In the wake of major social and political changes, many leading companies are now taking necessary steps to increase and improve diversity and inclusion within their workspace. The need for increased representation and support for all cultures and backgrounds is needed now more than ever and benefits both the people and the company.
Studies show that diverse teams (1):
- 33% more likely to generate better-than-average profits.
- 70% more likely to capture new markets.
- Generate 19% more revenue from innovation than companies with below-average leadership diversity.
But what about diversity and representation within the events industry? How can we as event professionals pave the way for consistent representation and diversity regarding speakers, suppliers, and discussion topics in the virtual and live events we produce?
Since the beginning, diversity and inclusion have always been integrated into our framework here at Innovate Marketing Group. As a proud Woman and Asian Owned business, we have widely supported diversity in all forms: race, age, gender, and many more.
From our internal and extended team, to the amazing vendors we partner with, to the events we produce, diversity has and will always be at the forefront. By creating an environment where all are included, we pave the way to allow for mutual success. We have seen some of our clients do this successfully as well over the years. The companies with the most success are top leadership buy-in. Make it part of their culture and deliverables and funnel that top-down. Do not just talk the talk, but walk the walk.
There is a various aspect of events where we can all apply diversity and inclusion: Speakers, Suppliers, and Event Topics. And by setting KPIs it will help to ensure it is carried out.
A great question to ask yourself when looking at a list of potential speakers or panel is: Do the individuals at the forefront or on stage reflect the broader community? As well, if you have an array of speakers, they should contrast one another. It is important that the stories and information your audience will hear reflects those from different backgrounds and communities.
Work this aspect into your company/event KPI. For example, out of 15 potential speakers, 5 will reflect diverse backgrounds (women, minority, LGBTQ+, veteran, etc).
Those at the forefront are not the only positions where diversity and representation should be discussed. The companies we hire for our events should reflect this as well. Whether it be an AV company, catering, or rentals, as an events agency, we can help the growth of companies owned by underrepresented groups.
Event Topics or Themes:
Hosting Diversity and Inclusion based events as well as mixing it up with different topics, will bring new potential speakers and new event attendees. Finding a balance between event topics is also important. For example, if you host a women empowerment event, for your next event perhaps focus on cultural diversity. It is smart to always follow up your events with another that reflects more of a balance.
This should also be worked into your company’s KPI. For example, Host 4 events around diversity and cultural inclusion this year. If you host an event surrounding a male wrestler’s story, for the next choose a topic that reflects a gender balance or focus on a female athlete.
Remember, when your attendees know your event is reaching to promote diversity and embrace a wide range of speakers, suppliers, and themes, it will greatly impact their engagement and receptiveness.
Alina Polonskaia and Mark Royal | December 10, et al. “How the Most Admired Companies Drive Diversity and Inclusion.” HRExecutive.com, 19 Dec. 2019, hrexecutive.com/how-the-worlds-most-admired-companies-drive-diversity-and-inclusion/.
Amanda Ma, CEO of Innovate Marketing Group, Inc. An experience agency based in Los Angeles, CA.