Editor’s Note: Making It Right

By / Apr 20, 2020

Rethinking an illustration approach with diversity in mind.

If you’re a regular reader of Associations Now, you may notice something different in this issue’s Leadership section. The executives who appear in the “CEO to CEO” feature look more like themselves—and to be perfectly candid, we’ve been doing it wrong for a long time.

In “CEO to CEO,” we ask a question about association management or leadership or maintaining a balanced life while serving in a high-pressure role, and four CEOs share their answers. On page 22, you’ll see those answers accompanied by a headshot. This replaces our longtime practice of using illustration, in which the artist converted a photo to a largely monotone line drawing. While the technique is interesting visually and gave the feature a unified look, we had one glaring blind spot where these images were concerned: This style of illustration, which removes most color from the headshots, makes everyone look very much the same. To be blunt about it, it makes everyone, essentially, white.

We write a lot about the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion in Associations Now, and it’s a value that ASAE fully embraces and works hard to uphold. The illustrations in “CEO to CEO” were inconsistent with that, and I’m sorry that it took a member’s legitimate complaint to open my eyes to what’s now perfectly obvious to me.

It was a message we needed to hear, and I apologize for the mistake.

Representation matters. It’s a good thing that we were called out, so we could make a necessary change that ensures better representation in these pages of all members of ASAE’s dynamic and diverse community.

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