Hári Sewell, Director, HS Consultancy, comments: “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is often referred to as an industry, conjuring ideas of people working on data and/or initiatives. For DEI to be effective there needs to be a goal of transformation. Otto Scharmer (2018) in The Essentials of Theory U quoted Bill O’Brien the late CEO of Hanover Insurance - ‘The success of an intervention depends on the interior conditions of the intervener.' “It is useful to start in leadership teams and organisations by clarifying the underpinning paradigm to the work. What is the emphasis given to different explanations of inequalities, e.g. individualised, i.e. that employees and managers make biased decisions or structural, i.e. critiques that argue that inequalities are inevitable because even the approaches and frameworks being relied upon have inbuilt biases. Problem solving theories usually suggest starting with defining the problem. DEI is no different.” It is evident from this study, along with other research, that existing practices need to be enhanced to build a sustainable DEI experience for event professionals across the industry. The study data on ethnic and gender inclusivity provides a convincing insight into how representation of gender alone is not an assurance of cultural change. The language of initiatives and projects on DEI potentially contributes to a notion of DEI being partial and temporary. Sustainable DEI change is essentially about dismantling systems and processes that maintain the status quo. Add-ons are insufficient. This is a potential challenge and if the DEI experience continues to be the same, it is an indicator of the key messages from this study. To support this transformation journey, potential actions have been proposed separately to the Events Industry Council to review as planning for Phase 2 interventions commence.
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