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Diversity Ally: working to achieve diversity in the events industry

Ashanti Bentil-Dhue and Gabrielle Austen Browne have announced the launch of Diversity Ally, a consultancy and membership organisation to improve diversity in the events industry.

Here, they jointly write what has led them to launch the initiative

Following the tragic death of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter global protests, the events, MICE and hospitality community have recognised that we have an issue around the lack of diversity in our industry. It has become clear that there is not an organisation for the sector taking ownership of this issue. Diversity Ally has been founded by us, Ashanti Bentil-Dhue and Gabrielle Austen Browne, two experienced events professionals passionate about moving the diversity needle in events and creating inclusive workspaces.

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Diversity Ally is a consultancy service and membership organisation offering solutions to help businesses and organisations in the events, MICE and hospitality industry become more diverse and inclusive. Core services include supporting organisations to develop diversity and inclusivity (D&I) policies and facilitating bespoke workshops and training for leaders and employees around anti-racism, inclusivity and allyship.

The events and MICE industry is poised to be a model industry when it comes to demonstrating the multiple benefits of encouraging diversity and inclusion in terms of people, culture and image. We rely on teamwork, collaboration and human connection to keep the industry thriving and therefore these same values can be used to make the events industry a better place for us all. In order to achieve this, Diversity Ally has created industry-standard pledges which will enable a benchmarking of organisations which are striving to improve diversity and inclusion in the industry. Organisations who apply to become Diversity Ally approved are granted access to a resource hub and training materials specifically designed to help managers, directors, and HR departments to improve the quality of diversity and inclusion in their businesses.

A specialist recruitment and talent development service will be provided to MICE, hospitality and events organisations who are actively looking at ways to attract and retain diverse talent over the next three years. To celebrate and recognise the organisations and leaders committed to being diversity change makers and allies, the Diversity In Events Awards will be launched in 2021. The first of its kind in the industry, these awards will require applications from nominees to include tangible and specific examples of diversity and inclusion happening within organisations.

A dedicated Events Diversity Alliance Committee has been formed consisting of senior business leaders in the industry who want to stay informed about the work Diversity Ally is doing. Alliance committee members will meet on a quarterly basis and have agreed to share their learnings with their peers and act as champions for diversity within the industry.

Committee members:

  • Mark Riches - industry investor & advisor - Formally co-founder of global events agency FIRST
  • Ryan Curtis-Johnson - Head of PR & Marketing - DRPG
  • Caroline Jackson - BVEP vice-chair and AEME Executive Priya Narain - Co-founder - Event First Steps
  • Benedicta Asante - Venue sourcing specialist - American Express Global Business Travel
  • David Preston - CEO - Realise
  • Edward Poland - Co-founder - Hire space Felicity Cator - Head of EventLAB - HIre Space Miriam Sigler - Director - Ways & Means Events William Swannell - CEO - HIrespace
  • Peter Kerwood - Director - Elevate Mentoring / Peter Kerwood Marketing
  • Max Fellows- Co-founder- Elevate Mentoring

If you would like to find out how to join the membership or are interested in bespoke workshops or training, please contact us on Team@DiversityAlly.co.uk

Image: Getty