(Tallahassee, Fla.) – Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce (FBCW) today welcomed four new company and organizational members to its coalition. Raymond James Financial in St. Petersburg, Winn-Dixie Stores in Jacksonville, On Top of the World Communities in Ocala, and the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce join this week and in support of the Florida Competitive Workforce Act. They become part of 11 other major Florida employers, including C1 Bank, Carlton Fields Jorden Burt, CSX Corporation, Darden Restaurants Inc., Florida Blue, Haskell, Home Shopping Network (HSN), Tech Data Corporation, University of North Florida, Walt Disney World Resorts, and Wells Fargo.
While it is illegal to discriminate in employment, housing and public accommodations based race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, handicap or marital status, the LGBT community is currently left out of statewide non-discrimination protections. That is why top employers in the state have united in support of Sen. Joe Abruzzo’s (D-Royal Palm Beach) SB 348 and Reps. Holly Raschein’s (R-Key Largo) and Joe Saunders’ (D-Orlando) HB 239, the Florida Competitive Workforce Act.
In joining Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce, business leaders relayed deciding factors in joining industry peers.
“Raymond James has a long history of embracing and celebrating the diversity of our associates, financial advisors and clients, and we are dedicated to championing an inclusive environment where differences are understood, respected and valued,” said CEO Paul Reilly. “Acceptance and equality provide a safe and level playing field and the opportunity to thrive, which benefits both businesses and their employees.”
“Diversity and inclusion in our company is something we truly believe in, not only because it is the right thing to do, but because it’s important to the growth of our people and business,” said Lynn Boston, SPHR, Vice President, Talent Management and HR of Bi-Lo Holdings, LLC, the parent company of BI-LO and Winn-Dixie grocery stores. “We will become a great company only when we take advantage of the creativity that comes from multiple perspectives.”
“All employees deserve equal opportunity, fairness and justice,” said On Top of the World Communities President Kenneth Colen. “It is the honorable thing to do, not only for our business, but for our employees. Acceptance and inclusiveness foster a positive employee experience, leading to increased productivity and growth.”
“We value the diversity of our businesses and consumers in the area, and recruiting and retaining talent is critical to the state’s business success,” said Nick Kouris, Chair of the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce’s Diversity and Inclusiveness Task Force. “Support and inclusiveness in our workplaces will assure business leaders and the workforce that Florida and St. Petersburg are both welcoming places keen on encouraging economic growth.”
The coalition is led by Patrick Geraghty, CEO of Florida Blue in Jacksonville; John Tonnison, Executive Vice President and Worldwide CIO of Tech Data Corporation in Clearwater; and Philip Dinkins, Senior Vice President of Cassidy Turley in Tampa. They serve as President, Secretary and Treasurer of the FBCW coalition respectively.
Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce
The Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce (FBCW) Coalition is a 501c(4) whose mission is to support passing The Competitive Workforce Act (HB 239/SB 348) which would modernize state law to include anti-discrimination protection based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression. The Coalition believes that the Florida Competitive Workforce Act will make Florida more competitive in the national and global marketplace in much the same way companies have benefitted from adopting anti-discrimination policies.
Contact: Christina Johnson