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Gaston County Names First Equity and Inclusion Officer

GASTONIA, N.C. – Gaston County is pleased to announce that Pearl Burris-Floyd has been named as the County’s first Equity and Inclusion Officer.

Burris-Floyd is a lifelong resident of Gaston County and has served on the Gaston County Board of Commissioners as well as in the North Carolina General Assembly. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology from UNC-Chapel Hill and a Master’s Degree in Healthcare Administration from Pfeiffer University. She is also a certified diversity facilitator.

“I am excited for this opportunity,” Burris-Floyd said. “I love Gaston County and anything I can do to make it a better place is important work that is critical to our continued success.”

Burris-Floyd’s role as Equity and Inclusion Officer will be to serve as a catalyst to leverage best practices and resources within Gaston County government and the broader community. More specifically, she’ll work to build upon ongoing work to foster an even stronger culture of inclusion where individuals from all racial and ethnic identities, ages, nationalities, social and economic status, sexual orientation, religious, political and ideological perspectives, and physical and mental abilities are able to thrive, be engaged, and excel. She will provide leadership for strategic initiatives, programs, and policies that ensure a diverse and inclusive workforce and workplace and equitable community services.

Board of Commissioners Chairman Tracy Philbeck said, “the County is committed to examining County policies, procedures and practices to ensure we are providing equitable access to employment and to programs and services for all of the citizens of Gaston County. We want every aspect of the County to be inclusive. Pearl’s background, experience, and commitment to our county make her uniquely qualified for this role.”

Burris-Floyd will lead the development of an equity and resiliency strategy for Gaston County. This six-to-nine-month process will bring together a wide variety of stakeholders to conduct a comprehensive analysis of existing plans, accomplishments, challenges and opportunities as well as an action plan for implementation.

“It’s hard to examine yourself through someone else’s lens,” said County Manager Dr. Kim Eagle. “We are counting on Pearl to do that for us and help us identify opportunities to develop and apply appropriate equity and empowerment lenses to improve planning, decision-making, and resource allocation.”

Burris-Floyd will begin in this new role on August 24.