BRAC Announces Diversity Star Award Recipients

BATON ROUGE, La. (August 11, 2021) — The Baton Rouge Area Chamber (BRAC) today announced recipients of its Diversity Star Award at its sixth annual Diversity in Business event sponsored by Taylor Porter. City Year Baton Rouge received the award for the small business category, and BASF Geismar received the award for the large business category.  

BRAC created the Diversity Star Award with a goal of highlighting exceptional business practices taking place in the Capital Region that leverage the value of diversity in organizations. The award seeks to honor and recognize regional businesses that have championed diversity and inclusion at their businesses or in the community.   

“This year, businesses across the Capital Region continued to review and improve their diversity and inclusion policies and practices. Many of them understand that D&I is not a trend or fad, it’s simply the right thing to do AND it’s good for business. Although this work is new to some, and complex to many, it was encouraging to see the number of organizations nominated for the Diversity Star award who are striving to make their organization a more diverse and inclusive workplace,” said Eric Dexter, chair of BRAC’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee and director of business development for Civil Solutions Consulting Group. “We are thrilled to recognize both City Year Baton Rouge and BASF for the work they are doing in their respective organizations. The Capital Region is a stronger and more welcoming place because of businesses like these.” 

City Year Baton Rouge was selected for its dedication to hiring, partnering with, and assisting a diverse group of individuals in terms of gender, race, age, sexual orientation, culture and nationality. The organization strives to reflect the students and community in which it serves and is guided by ten core values that include Social Justice for All, Inclusivity, and the traditional Zulu concept, Ubuntu. City Year has also implemented remarkable best practices that show their commitment to diversity and inclusion, including the creation of an Office of Equity. 

“City Year Baton Rouge is honored to be recognized by BRAC for our important work in achieving educational equity in Baton Rouge through the work of our amazing AmeriCorps members, staff, advisory board members, and school partnerships. City Year is positioned to drive innovation and transformation in systemically under-resourced schools and develop the next generation of leaders to fulfill the promise of a quality education for all students in Baton Rouge,” said Jada Lewis, City Year Baton Rouge vice president and executive director. “We are always interested in developing partnerships with those interested in investing in our important work in the Baton Rouge community.” 

BASF Geismar was selected for its exceptional diversity and inclusion practices within the company and larger community. Specific practices include programs such as Female Leaders Advancing Manufacturing Excellence (FLAME) that helps women in manufacturing, its employee-led resource groups, its Supplier Diversity Program, and its dedication to minimizing career mobility barriers for women and minority communities along with many other initiatives.  

“On behalf of BASF, I want to thank the Baton Rouge Area Chamber for the honor of being the region’s 2021 Diversity Star Award recipient,” said Jerry Lebold, senior vice president and general manager for BASF’s site in Geismar. “This distinction is a great recognition of our team’s efforts to improve diversity and inclusion at BASF. I am proud of the inclusive culture we have built at the Geismar site and believe anyone who joins our team feels valued, respected and connected.”

About the Baton Rouge Area Chamber   

The Baton Rouge Area Chamber (BRAC) leads economic development in the nine-parish Baton Rouge Area, working to grow jobs and wealth and to improve the business climate and competitiveness in the region. Today, BRAC investors include more than 1,400 small businesses, midsize firms, large industry and entrepreneurial startups, as well as individuals and organizations that support business and economic development. In this capacity, BRAC serves as the voice of the business community, providing knowledge, access, services and advocacy. More information is available at   


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