Before you invest your time and money, make sure the event you’re interested in is a win.
Perhaps you’re an ally looking to educate yourself more on specific issues of diversity, equity, or inclusion (DE&I). Or maybe you’re part of an underrepresented group wanting to attend an event that covers issues your group faces. Every day, more and more events are being created surrounding topics on DE&I, including events for the LGBTQ+ community, disability equity, women in leadership, and more.
DE&I events should be on everyone’s agenda, as they’re important to help you learn from experts, connect with like-minded people, and educate yourself on industry trends. DE&I events are also great for sparking inspiration for team members at every level, or for anyone interested in learning more about how to be inclusive in the workplace and for those looking for great resources on DE&I success.
Before you commit your time and money though, you’ll want to ensure that the DE&I event you plan on attending, whether virtual or in person, is right for you. Whether you’re a manager or an employee, think about your goal and choose a DE&I event that aligns most closely to your goal.
Is your objective to become more informed on DE&I in general? If so, events with broad agendas covering a wide variety of topics may be of most interest. However, if you have specific objectives or are looking for concrete takeaways that you can implement in your own organization, you will want to look for more specialized events or workshops.
For example, if you are in human resources and looking for guidance on establishing a structure for employee resource groups (ERGs), you’ll want an event that includes practical workshops as well as success stories to inform your efforts. If you are a marketer looking to invest advertising dollars in Black or woman-owned businesses, the right event helps you learn how to best support diverse businesses with your advertising budget.
Here, we include three major things to consider when looking for DE&I events, and provide a few recommendations on events we’ve vetted.
When looking at DE&I events, it’s important to look at who the event is aimed at. Is this event or conference organized for a specific underrepresented group, such as the LGBTQ+ community, Asian people, or women, for example? Knowing this type of information will help you decide if an event is right for you. Don’t forget, you can always participate in DE&I events as an ally as well, where you’d be listening and learning via the group’s discussion. Another important element of audience, especially for workplace-oriented events, is the work function and staff level served by an event. You’ll want a good match with your job to get the most out of the event.
Aside from looking at what audience the event is targeting, try to find events specifically targeted towards your goal. If you’re really wanting to learn how to recognize and address microaggressions in the workplace, try to find an agenda that covers that, rather than broader DE&I topics that won’t go into detail about your goal. If you’re a manager looking for an event for employees, inform employees of the company’s DE&I goal, or your goal for them with the event so they can fully understand and embrace the event’s importance. If employees know the goal, they will understand the event’s impact and hopefully embrace it while learning, especially if the event covers areas where your company has fallen short in DE&I. Informing them as to why they’re participating in the event helps support change and allows employees to contribute toward the end goal.
One of the most important things to look at with DE&I events is how diverse the event itself is. Are the event language and visuals inclusive of the audience and the content? For example, do you want to participate in an event on women in leadership that’s led by a panel of men? Absolutely not. Make sure the events you’re choosing to attend have a diverse roster of speakers. If the event is BIPOC-centric, then the speakers need to reflect that. Even when the focus is less on a particular group of people and more about a specific industry, like pharmaceutical sales or technology, you’d still want a diverse lineup of panelists and speakers, with underrepresented people making up part of the speaking team. You can even take it a step further and make sure that the event supports minority-owned businesses for the event-planning phase, including catering, printing, and staffing.
When considering an in-person event, which usually come with an increased commitment of travel time and cost to attend, make sure that the event’s venue takes accessibility needs into consideration. Look for venues with elevator access and accessible entrances for wheelchairs.
Events We Like
Below are some events that we’ve approved that offer great DE&I aspects.
With a diverse group of moderators and speakers from major international companies, this conference covers many DE&I topics, with a focus on professional development and workplace improvement. Sessions, workshops, and training courses cover topics such as inclusive leadership, allyship, intersectionality, disability, bias, and social justice.
This virtual conference from the Human Capital Institute features a diverse list of speakers striving to educate companies on building a more inclusive and diverse workforce. Workshops here include discussions on removing bias in the hiring process, building a diverse workforce, and attracting and hiring neurodiverse candidates.
As one of the best-known conferences for women in tech, the Grace Hopper Celebration includes a diverse panel of speakers representing numerous companies and organizations across the world. Keynote presentations, networking, collaborative proposals, and mentoring all take place here, where women in tech from around the world learn and celebrate their achievements. More than 30,000 people attended the virtual 2020 event, with participants spanning across 115 countries.
As our own BlogHer production, this event celebrates the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women, and includes a diverse list of speakers including activists, actresses, business owners, executives, and more. Past event conversations have included topics such as how to fund your small business, how to empower women in the workplace, how to optimize your marketing efforts, and knowing the importance of your worth.
The Conference Board, a nonprofit business and research group with more than 1,000 organizations and corporations as members, hosts this conference as a platform for extraordinary practitioners to share their insights and discuss race, allyship, disability, women’s health, social justice, neurodiversity, and other topics that help create inclusive workplaces. Topics include DE&I and analytics, creating a psychologically safe workplace, intersectionality, and more.
The Inclusive Future content on BlogHer is sponsored by Philip Morris International (PMI). BlogHer has independent editorial responsibility for the content. The views expressed by the authors and contributors may not represent the views of PMI except for those quotes directly attributed to PMI executives.