or play golf. And so how are we giving those people opportunities?”

Companies can mandate diversity, but the challenge is to cultivate inclusion, said Microsoft Operations Program Manager Kelsey Gordon.

“Based on what we know and how the brain works, a strong culture of inclusion is crucial for the employee to do their best work,” she said. “The feelings of exclusion activate the brain in a similar way to the experience of physical pain.”

Diversity and inclusion training is something that can be done immediately, Gordon said. But one of the most important aspects is to simply start the conversation.

“Inclusion in the workplace is crucial to growing and sustaining businesses, our workforce and most importantly, our community,” Gordon said.

Carissa Wigginton is a high school sports reporter for The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead. A Fargo native, she graduated from Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Wigginton joined The Forum’s sports department in August 2019.
What to read next
Bankruptcy filings from the past week in all of North Dakota and Becker, Clay, Douglas, Grant, Hubbard, Mahnomen, Norman, Otter Tail, Polk, Traverse, Wadena and Wilkin counties in Minnesota.
Awards were given for Small Business of the Year, Business of the Year, Nonprofit of the Year, Young Professionals Best Place to Work, Emerging Business of the Year, Resilient Business of the Year and People's Choice.
According to an NFI Group release, the plant is expected to close sometime in the fourth quarter of 2022. The bus maker is working on a cost-cutting plan, a series of initiatives, to cut costs by $67 million.
After Robert Otterson read a national article on the death of the summer job several years ago, he knew one thing. He was going to raise sons who knew how to work. So it made sense for Ottersons' two sons, Chase and Dillon, to join forces with his friend Dustin Roberge's same-age sons, Taylor and Chase, when the older boys got to middle school. Since then, their 4Bs Lawn Service has become a growing mowing business.