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Burns & McDonnell Names Harden as First DEI Strategy Manager

KANSAS CITY, Missouri — Burns & McDonnell has promoted Leon Harden as the firm’s first diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) strategy manager. After three years working in recruitment at Burns & McDonnell, in his new role Harden will work closely with executive leaders and business diversity teams globally to provide strategic guidance for creating and integrating DEI initiatives and programs into all aspects of the 100% employee-owned engineering, construction and architecture firm.



“Leon has a deep understanding of our employee ownership culture and how to foster a welcoming environment for all,” says Renita Mollman, chief administrative officer and senior vice president of Burns & McDonnell. “His leadership and strategic vision will help advance our firm’s efforts to the next level as we continue to seek more opportunities to create a diverse and inclusive workplace.”

With 15 years of experience in global talent acquisition and talent demand planning, Harden has led teams of recruiters at firms with a focus on expanding global diversity and inclusion recruitment efforts. Harden’s robust resume includes restructuring goal-setting and performance evaluation processes, arming senior executive leaders with actionable recruiting data and creating initiatives to prioritize the recruitment of women leaders. In his new role as DEI strategy manager, Harden will serve as an internal consultant to broaden DEI strategies on a global scale, develop organizationwide communication and accountability plans, and facilitate education and training programs such as unconscious bias training and leadership programs. Harden will also partner with members of the firm’s Diversity Advisory Committee in leading initiatives to celebrate, educate and showcase the company’s diverse workforce.

“I am incredibly passionate about this work and for the opportunity to continue building a space where all our employee-owners will have the same opportunity to thrive,” Harden says. “I’m honored to advocate for the next steps we’re taking as a company in building best-in-class programs that serve our clients, fit the needs of our business and provide our employee-owners with more resources.”

Harden currently serves on the board of directors of the Mid-America LGBT Chamber of Commerce, an organization that advocates, promotes and facilitates the success of the LGBT business community and its allies through the guiding principles of equality, inclusion, economics and education. As director of policy and advocacy, Harden steers direction of the group’s public policy platform to bring awareness to issues such as nondiscrimination legislation protecting LGBTQ employees and citizens, access to culturally competent healthcare and family benefits for LGBTQ families. In 2020, he helped organize the chamber’s Transgender Day of Visibility, a virtual webinar with sessions and panels covering topics including financial planning, emotional and mental health needs of trans and nonbinary people, as well as how to support trans and nonbinary youth. Harden is also a former member of the Colorado Diversity and Inclusion Think Tank (CDIT2), a team of executives challenged to develop measurable strategies for enhancing diversity and inclusion in the workplace.


About Burns & McDonnell

Burns & McDonnell is a family of companies bringing together an unmatched team of 7,600 engineers, construction professionals, architects, planners, technologists and scientists to design and build our critical infrastructure. With an integrated construction and design mindset, we offer full-service capabilities with more than 60 offices globally. Founded in 1898, Burns & McDonnell is 100% employee-owned and proud to be on Fortune’s list of 100 Best Companies to Work For. Learn how we are designed to build.

About the Chamber

The Mid-America LGBT Chamber of Commerce is a proud affiliate of the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce and exists to advocate, promote, and facilitate the success of the LGBT business community and their allies through the guiding principles of equality, inclusion, economics, and education. Through membership, networking, and professional development programming, the Chamber seeks to foster a more inclusive and vibrant economy in Kansas City and the surrounding region.

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Contact Information

For all general and media inquiries, please contact the office of the Executive Director of the Mid-America LGBT Chamber of Commerce.

Suzanne Wheeler (She/Her/Hers)

Suzanne Wheeler
Executive Director

Call:   (816) 474-3558
Mail:   P.O. Box 5961, Kansas City, Missouri 65171

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