Business & Finance

In New Brunswick, a Celebration of Diversity for the Bottom Line and Beyond

1c4b7ee7eba0976c7d36_diversity_expo_3.jpg
Business owners and professionals network on Aug. 18 at the Statewide Hispanic Chamber of Commerce's diversity expo and breakfast
1c4b7ee7eba0976c7d36_diversity_expo_3.jpg

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ — The hundreds of people who packed Rutgers' College Avenue Student Center on Friday raised their smartphones in the air, squeezing as many folks as possible onto their screens. They were taking selfies—but not your typical one.

The crowd was there to network and drive home the importance of diversity in business, as part of a Statewide Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey expo. More than a simple social media post, each selfie was meant to further just how critical diverse staffs, boards and customer bases are to a business's bottom line—and the communities it serves.

Indeed, the Aug. 18 event's significance was underscored by its draw. Dozens of small businesses attended, and larger companies, like Verizon, signed on as sponsors. State and local officials, like Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, who's running for governor as a Republican, and New Brunswick Mayor Jim Cahill, meanwhile, spoke to the sprawling room of business leaders.

Sign Up for E-News

“We need you to participate. We need you to feel comfortable here. We need you to ask questions. We need to get you the answers that you need and the support that you need,” Guadagno told audience members, many of whom are Hispanic. “Because, quite frankly, New Jersey and you represent the American dream.”

The diversity expo brought dozens of businesses, large and small, to the Hub City. Their representatives set up tables and walked the room, building connections with other people and companies. Then, shortly after 9 a.m., attendees sat down for a breakfast and panel discussion, which focused on how diversity can boost profits.

New Jersey Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno mingles with diversity expo attendees

Perhaps the greatest example of diversity's power was in the economic power of New Jersey's Hispanic population.

Hispanic companies are the largest and fastest-growing sector in the state, Guadagno said. Latinos spend $22.9 billion in New Jersey each year and represent 10 percent of the workforce, she said.

Hard numbers like those tend to make diversity initiatives more palatable to businesses, especially smaller ones, Carlos Medina, chairman of the Statewide Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey, said.

“Especially in today's climate, it's important that people recognize the value of diversity,” he said. “We really emphasize that it's not a philanthropic event, but it's something that adds to your bottom line and brings a great value to your organization.”

A diverse staff can help draw more bids, leading to lower costs for companies, he said. And it might also steer businesses from making embarrassing mistakes, such as misspelling the name of a country, like Colombia, he added.

A Verizon employee speaks with a potential customer

While many small businesses attended the event, some top-level companies threw their weight behind the cause.

Verizon, one of the event's sponsors, got involved because it believes in promoting diversity in local communities and the organization itself, company officials said.

Sam Delgado, vice president of external affairs at Verizon New Jersey, was one of several people who founded the state's Hispanic chamber, back in 1988. Looking around the room last week, he saw signs of a great future for both Latino business owners and diversity as a whole.

“This is the future,” Delgado said. “This is where you see the youth and energy of the immigrant class in America becoming American citizens. And what better way to become an American than to open up your own business and become an entrepreneur and contribute to the community?”

Big companies are often key to driving such ideas, leaders said. Without them, conferences like this might not be possible.

“These companies are small businesses that are just trying to get started,” Guadagno said, “and Verizon is giving them a leg up.”

Condemning the white-supremacist attacks in Charlottesville, Virginia, she also noted that New Jersey's commitment to diversity helps defend the state from racism and its tragic consequences.

 New Brunswick Mayor Jim Cahill speaks to the crowd

In New Brunswick, Hispanic businesses have long helped revive the city and meet the needs of its residents, Cahill, the mayor, told the crowd. People from Mexico, Guatemala, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and Honduras have all established businesses here, boosting employment numbers and funneling money into the community, he said.

Cahill pointed to the French Street business corridor as one positive example. Once a decaying urban center, the area has grown as a hub of commerce in recent years, largely thanks to Latinos, he said.

“If you look at the Hispanic-owned businesses in the City of New Brunswick, you can see that they are great partners in the progress that the City of New Brunswick has achieved,” Cahill said.

And that's exactly what the diversity expo organizers and sponsors said they hoped to accomplish—but on a much larger scale.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

New Brunswick

The Jaffe Briefing - May 23, 2018




The Jaffe Briefing will not publish from Thursday through Monday. A great Memorial Day to all!


OUR TAKE ON THE NEWS IN NEW JERSEY

SEASIDE HEIGHTS - Sex can be an almost-religious experience, but it seems a bit excessive to copulate under a statue of the Virgin Mary in a Catholic church's outdoor prayer garden. Yet, that's where ...

The Jaffe Briefing - May 22, 2018




The Jaffe Briefing will not publish from Thursday through Monday. A great Memorial Day to all!


MANVILLE - If marijuana becomes legal in New Jersey, here's another town where you won't be able to buy it: Manville. The mayor and council unanimously voted to prohibit any sale of weed - recreational and medicinal - within Manville's borders. The ...

The Jaffe Briefing - May 21, 2018




The Jaffe Briefing will not publish from Thursday through Monday. A great Memorial Day to all!


STATEWIDE - Should public school students be allowed to attend schools in other towns? That's the big, controversial question in a lawsuit filed against the state that looks to end what some consider to be the worst school segregation in the nation. The ...

The Jaffe Briefing - May 18, 2018

OUR TAKE ON THE NEWS IN NEW JERSEY

IN COURT - Sounds like a cheesy thing to do, but the NJ Turnpike Authority has gone to court for years trying to stop a pizzeria chain whose logo is suspiciously similar to our beloved Garden State Parkway sign. Sure, nobody wants drivers searching for an on-ramp to end ...

The Jaffe Briefing - May 17, 2018

OUR TAKE ON THE NEWS IN NEW JERSEY

MOUNTAINSIDE - Oh, where to begin describing this 46-page lawsuit against two Mountainside cops? A detective sergeant placing his testicles on co-workers' food. And throwing poop-smeared toilet tissue at them. And defecating in someone's boots. And taunting with a dildo dubbed "Big Blue" he liked to wave in cops' faces, as he chased ...

The Jaffe Briefing - May 16, 2018

OUR TAKE ON THE NEWS IN NEW JERSEY

ATLANTIC CITY - Happy days are here again, as the state's once gasping gaming resort is expecting sports betting will rake in $150 million to $175 million a year in new, glorious profits - courtesy of your pals on the U.S. Supreme Court. Moreover, ecstatic Stockton University officials believe, this recharged gambling mecca will bring in a whole new ...

Rutgers Athletics Signs Dyehard Fan Supply to New Multi-Year Agreement

May 21, 2018

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ -  Rutgers Athletics has selected Dyehard Fan Supply, an event and retail merchandise marketing and e-commerce company, as the official merchandising partner for the Scarlet Knights in a new multi-year agreement.Dyehard will handle game day and event merchandising for Rutgers Athletics.

“We’re excited to expand gameday merchandising options and elevate ...

Newark man given 22-year sentence for kidnapping, sexual asault of Rutgers student

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - A Newark man was sentenced Friday to 22 years in prison for the 2016 kidnapping and sexual assault of a Rutgers University student on the school campus in New Brunswick.

Michael Knight, 40, of Newark must serve at least 85 percent of his sentence before he is eligible for parole, Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew Carey said in a statement today.

Superior Court Judge ...

Rutgers center battles noise pollution nationwide

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ  - Eric Zwerling got a call this week from a man was living next to a fitness center, complaining he repeatedly heard the loud thud heavy free weights and medicine balls hit the floor.

The man was recovering from having a pace maker in his chest and wondering of the impact of the noise from the gym.

“I’ve received thousands of calls,” said Zwerling, ...

Police Investigate Rabbit "Tale"

May 11, 2018

SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – Local cops are investigating an incident of ‘theft by deception’ involving the Plainfield Animal Hospital. 

According to the incident report filed by Officer Justin Melanson and obtained by TAPinto, residents of South Plainfield took their pet rabbit to the Park Avenue animal hospital on April 4 to be euthanized due to advanced ...

OPINION

Here's How to Help Protect Young Athletes from Injury: Let Them Play Multiple Sports

May 1, 2018

Dear TAPInto New Brunswick:

One of the responsibilities that parents take most seriously is protecting their children from injury, whether it is buckling seat belts in a car or wearing a helmet while riding a bike. And when their kids become teenagers and want to participate in sports or other activities, parents do everything they can to keep their sons and daughters from getting ...

"Itʼs Time for New Leadership" Say Middlesex County Republicans

May 22, 2018

MIDDLESEX COUNTY, NJ  - On Tuesday, June 12th, elected county committee members of the Middlesex County Republican Organization will have a choice on who will be their next County Chair and party executive board.

Sharon D. Hubberman, former Middlesex County Freeholder Candidate, and current Perth Amboy Republican Chair has announced she will accept her nomination for the ...