PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Officials from across Central Illinois met today to discuss diversity, equity and inclusion at Goodwill Industries in Peoria. The main topic was to learn more about how to create cultures of acceptance and belonging in the workplace.

Speakers included Peoria Mayor Rita Ali and Executive Director of Central Illinois Friends Derick Kimler. Kimler said that it is important to have various perspectives at work, but those unfamiliar with certain cultures need to be knowledgeable of that.

“If you have one way of thinking, it impedes your growth, we need diversity in all senses of the word, but in order to include diversity, you’re including community members in spaces that you’re not familiar with, and we need to be accepting and acknowledging of that,” Kimler said.

Lyndsie Gravemier, who works for Goodwill as a Co-chair for their Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee, said that an inclusive workplace environment can make a difference for employees.

“The diversity has always been there, and I think we’ve reached the point where individuals are wanting to bring their whole selves to work, and we are recognizing that in order to create a strong team, we need diverse perspectives,” Gravemier said.