ASHLAND, KY (WOWK) – Friday kicked off the ninth annual Tri-State Conference on Diversity and Inclusion at Ashland Community and Technical College.

The theme of this year’s conference is inclusive leadership in the 21st century. Organizers say they’re goal is to focus on the importance of inclusive leadership and creating an atmosphere where everyone feels welcome.

“What we’re hoping to get today is to let people know that they can be comfortable and who they are. I don’t have to be offended by who you are. You don’t need to be offended by who I am. We just need to learn to get along with each other and then learn to train our folks when they’re coming up to be able to work with anybody,” said Kevin Harrison, Senior Fellow of Cultural Diversity. “My hope is that when they leave this place, that they take a deep look at themselves and what they’re doing to help bridge the gap rather than creating a divide.”

The goal of the conference is to make a positive impact in the community, leaving people with new ideas to implement in their day-to-day lives.