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Columbus Hires Damita Brown As New Chief Diversity Officer

Damita Brown, interim director of the Columbus Office for Diversity and Inclusion, speaks about a study of hiring practices on July 24, 2019.
Adora Namigadde
/
WOSU
Damita Brown, interim director of the Columbus Office for Diversity and Inclusion, speaks about a study of hiring practices on July 24, 2019.

The city of Columbus hired Damita Brown as its chief diversity officer in the Office of Diversity and Inclusion. She will be the third person to fill the role.

According to Mayor Andrew Ginther, Brown was responsible for city-record levels of minority participation on several projects, including the construction of the new Columbus Crew stadium. Last year, 47% of the city’s contracts were with minority- or women-owned businesses.

"The community has faith and trust in Damita, and so do I," Ginther said in a statement.

Brown has worked with the Office of Diversity and Inclusion since 2016, during which time she served both as deputy and interim director of the department during that time. She has also worked for the United Way of Central Ohio and the Columbus Regional Airport Authority.

In 2019, the city's workforce was 20% African Americans and 27% women.

That same year, Brown led a city study that showed Black men and women are underrepresented in city contracts for construction and professional services. Legally, the city needed to conduct such a study in order to set legislative goals for the share of contracts provided to minority- and women-owned businesses.

Columbus' current chief diversity officer, Beverly Stallings-Johnson, accepted a position with Wendy’s after serving in the role since February 2020. Her last day in the role will be March 12.

Adora Namigadde was a reporter for 89.7 NPR News. She joined WOSU News in February 2017. A Michigan native, she graduated from Wayne State University with a B.A. in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in French.