Racial inequality has become a central topic of discussion among meeting professionals in the wake of George Floyd's death in late May. Since then, numerous webinars and panels on how to improve event diversity and support Black colleagues have taken place. In an effort to hold organizations accountable and ensure real change occurs, a group of meeting professionals have banded together to create a new council dedicated to improving diversity in the industry.
The National Events Council, which was launched last week, aims to provide advocacy, research and support for event professionals in the Black, Indigenous and people-of-color communities.
"The lack of racial diversity in the event industry is something that has been tiptoed around [but is] blatantly visible when lists of the most influential people in our industry are all white," notes the organization in its mission statement. "We are committed to ensuring the BIPOC community has an equal playing field. The National Events Council's aim is to reduce invisible minority groups from being left unseen for opportunities they are qualified for."
The council plans to create an Event Index Score that will rate corporations that host multiple events on their diversity initiatives. In addition, the council is urging meeting organizations to take a pledge stating that:
- At least 20 percent of the event professionals hired for any upcoming meetings will be BIPOC;
- At least 20 percent of all business owners featured in their publications and media outlets will be diverse; and
- At least 20 percent of all social media and marketing materials will include BIPOC.
"The National Events Council took it upon itself to be the voice of BIPOC event professionals who are exhausted by how racism plagues the event industry," said Andrew Roby, owner of Andrew Roby Events and the cofounder and CEO of the National Events Council. "[We hope to] close the racial wealth gap by creating opportunities for BIPOC event professionals and gig workers to receive lucrative opportunities [currently] dominated by white event professionals."