May 1, 2015 (MINNEAPOLIS) City of Minneapolis’ Department of Civil Rights Director Velma Korbel has been chosen to receive a Communication and Leadership Award from the District 6 Toastmasters. Korbel will be honored on May 2 for her support of the Toastmasters program and her service and leadership in the community.
Toastmasters International is a nonprofit organization that offers its members the opportunity to develop communication and leadership skills through public speaking. As one of the founders of Urban Scholars, the City’s leadership development summer internship program, Korbel insisted that the leadership development program have a public speaking component and promoted the Toastmasters program as part of Urban Scholars.
Before becoming the director of Civil Rights, Korbel served as commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Human Rights for seven years. The Minnesota Department of Human Rights is the state agency responsible for enforcing the Minnesota Human Rights Act. The Minnesota Human Rights Act prohibits discrimination in housing, employment, public accommodations, public service, education, business and credit on several bases including race, color, creed, national origin, sex, disability, religion and sexual orientation.
Korbel is widely known and respected for her work in the equal opportunity community. Before her appointment as commissioner, she served as director of Diversity & Equal Opportunity for the Metropolitan Council, a regional environmental, transportation and planning agency located in Saint Paul. Korbel is also a veteran of the U.S. Navy, where she served for six years.
Korbel has also been honored with an Enlightening Leadership Award from the District 6 Toastmasters. District 6 Toastmasters is composed of more than 280 clubs throughout Minnesota and a portion of Ontario.