Keynote speaker announced for Springfield MLK luncheon

The city of Springfield has announced the keynote speaker of the Martin Luther King Jr. birthday celebration luncheon.

Stephen Francis, Esq., president and lead strategist of Franchise D&I Solutions, LLC, will provide the keynote address at the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Luncheon from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 17.

For nearly 35 years, Francis has worked as a public and private sector lawyer and diversity professional. He has also chaired and served on diversity boards, committees, advisory councils and task forces addressing diversity and inclusion.

Francis is also the co-founder and president of a diversity and inclusion best practice clearing house, Central Ohio Diversity Consortium, that enhances diversity and inclusion awareness while resolving and addressing issues.

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He recently worked with the city of Springfield addressing diversity. City Manager Bryan Heck thought he was admirable and would be a great addition to the luncheon, City of Springfield Minority Business Development Coordinator Cheryl DeGroat Dover, said.

The luncheon’s theme “Living the dream,” has the sub-theme of “What would King do?,” which was chosen by Francis.

Two local, historically disadvantaged businesses of the year will be honored.

“Those are basically minority and female businesses,” Dover said. “Those are historically disadvantaged businesses, so we have adopted that name for them.”

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Additionally, 12 high school students will be honored as peacemakers and one youth organization will be honored.

Refreshments will be provided by D. Sweets and entertainment by Par and Dean.

Tickets for the luncheon, which is held at the Clark State Hollenbeck Bayley Conference Center, 275 S. Limestone St. in Springfield, are $25. For more information or to purchase tickets, call the City of Springfield Community Development Department at 937-324-7380.

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