CenterState CEO Launches

Posted on January 31, 2021

Cover Equity Website Graphic

New online resource offers diversity, equity and inclusion tools for organizations; businesses leaders encouraged to take the Business Equity Pledge

Syracuse, NY - CenterState CEO has created a new website offering a series of comprehensive diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) tools for Central New York businesses, organizations and individuals. The site,, developed by CenterState CEO and sponsored by Berkshire Bank, offers a dynamic array of information, assessment tools and educational resources to support organizations in their efforts to address racial equity in their workplaces, the community and beyond.

“We know that many companies are taking a closer look at how to develop internal and external strategies for building more inclusive and equitable workplaces,” said Dr. Juhanna Rogers, vice president of racial equity and social impact at CenterState CEO. “To ensure true impact, it is critical for organizations to equip themselves with the knowledge and tools, supported by research and equity principles, to affect positive, long-term change. We are grateful to Berkshire Bank for their support of this effort, which enables us to reach more businesses in our community as they continue this journey.”

Chris Papayanakos, regional president at Berkshire Bank stated, "This initiative is truly in line with the core values of Berkshire Bank, and our strong commitment to communities in Central New York."

Regardless of where a business is on its journey toward equity and inclusion, the site offers a thoughtful space to foster racial equity dialogue and solutions across the region. CenterState CEO invites businesses to further their DEI goals by taking the Business Equity Pledge. The Pledge asks business leaders to commit to building welcoming, inclusive and equitable workplaces across Central New York.

"Advancing greater social, cultural and economic equity requires us to be intentional in our actions and our leadership. Our collective commitment to continuous improvement and education on issues of diversity, equity and inclusion is critical if we are to realize our vision for our region as a place where business thrives, and all people prosper," said Rob Simpson, president of CenterState CEO. "In recent months, regional employers have shared that they and their employees are looking for further support to advance dialogue and programming on these issues within their organizations. We are excited to offer this new set of resources in an accessible online format, in addition to our DEI professional development training curriculum."

The site provides opportunity for self-guided learning, including self-assessment tools, a free micro-course, a guided digital library and other select online resources to increase awareness, educate and encourage visitors to take action to build social and racial equity for all. It also provides information on CenterState CEO DEI training services, which offers customizable curriculum packages available to businesses and organizations of all sizes.

Led by Dr. Rogers, these DEI training and consultation services are based on research and affirmed methods from leading national diversity scholars, integrating relevant data and historical context to examine the connections between corporate culture and equity issues.

Through grant support provided by Berkshire Bank Foundation, the site aims to guide leaders toward a greater understanding of racial equity issues and offer ongoing support for their organizations or companies as they analyze their own processes and procedures to improve their corporate cultures.

"We have been supportive of this initiative from the onset; assisting businesses in their efforts to instill diversity, equity, and inclusion into their workplaces is critical to success. Berkshire Bank and its Foundation have prioritized open dialogue and learning around social justice issues and solutions. We applaud CenterState CEO for developing a program to support businesses in this important work," said Papayanakos.

CenterState CEO is available to work with companies wishing to prioritize DEI work for their organization. Questions can be directed to

About CenterState CEO
CenterState CEO is an independent and forward thinking economic development strategist, business leadership organization and chamber of commerce; dedicated to the success of its members and the prosperity of the region. We serve as an advocate and resource for smart business, catalyze and facilitate regionalgrowth,andpromotecommunityprosperitythroughresults-driven partnerships, planning and problem-solving.

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