A short guide to diversity and inclusion in events

2 mins

How to plan and host inclusive and diverse events

The business events industry is renowned for being open and embracing – it’s one of the many reasons we all enjoy working in this sector. But there’s always more we can do. Championing inclusive values is more important than ever.

Now for a quick refresher on what equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) means.

Equity is an approach that ensures everyone has access to the same opportunities. Equity recognizes that advantages and barriers exist and commits to correct and address the imbalance.

Diversity is the presence of different identities within a group, for instance, age, gender, ethnicity, religion, nationality, or sexual orientation.

Inclusion is about people with different identities being valued and welcomed within a given setting.

Here's a quick guide to implementing diversity, equity, and inclusion.

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Inclusion is a driving factor of change in an organization.

It represents additional value for employees and can be used as a strategic advantage. When inclusion is the behavior, diversity is the result!

The advantages of a diverse workforce

There’s substantial research to show that diversity brings many advantages to an organization such as increased profitability and creativity, stronger governance and better problem-solving abilities. Employees with diverse backgrounds bring their fresh perspectives, ideas and experiences to work. They help to create organizations that outperform those that don’t invest in diversity - more diverse management teams have 19% higher revenues due to an elevated “innovation culture”.

Audience member at IMEX

Authenticity is the key to trust

Trust doesn’t happen overnight so you need to put the work in to “partner with authenticity”. When you understand and recognize the value a group can bring to your organization, they’ll see the value in your partnership, particularly the job opportunities and economic growth you can bring to their community. This relationship needs to be mutually beneficial and constant – not something you can dip in and out of!

Raised hands at Executive meeting forum

Being an ally 

We need to get familiar with the idea of allyship: when an individual outside of a community supports their fight for equality and rights. This is a mindset shift from issues belonging to “them”, to belonging to all of us.

Leverage your power as a leader

Use your position of privilege to raise others. Jacinta Nzioka, National Coordinator & CEO, Kenya National Convention Bureau, explains how the Kenya Association of Women in Tourism was founded to encourage women, especially young women in the tourism industry. It supports female empowerment and visibility in the tourism sector, while also providing concrete working options, internships and mentorships.

Handshake at IMEX Frankfurt

EDI extends beyond your team

Gabrielle Austen-Browne, Founder, Diversity Ally encourages organizations to diversify their supply chains and support diverse businesses. “It may be tempting to gravitate towards tried and tested or well-known suppliers, particularly in this time of uncertainty, but taking a fresh look at the supply chain can spread the risk and provide more choice.”

Diverse businesses are those managed, owned, or employ minority groups including women, people of color, people with disabilities, youth, visibly mature workers and those who are part of the LGBTQ community. Ashanti Bentil-Dhue, Founder & Trainer, Diversity Ally, explains, “As event planners, you have a sphere of influence – use this, and embrace the opportunity to promote diversity aims and objectives within your business.”

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About the author

Charley Murfitt is IMEX's Content Producer. She is a proud advocate for equity, diversity and inclusion, sustainability and the circular economy.

Charley Murfitt

Content Producer