What does DEI mean to the HBAA?
We work in a wonderfully diverse industry that welcomes talented people regardless of their background and beliefs and having a formal label – DEI – helps us provide a framework to encourage expansion of ethical and inclusive behaviors as best practice.
Why is DEI relevant?
In order to flourish and remain relevant to our members, we recognize the need to promote an inclusive approach to business and relationships. This also supports the corporate sector for whom ethical business practices are key when choosing to work with service providers and suppliers.
What policies do you have for your members and how do you encourage them to adopt them?
We have a specific document – the association’s Terms of Ethics which highlights our statement on DEI which is
“ We are a diverse association which opposes discrimination, inequality, and injustice and we are proud to represent and promote equal opportunities and equality for all.”
Every member of HBAA signs up to our Terms of Ethics as a condition of membership and they can display our Terms of Ethics logo on their websites, emails and when responding to tenders.
What actions are you taking to advance DEI practices in HBAA and your members?
The Association’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) Board lead and support on all aspects of our Terms of Ethics. The DEI board are currently working on developing guiding principles, a buddying system to welcome new members which will include promoting our DEI policies, and they are also reviewing our upcoming events to ensure consistency in our DEI approach and values.
As part of our HBAA procurement policy, we also insist on seeing our potential suppliers and sponsors own DEI policies to ensure they have one in place, and that it dovetails with our own.
What are the greatest challenges that you face?
We constantly ‘think DEI’ when looking at content, whether that be social media posts, event content and speakers, or imagery for our website. One challenge is getting everyone else to do the same. The other challenge is a lack of visible diversity in our current senior leaders across the industry which doesn’t necessarily encourage others from different backgrounds to pursue a career in within the sector, so we’re at a sort of crunch point where somehow we need to make our sector attractive to a wider range of talent, and that’s a real opportunity.
What are your greatest successes so far?
Seeing our members willingly adopt our Terms of Ethics, and displaying the logo, and of course setting up the DEI Board from so many enthusiastic and passionate volunteers who wanted to get involved.
What is the future for DEI? How do we keep the momentum going?
A collaborative approach by the whole industry is needed to demonstrate that as a sector, we are aware, we are welcoming, and that we have ethical working practices in place to support DEI. Being part of BVEP’s current activity and engagement in this area is a great place to start, and we know there are like-minded partners out there to support each other and who want to work together to raise awareness and make a difference.
Will we ever be in a position where DEI initiatives are no longer necessary?
Along with sustainability, there is a strong appetite from our next gen to get to a point where it’s less about initiatives and more about everyday practice. We are all on that journey and it’s great to know that our future leaders will drive this forward, supported by so many of us who are committed to change.