Press Release

A Quote from Minnesota Human Rights Commissioner Kevin Lindsey

“James will be a wonderful addition to the multi-agency team working to create inclusion in state government within the State of Minnesota. We are very fortunate to add his insight, knowledge and dedication to the important work of creating diversity and establishing inclusion within Minnesota,” said Commissioner Kevin Lindsey upon hearing that Mr. Burroughs had accepted the newly created position of Chief Inclusion Officer. “As a member of the hiring selection committee, I want to personally thank Tawanna Black, Lena Gardner, Dustin Goslin, Ruby Lee, and Terri Thao who served on the committee and who were instrumental to the process.”

APRIL 8, 2016

Governor Dayton Appoints James C. Burroughs II as Chief Inclusion Officer for State of Minnesota

Burroughs brings over 20 years of experience to role of ensuring state government creates an inclusive environment and reflects the rich diversity of Minnesota

ST. PAUL, MN – Today, Governor Mark Dayton announced the appointment of James C. Burroughs II as Chief Inclusion Officer for the State of Minnesota. In this role, Burroughs will oversee the State of Minnesota’s efforts to ensure: (1) that the state’s workforce reflects the rich diversity of Minnesota by increasing economic opportunity for people of color, people with disabilities, and others underrepresented in our workforce; (2) increasing state contracting opportunities for racially diverse businesses; and (3) increasing the state’s civic engagement and partnerships with communities of color and other diverse communities. Burroughs brings over 20 years of experience in diversity and inclusion, non-profit management, and employment law. He has led equity and diversity efforts for educational institutions, public entities, and private sector employers.

“I am honored to appoint James C. Burroughs II as Chief Inclusion Officer for the State of Minnesota. Mr. Burroughs brings a proven record of success in advising clients and developing effective strategies for diversity and inclusion in both the public and private sectors,” said Governor Mark Dayton. “Mr. Burroughs will be invaluable in our state’s efforts to be more inclusive and representative of the people we serve. I thank the search committee for their exceptional work.”

As Chief Inclusion Officer for the State of Minnesota, Burroughs will be responsible for leading efforts across state government to increase the percentage of state jobs held by people of color, as well as increasing economic opportunity for people with disabilities and others underrepresented within the state’s workforce. Governor Dayton has committed $2.6 million in his proposed budget to making this recruitment a reality. Burroughs also will direct efforts within the state workforce to provide training, foster a state work environment that welcomes and respects all Minnesotans, and work with outside groups to ensure that Minnesota is a state that works for everyone, everywhere.

About James C. Burroughs

James C. Burroughs has over 20 years of experience in diversity and inclusion, non-profit management, and employment law. He has led equity and diversity efforts for educational institutions, public entities, and the private sector. Burroughs has worked with various consulting groups over the last two decades, providing expertise on issues including diversity in hiring, executive training on diversity and inclusion, and human resources management. In these roles, Burroughs has worked with businesses including Fortune 500 and Fortune 100 companies throughout the world.

Burroughs also served for nearly seven years as the Executive Director of Equity and Diversity for Minneapolis Public Schools, where he oversaw the implementation of the schools’ efforts on diversity and equity, including their integration plan, inclusion training, and diversity partnerships with businesses and institutions (supplier diversity). Previously, Burroughs worked in law. He was an Associate at Dorsey & Whitney LLP where he also assisted the firm in hiring and retaining more diverse lawyers as a member of the firm’s hiring committee. James also co-chaired the Twin Cities Committee on Minorities in Large Law Firms and worked with minority lawyers and large law firms to increase racial diversity in the legal profession in Minnesota. James also served as an adjunct faculty member at Hamline (now Mitchell Hamline) University School of Law and the University of Minnesota Law School.

James C. Burroughs is a board member of the Sabathani Community Center, Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity, Memorial Blood Centers (Advisory Board), Robert Jones Urban Research and Outreach- Engagement Center (Advisory Board). Burroughs lives in Brooklyn Park with his three-year-old daughter. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree at Morehouse College and his Juris Doctorate at Georgetown University Law Center.

View James C. Burroughs’ full biography here.

About the Search Committee

There was an extensive search process to fill this crucial role, with ten representatives from a diverse array of public, private, and nonprofit partners coming together to consider more than 100 candidates. Members of Governor Dayton’s senior staff and cabinet, including Chief of Staff Jaime Tincher, Deputy Chief of Staff Shawntera Hardy, Management and Budget Commissioner Myron Frans, Human Rights Commissioner Kevin Lindsey, Administration Commissioner Matt Massman, Management and Budget Deputy Commissioner Edwin Hudson, and Olmstead Implementation Office Executive Director Darlene Zangara helped lead the search effort, along with the following search committee members:

Tawanna Black, Executive Director, Northside Funders Group
“I commend Governor Dayton and his administration on establishing a strategic goal of strengthening state government operations by fully embracing the diversity of thought and experience that can come through a more diverse workforce that fully embraces the great talent in our communities of color. And, I applaud his decision to ensure that this goal is fulfilled by creating a Chief Inclusion Officer role. James’ breadth of experience leading diversity and inclusion strategies, and his commitment to building inclusive, prosperous, and equitable organizations will serve our state well.”

Lena K. Gardner, Black Lives Matter Minneapolis
"Hiring James Burroughs is an excellent step in the right direction. The state of Minnesota has failed its Black communities for too long. Adjusting the state workforce to be more representative of our population and more genuinely inclusive of people who have been shut out of the system because of their cultural or other identities is the very beginning. None of us are free until we're all free and we have a long way to go. It’s heartening to see the Governor's office and various government agencies make progress in committing to lessening racial disparities. I look forward to a bold commitment from both GOP and DFLers to end them definitively and in unequivocal terms with at least the same fervor with which new stadiums are erected."

Dustin Goslin, Vice President of Hotel Operations, Grand Casino Mille Lacs
“Mr. Burroughs will bring a high level of talent and expertise to this important state role. He has demonstrated his ability to influence change through passion and credibility. I am confident that he will be able to drive results and build a state workforce that better represents the diversity of our state.”

Ruby Lee, President, Comunidades Latinas Unidas En Servico (CLUES)
“I am excited to work with Mr. Burroughs as he and other State officials lead outreach and inclusion efforts, so that the State workforce can better reflect Minnesota’s rich cultures and diversity.”

Terri Thao, Program Director, Nexus Community Partners
"I was honored to be part of this process selecting the state's new Chief Inclusion Officer. I look forward to seeing the state of Minnesota, under the lead of the Governor and now Mr. Burroughs, ensuring more equitable outcomes within the state and for the community."
 
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Office of the Governor & Lt. Governor, Communications Department
116 Veterans Service Building, 20 West 12th Street, St. Paul, MN 55155
T: 651-201-3400 | E: Dayton.Media@state.mn.us

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