Meet Dell Nared Jr., the director for diversity, equity, and inclusion at the Greater Omaha Chamber (OmahaChamber.org).
Tell us a little about your business. – The Chamber is dedicated to making Omaha a great place to work, live, and do business in for all. In my role, I lead the Chamber’s Commitment to Opportunity, Diversity, and Equity (CODE) Initiative. We partner with the events team, marketing team, and CODE Planning Committee to put on the 2022 CODE Conference. In addition, our CODE Education Series provides professional development and training for organizations across the metro and contracts for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) practitioners.
How did you get started in the business? – I was born and raised in Omaha, and I’m an alumni of Omaha North High School. I went on to attend Texas Christian University (TCU), where I majored in psychology with a business minor. After graduation, I decided to return home to give back to the community that had given so much to me. Before joining the Chamber, I served as the associate director for access, inclusion, and diversity at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) for six years.
What has been your most important achievement professionally? – While working at UNL, I’m proud to say that I helped grow first-year undergraduate enrollment for underrepresented, first-generation, and low-income students to record enrollment for four consecutive years. At the Chamber, I have been able to help increase the amount of organizations that signed the “We Will” statement or the CODE Pledge to 126 within the last 10 months (30% growth). Other significant achievements include increasing the attendance and attendee satisfaction at the CODE Conference this year and expanding our partnership with Quantum Workplace and UNO to offer the CODE assessment twice a year. This partnership has allowed us to survey 4,253 members of the workforce in Greater Omaha and bring each participating organization a dashboard to help them understand their data, an executive summary and recommendations based on academic research, and a combined 100 hours of consulting.
What is your favorite thing to do on a day off? – I love spending time with my beautiful wife and our three-year-old daughter Adele. I also enjoy any sporting or outdoor events, particularly track and football. In addition, I’m the proud co-founder of the Melanin Market in Omaha. So when I’m not working on Chamber initiatives, I support the Melanin Market in highlighting minority-owned businesses and creating avenues for them to showcase their businesses to a wider audience.
What is the most unique or interesting thing about you that most people probably don’t know? – I was fortunate enough to receive the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Scholarship my senior year of high school, which allowed me the opportunity to pursue my dream of becoming the first in my family to graduate from college.
If you could choose only one descriptive word to be remembered as, what would it be? – Changemaker. Throughout my life and career, I’ve aimed to ignite positive change and make a lasting difference in peoples’ lives and the communities I’m in. While I was a student at TCU, I took on many leadership roles, such as being the president of the Eta Psi Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. and the president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) on campus. Since then, I’ve continued to put myself in positions that ensure our communities are growing in the right direction.