PMDC first-place diversity case competition winners, “Diverse Minds Consulting,” pictured with sponsoring judges and alumni. First-place winners were awarded $1,000, thanks to PMDC’s 2023 sponsors. Photo by A’me Dalton for Virginia Tech.

The Pamplin Multicultural Diversity Council (PMDC) held their 16th annual “Diversity Case Competition and Conference” at the Inn at Virginia Tech on Sunday, March 19, 2023. PMDC is a student-led organization that strives to progress diversity and leadership within the professional environment.

The diversity case competition and conference is held annually to connect students with professionals, give them the opportunity to compete in a real-world business diversity case, as well as attend professional workshops presented by corporate partner representatives from CoStarGroup, Accenture, KBR, RSM, KPMG, Deloitte, Wells Fargo, Johnson Brothers, EY, Summit Human Capital, Bank of America, and Pamplin’s Office for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB).

“I am excited to have this opportunity to work with PMDC,” said Brianna Hardison, accounting major and PMDC president. “The council stands out because it gives me, as well as my peers, a chance to learn about DEIB and how it will play a role in our lives after we graduate. We will be able to take the skills that we have learned through advancing DEIB within our community and carry them into the workforce.”

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With over 60 students in attendance, the diversity case competition and conference was kicked off with a warm welcome from keynote speaker and Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging, Dr. Janice Branch Hall. Encouraging students to focus on their purpose beyond themselves, Dean Hall shared her undergraduate experience.

“We can’t fit our destiny or our purpose into another person’s, and vice versa,” said Hall. “Your purpose is uniquely designed for you. We are all fearfully and wonderfully made to carry out a purpose that is bigger than ourselves. Don’t shy away from making mistakes, that builds your grit. Say yes to opportunities outside of your comfort zone so you can foster passions inside yourself that you didn’t even know existed. Your purpose is not about you. It must go beyond ourselves, for there is way too much work to do in this world.”

Students had the opportunity to attend a professional workshop of their choice: Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) & How to Stay Engaged moderated by corporate sponsor, KBR, Implicit Bias moderated by corporate sponsor, CoStar Group, and Global Mindset, moderated by corporate sponsor, EY. Bringing the exciting day to a close, student groups gathered to present their diversity case, developed by Pamplin faculty, to PMDC’s corporate sponsors and alumni judges.

The diversity case itself encompassed issues in recruitment, hiring practices, retention, and work culture. First place was awarded to Diverse Minds Consulting, along with a $1,000 prize. Second place was awarded to Change Agents, along with a $600 prize. Third place was awarded to The Dream Team, along with a $400 prize.

“KPMG is here today to support the DEI initiatives that Pamplin has put on for its students,” said Andrew Luo, a senior cybersecurity consultant with KPMG and Pamplin alumni ’20. “DEI initiatives at KPMG are very important. It’s something that we’re specializing in because we truly appreciate and value diversity in the workplace.”

-        Written by A’me Dalton

PMDC Diversity Case Competition & Conference at the Inn at Virginia Tech. Photo by A’me Dalton for Virginia Tech.