26th October 2022 ff15

BHM: Time for change, Action not words – Gabby Austen-Browne

Black History Month

  1. 1. Black History Month is all about ‘Time for change: Action not words’, what actions can companies take to ensure they are hiring a more diverse workforce, rather than just ticking a box?

The work really needs to start internally, by engaging in education and training at all levels of the business with a focus on truly understanding DEI concepts such as diversity, inclusion, equity, accessibility, systemic inequality, power, privilege and intersectionality. This knowledge and the ability to empower each other to recognise, discuss and problem-solve DEI issues in the workplace, will help cultivate an inclusive company culture.  An inclusive culture means we are more likely to concentrate on diversity and inclusion all year round and will help companies attract and retain all talent. But companies have to start by cleaning houses first!

  1. I have heard you talk about social sustainability and how it is just as important as environmental sustainability. What key actions should event organisations be taking to work on their social sustainability and ensuring they have a powerful collaboration between sustainability and DEI?

How much we care about and deliver on environmental and social sustainability, will have a direct impact on brand reputation, attracting and keeping talent, securing new business and maintaining client loyalty.  By structuring a strong partnership between DEI and sustainability we can design strategies that really and truly center around the diverse values and perspectives of employees, customers, and communities.  How businesses manage their impact on people directly correlates with how we manage the impact on the planet, by addressing issues such as diversity, pay equity, social justice, inequality in education, we are including a critical piece of the puzzle when it comes to sustainability, by supporting all communities to contribute to environmental sustainability efforts and become closer to reach UN’s 17 sustainable development goals.

  1. Earlier this month we celebrated World mental Health day. Mental health doesn’t discriminate based on race or background, however, background and identity can make access to tools and resources more difficult. What actions can event organisations take to ensure they are providing inclusive support to their employees but also delegates?

Mental health doesn’t discriminate on who it affects, but it does discriminate on how individuals from different backgrounds are treated.  I’m glad that mental health is now being more openly discussed, particularly around sharing our stories and experiences, it now feels easier to ask for and receive support in the workplace.  What organisations now need to do, is make sure they have a system in place and the type of workplace culture that supports everyone.

With inclusivity in mind, those from marginalised communities face an increased barrier when seeking and accessing mental health resources.

Inclusivity is about creating an environment and a way of being that allows everyone to be included in these activities or conversations.  If we get this right through implementing and modelling inclusive support mechanisms and behaviors in the workplace, we will hopefully  empower employees to model this in other environments, including when delivering events, so that we are better able to take care of not only ourselves, our teams and freelancers –  but also our delegates!

  1. How can the Diversity Alliance support organistaions with DEI?

We offer non-judgmental, industry specific, bespoke services that support and empower leaders and teams in the events and hospitality industries to cultivate diverse, inclusive, equitable and accessible workplaces and events. We do this through training, workshops, consultancy and events.  We also have the Diversity Alliance Accreditation, where companies go through a full company audit with education and training sessions whilst committing to a series of commitments aimed at removing inequality and barriers to progression in their organisation and the industry as a whole.  We share lots of resources in our newsletters and via our social media

TW: @DEIalliance  IG: @diversity_alliance,  via our YouTube Channel Diversity Alliance  and via our podcast Diversity Alliance Talks

  1. If you could give one key action on what the events industry can do to work together and make a change for the better, what would it be?

SHARE, SHARE, SHARE what you are doing with regards to DEI.

At the moment, I think organisations are nervous to share, either because they haven’t started on their EDI journey yet or they are unsure that what they are doing is enough.  Until we allow ourselves to be vulnerable, and ok with admitting we don’t have all the answers, we are going to find it hard to move forward at any pace. Sharing our challenges and testing what works is the way we can develop best practice and start having an impact.