The coalition, comprised of leaders and executives from organizations such as ASAE, AWE, EIC, IAEE, IMEX, JMIC, MPI, PCMA and SITE, has formed behind a single common goal: eradicate sexual harassment within the events industry and in our workplaces.
Each of these groups have been addressing sexual harassment prevention separately and determined that this issue requires policies that span beyond the confines of each individual organization. In the wake of the #TimesUp and #MeToo movements, the coalition believes it is #StrongerTogether and that it is critical to take action now in order to create positive change and end sexual harassment, once and for all. Specifically, the coalition will identify tools and develop new resources to assist in educating the events industry about sexual harassment.
The individuals who have come forward to serve on the coalition’s task force are as follows:
- Susan Robertson, CAE, Executive Vice President, ASAE
- Bob Skelton, Chief Administration Officer, ASAE
- Kiki J. Fox, President & Co-Founder, AWE
- Carrie Abernathy, CMP, CEM, CSEP, Past-President & Co-Founder, AWE
- Johnnie White, MBA, CAE, CMP, Treasurer, AWE
- Julie Sullivan, CMP, CEM, CTA, Vice President, AWE
- Nicole Unger, CMP, Secretary, AWE
- Karen Kotowski, CAE, CMP, CEO, EIC
- Cathy Breden, CMP, CAE, COO, IAEE
- Carina Bauer, CEO, IMEX
- Rod Cameron, Executive Director, JMIC
- Amanda Armstrong, Chair, MPI
- Nicole Edmund, Vice President, Community, MPI
- Sherrif Karamat, CAE, President & CEO, PCMA
Carrie Abernathy, CMP, CEM, CSEP, past-president and co-founder of the Association for Women in Events (AWE), and Kiki J. Fox, president and co-founder of AWE, rallied these industry leaders to establish the coalition and then organized regular meetings to determine the group’s strategic direction. In addition, Fox has taken on the leadership role of managing the task force, organizing action items and driving the coalition’s initiatives. The group’s next step is to launch a webinar that introduces sexual harassment prevention subject matter experts in later this year.
“It's imperative that our organizations present a united front against sexual harassment in the industry. Together, we are declaring zero tolerance for behavior that harasses or discriminates," said Fox.
“MPI is committed to continuing to cultivate a safe, harassment-free environment for our members, staff and the broader MPI community. We must make every effort to prevent harassment of any kind within our global community and look forward to collaborating with the coalition on this very important initiative,” said Paul Van Deventer, president and CEO of Meeting Professionals International (MPI).
Since November 2017, MPI has proactively taken steps to demonstrate that it will not tolerate harassment in its global community and to educate members on how to prevent, report and respond to harassment – whether at an event organized by MPI Global, its chapters, or in the workplace. Actions taken include updating MPI’s Principles of Professionalism in January 2018 to include specific wording stating that MPI will not tolerate harassment of any kind; implementing annual non-harassment training for all staff, board members and chapter volunteer leaders; establishing a confidential, independently serviced harassment hotline for complaints to be raised and investigated; and addressing the issue and prevention advice in MPI’s The Meeting Professional magazine and blog posts.
All nine organizations involved in the new coalition will be posting more details of upcoming education and initiatives around this subject to their respective website homepages. The coalition encourages the events industry to follow along and participate.