Working for workplace religious diversity, equity & inclusion


Monthly Archives: March 2019

Vatican hosts interfaith conference on sustainable development, Brian Grim participates

12 Mar, 2019

Brian Grim, president of the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation, was invited to the Vatican to contribute to the first international conference on religions and the sustainable development goals.

Pope Francis said Friday that global development goals need to be supported by ethical objectives stemming from personal conversion and recognition of one’s failures.

“The economic and political objectives must be supported by ethical objectives, which presuppose a change of attitude, the Bible would say a change of heart,” the pope said March 8 at the Vatican’s Clementine Hall.

“Already St. John Paul II spoke about the need to ‘encourage and sustain an ecological conversion,’” he said, referencing a 2001 catechesis of one of his predecessors. “Religions have a key role to play here.”

The pope addressed Vatican officials, religious representatives, and members of international organizations participating in a March 7-9 conference on “Religions and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): Listening to the cry of the earth and the poor.”

International Conference on Religions and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

The international community is currently working towards the first four-yearly review of all 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), adopted in 2015 by 193 States at the United Nations. Recent reports from international organizations raise a serious alarm of concern regarding the present course of implementation of the SDGs.

For example, according to the latest FAO Report on the State of food security and nutrition in the world, the number of undernourished people in the world (SDG 2) is on the rise, while the recent IPCC Report on global warming of l .5°C warns that humanity has less than a decade to win the fight against climate change (SDG 13). Hence, there is an urgent need to reflect on how the human family can intensify joint efforts to help Nations to implement the SDGs. This requires the participation of all, religions included (more than eight-in-ten people identify with a religious group). Moreover, the 17 SDGs are not competing goals but rather intertwined. How to promote such interconnections is a subject where faith communities can provide unique contribution, particularly considering their holistic approach to human development.

The Holy See is willing to contribute, with the involvement of experts of major religions and international institutions, to the review of the first overall assessment of the implementation of the Agenda 2030. For this purpose, the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, together with the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue, convened an International Conference on ” Religions and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)”, at the New Synod Hall, Vatican City, from the March 7 – 9, 2019.

The Conference was a dialogue about assessing the actual implementation of the SDGs by Nations ( see ). The interlocutors of this dialogue are experts from both international institutions and religions. It will also aim at sharing, in the light of faith, a deeper understanding of the SDGs (judge). Finally, the conference will discuss the specific and unique contributions that religions can make to promote and to implement the SDGs (act).

The Five Ps

A framing that reveals the interconnections among all 17 distinct goals and the 169 associated targets, is the one known as the five “Ps”: People. Planet, Prosperity, Peace and Partnership. This framing served as the structure of the Conference’s programme.

After a general overview, the first session covered People and Planet, the second Prosperity and Peace, whereas the third will reflect on Partnership. Each session contained several presentations on development topics (15 minutes) , followed by a response from a religious perspective (15 minutes). In the opening session and in the one on Partnership, more time was  allocated to hear religious voices. On the last day, best practices on the link between SDGs and religions were introduced. The final session presented a synthesis expressed in the form of a Call from Participants to their own communities and institutions to contribute on the implementation of the SDGs.

Event: Religious Diversity & Inclusion in the Workplace, May 6, Dallas

7 Mar, 2019

May 6, 2019, Monday, 8:00am-1:00pm | Texas Instruments worldwide headquarters | 12500 TI Boulevard, Dallas, TX 75243


Case for Action: Employees who bring their “whole selves” to the workplace perform better in bottom line key indicator areas. For many, religion and spirituality are core to their identity, and their faith strongly influences their work. Yet they feel they must hide this identity at work. As a result, they often feel devalued and stifled. Respecting religious differences and collaborating across faith communities can help build an inclusive culture where all employees can be themselves and deliver their best performance.

Breakthrough: Increasingly, workplace leaders are embracing religious diversity in a way that supports organizational objectives and strengthens cultures of trust, integrity, mutual respect and organizational effectiveness. They are seeing how openness to appropriate religious expression can elevate employee recruitment, commitment, engagement, retention, ethical practices and personal fulfillment.

Also, global studies show that the freedom to exercise one’s faith and beliefs is significantly associated with economic growth and the World Economic Forum’s pillars of global competitiveness.

Invitation: Join us Monday, May 6, 8:00am-1:00pm, at Texas Instruments (TI) worldwide headquarters (12500 TI Boulevard, Dallas, TX 75243) for an in-depth discussion of religious diversity and an introduction to resources to help companies design successful policies and practices to maximize the benefits of religious diversity & inclusion in the workplace.


  • Ellen Barker (TI Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer)
  • Suzan Johnson Cook (President & CEO of CHARISMA SPEAKERS, former U.S. Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom)
  • Samantha Dwinell (TI Vice President, Talent Management and Workforce Intelligence)
  • Brian Grim (President, Religious Freedom & Business Foundation)
  • TI employees from various faiths and backgrounds sharing significant experiences with workplace religious diversity.
  • Mohammed Faris (Author, The Productive Muslim: Where Faith Meets Productivity)
  • Sue Warnke (Senior Director of Engineering Content & President of Faithforce San Francisco at Salesforce)
  • Kent Johnson (former TI senior counsel)
  • Other Employee Experiences (American Airlines, etc.)

For questions regarding the event, please email:

Register for this free event at:

Self-reliance groups offer practical courses with spiritual benefits

1 Mar, 2019

  • This is part of a series of profiles on faith and work initiatives from various faiths.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has rolled out a global program helping their members as well as nonmember gain what they refer to as skills in self-reliance. The first video below is used in the United States to help their members understand the program and consider getting involved and/or suggesting the program to others.

The second video is an example of the small business curriculum as developed for use in Sub-Saharan Africa. A self-employment group member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints discusses how the program taught him marketing and better customer relations. He also discusses the role of prayer and faith in his business.

Manuals, videos, and training may be downloaded from their website and are also available at their Church’s distribution centers.

Courses cover topics including personal finance, starting and growing a business, finding a better job, and how to chose the right education for better work.

The Church’s Rationale Behind the Courses

The following quote from the Church’s Self-Reliance page show the close connection between faith and work:

The Lord has said, “It is my purpose to provide for my saints . . . but it must needs be done in mine own way” (Doctrine and Covenants 104:15, 16). This is a promise that Heavenly Father will help take care of His children as they follow Him. Self-reliance does not mean that we can accomplish or obtain anything we want. If we are self-reliant we believe that through the power of Christ, and through our own effort, we can work for the spiritual and practical needs of life. Many people can become more self-reliant. The self-reliance initiative is a tool to help.