Gov. Walz taps new inclusion officer to lead diversity efforts

Submitted photo Chris Taylor

It’s official: Minnesota’s new chief inclusion officer is Chris Taylor. The former chief inclusion officer for the Minnesota Historical Society (MHS) has now been tapped by Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan to fill the position at the State level.

Walz announced Taylor’s hiring late last month.

“Chris demonstrates a deep commitment to supporting diversity and equity in everything he does,” said Gov. Walz in a statement. “The Lieutenant Governor and I could not ask for a better partner…to make sure our institutions across the state look like and support the people we are working for.”

 In his new role, Taylor will provide oversight for the One Minnesota Council on Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity, which Gov. Walz established with his first executive order. Taylor’s responsibilities include helping to advance the administration’s work of creating equitable policies and programs. He is also charged with helping increase the number of people of color and disabled employees and appointments, along with diversifying government contracts and improving employee retention.

“We are fortunate to live in a state that affords us the opportunity to learn from so many cultures,” said Taylor in a statement. “I’m looking forward to building cohesion across differences and recognizing and honoring the rich mix of cultures that makes Minnesota unique.”

Taylor steps into the position held by former CIO James C. Burroughs II during former governor Mark Dayton’s tenure. Taylor brings nearly 14 years of experience as a chief inclusion officer for the MHS, where he recruited and helped retain a more diverse workforce and facilitated an inclusive organizational culture. Through his work at the MHS, he co-created the Heritage Studies and Public History program, in partnership with the University of Minnesota.

He is also an independent nonprofit consultant with a focus on strategic planning, intercultural competency training, and building inclusive leadership.

“In his career, Chris has honed the skills and vision needed to help shift Minnesota government to an ever more inclusive and equitable place, and now is the right time for this to happen,” said Minnesota Department of Human Rights Commissioner Rebecca Lucero. “Minnesota is changing rapidly. We’re getting older and we’re getting more racially diverse, so we know we have to do things differently. Chris will support the work of agencies across Minnesota to shift our workplace culture in a powerful way.”

Taylor is set to begin his new position on Monday, May 6.

Stay tuned for an in-depth profile on Taylor and what he looks forward to accomplishing as Minnesota’s chief inclusion officer.