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What Makes the Association D+I Environment Unique?

In short, relationships.

Most of the focus on diversity and inclusion in the for-profit world is on staff and, to a lesser degree, boards of directors (which, of course, only some for-profit companies have).

The association operating environment is much more multi-layered.

Of course, we also have staff teams and boards of directors. But associations have very different relationships with our boards than for-profit companies do. Although our members are also our customers, the membership relationship is vastly more complex than the consumer relationship. We also have relationships with – and responsibilities to – the professions and industries we serve for which there is no parallel in the for-profit world.

The case studies in Include Is a Verb: Moving from Talk to Action on Diversity and Inclusion clearly illustrate the challenges inherent in and opportunities granted by our unique operating environment:

  • The Association for Women in Science has successfully navigated the transition from a largely homogenous board of directors to one that is truly inclusive, while also avoiding the trap of tokenism.
  • The Entomological Society of America has created a strong code of conduct for their events that not only aims to reduce instances of harassment at events but also provides a concrete action plan for dealing with them appropriately when they do occur.
  • The Geological Society of America has responded creatively to the dual imperatives to recruit more people into the field and to increase the diversity of those recruits.

To download your free copy of  Include Is a Verb: Moving from Talk to Action on Diversity and Inclusion, visit http://bit.ly/2peWwP0, no divulging of information about yourself required.

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About Elizabeth Weaver Engel, CAE

Elizabeth Weaver Engel, M.A., CAE, is CEO and Chief Strategist at Spark Consulting LLC. Elizabeth has over 19 years of experience helping associations grow, in membership, marketing, communications, public presence, and especially revenue, which is what Spark is all about. She speaks and writes frequently on a variety of topics in association management. When she's not helping associations grow, Elizabeth loves to dance, listen to live music, cook, garden, and blog about the Philadelphia Eagles.
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