Meeting Mentor Magazine

September 2020

ConferenceDirect Diversity Committee Releases 2 Empowering Updates

“How can we take a tragic situation such as the death of George Floyd and use it as a catalyst to enhance the culture at our company with focus on diversity, equality and inclusion?” That was the question ConferenceDirect Executive Vice President and Chief Talent Officer Brian Richey asked the members of the company’s new Diversity Committee earlier this year. While this is by far not a new issue for the company, it is one that is receiving renewed attention now and into the foreseeable future.

“I’m excited about the momentum of this initiative and have a personal passion for including and leveraging a diverse collaboration of voices within our organization,” said Lori Jenaire CMP, CDS, MBE, vice president of global accounts, ConferenceDirect and one of the committee members. “With this mission we hope to enrich the services we provide, recruit, promote and educate with the intention of inclusion, as well as create a more transformative understanding of our customer’s objectives.”

In addition to vowing to continue to hold events such as the IndustryInsights virtual half-day meeting delving into the issues related to diversity in the meetings industry held in August, ConferenceDirect will incorporate two of the committee’s early work products into the culture of the organization.

One is a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Statement that the company plans to post prominently on its website:

ConferenceDirect is committed to equitable inclusion and the value of diverse perspectives and experiences. We strive to be a welcoming and diverse organization for our community of Associates, employees, customers, and partners. We are a proud group of Associates and employees and want our community to be proud of working with ConferenceDirect. 

Our goal is to be a leader in equity initiatives within the greater hotel, travel, and meetings industry, and in this, we all have a role to play. At the industry level, we try to expand opportunities for underrepresented groups by advocating for awareness and positive change. At the organizational level, we aim to provide ongoing opportunities for learning and connection, and to cultivate a culture of mutual care, concern, and respect. We are committed to understanding the past and present lives of systemic injustice. We value the diverse array of viewpoints and backgrounds across lines of race, gender identify, class, nationality, sexuality, religion, veteran status, age, and political affiliation that make our community rich and dynamic. We will not tolerate racism, prejudice, and discrimination, and instead invite kindness, openness, and hospitality. At the individual level, we reflect on our own experiences and implicit biases, and have the hard conversations that allow us to better understand each other, even if we do not agree.

These commitments emerge out of our belief that inclusion and equity are not only morally right, they also enrich our organization and the services we provide. At ConferenceDirect, we thrive because of our diversity.

ConferenceDirect’s Diversity Committee on a recent Zoom call

The committee also already has developed an addition to the company’s Code of Conduct that all who work for the company will be required to sign. The updated Code includes a rejection of racism and discrimination. Specifically, it includes as unacceptable behaviors any harmful or prejudicial verbal or written comments or visual images related to race, gender identity, class, nationality, sexuality, religion, veteran status, and political affiliation, disability or ability status, or other personal characteristics.

“When I think of diversity I think of inclusion, I think of  every associate in CD as being part of one beautiful family,” said Amrita Nichols CMP, CMM,HMCC, vice president of global accounts, ConferenceDirect. “This inclusion leads us to a richness of ideas, creative power and respect for each other.  I believe with CD’s initiative of inclusion this can all be achieved.”

Richey emphasized that this is just the start of the company’s diversity, equity and inclusion efforts. “Our plan is to have a sustained self-governing body dedicated to diversity, equity and inclusion,” he said. “Our hoped-for outcome is that our Associates will be even more respectful and appreciative of our differences, we will be closer as a company, our culture will be welcoming and better than ever before, and our customers and partners will be proud of their association with ConferenceDirect.”

 

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About ConferenceDirect
ConferenceDirect is a global meetings solutions company offering site selection/contract negotiation, conference management, housing & registration services, mobile app technology and strategic meetings management solutions. It provides expertise to 4,400+ associations, corporations, and sporting authorities through our 400+ global associates. www.conferencedirect.com

About MeetingMentor
MeetingMentor, is a business journal for senior meeting planners that is distributed in print and digital editions to the clients, prospects, and associates of ConferenceDirect, which handles over 13,000 worldwide meetings, conventions, and incentives annually. www.meetingmentormag.com

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