Founder, DePorteous Consulting; interim executive director, Stonewall Columbus; CEO, Pride Fund 1
About: Densil Porteous continues to show up in places and spaces that are not traditionally welcoming or inclusive—he fights to ensure that all are included. The Jamaica native moved to Columbus in 2012 and began looking for ways to make a difference in his new home. He’s now advancing the region’s LGBTQ advocacy organization and leading a trailblazing venture capital fund for LGBTQ entrepreneurs. Porteous is former director, marketing communications and outreach at Wexner Center for the Arts and former assistant vice president at Columbus College of Art & Design.
How do we engage and encourage a more diverse representation of our city and its leaders? We uplift and support a more diverse group than those elected.
Outside of work: Porteous is chair of the Create Columbus Commission; board member for the Legacy Fund of the Columbus Foundation; Columbus Civilian Review Board Working Group member; Human Rights Campaign board of directors.
What does Columbus need to thrive? Columbus needs to be intentionally inclusive. As our region continues to grow, we also see the diversity of the population expanding. We have a salad of nationalities, socioeconomic backgrounds, cultural identities, community affiliations, religious beliefs, sexual identities, educational experiences…the parts of the salad mix are numerous. In order for us to be a community that grows together we must think of and create systems that allow a variety of individuals to feel and be included in our community happenings.
Porteous’ idea: Who speaks for US? We speak for US! As a city we must accept that we are more diverse than those elected currently representing us—society will always be more diverse than the body elected to represent it because only a select few raise their hands for that opportunity. How do we engage and encourage a more diverse representation of our city and its leaders? We uplift and support a more diverse group than those elected. The creation of a citywide speakers/experts bureau can allow a broader group of people to be noted as experts who can speak on a variety of topics. Colleges and universities employ a similar system.