Wednesday Buzz: Thinking About Diversity

A meetings industry professional offers some thought-provoking insight on the challenges the event sector faces with diversity. Also: What tough questions should you be asking internally?

Can the meetings industry do better on the diversity front—and how does the industry as a whole highlight that diversity?

That’s a thought-provoking question raised by Executive Oasis International’s Anne Thornley-Brown, who notes in a blog post for Plan Your Meetings that racial diversity in particular is still a big challenge in the industry—something she argues has shown itself in recent lists highlighting top people in the events industry. Between the 85 people in the two lists, she says, just one is African-American.

While gender diversity is somewhat better, it doesn’t reflect at higher levels organizations, she says.

“Why does this happen? Perhaps I am naïve, but I refuse to believe that it is intentional or malicious. I think it comes down to a lack of awareness and not doing one’s homework,” Thornley-Brown writes.

Without pointing fingers too directly, she attempts to make clear that such lists can have an impact on a person’s job prospects—and that diversity has a role in all parts of the industry.

When there are business opportunities, if you’re never mentioned, people are likely to forget you. Mentions on lists of influential professionals can give someone a leg up during job searches. The consequence of being overlooked is that members of visible minority groups in our industry have to fight like hell for each and every opportunity. (That’s strong language coming from me as I usually don’t use strong language.)

It is a difficult discussion to bring up but is worth following in the weeks and months to come. Check out Thornley-Brown’s post for more of her insights.

Don’t Fear the Tough Questions

Like any association or nonprofit, there are some lingering questions that every cultural organization has to deal with, and they can be existential in nature. (Think, “What do people really value about our organization?”)

Colleen Dilenschneider, the chief market engagement officer at IMPACTS Research & Development, tackles those tough questions in her latest post on Know Your Own Bone.

“The world is changing and we need to change, too. We need to get smarter about everything that we are doing and I think that the best place to start is taking a look at the questions that we are asking,” she writes.

Check out her post to see how she suggests you tackle those big questions.

Other Links of Note

Should millennials stop focusing on themselves? Inc. Contributor Geoffrey James calls it the worst habit that young adults have. Agree? Disagree?

Interesting tool of the day: Freewrite is a web app that encourages you to write what’s on your mind, no judgment. It doesn’t save the words, just the word count—and as a result, it’s a great way to never stop writing.

Know how political candidates have surrogates to spread talking points on TV and radio? At Kivi’s Nonprofit Marketing Blog, Branding Expert Nancy Schwartz recommends doing something similar for your marketing strategy—except with your staff members.


Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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