A leading international meetings planners’ association is aiming to have 100 signatures to its pledge to create more inclusive workplaces and events by the end of May, it was revealed today.

More than 50 senior executives have made the commitment since the pledge was unveiled last week at IMEX in Frankfurt by PCMA (Professional Convention Management Association).

The Ascent CEO Promise is an initiative by PCMA-Convene to promote inclusion and diversity across the business events industry.

“The momentum tells us that industry leaders understand that there is work to do, and that they’re ready to do it,’’ PCMA President and CEO Sherrif Karamat said. “Greater inclusion will foster new voices to strengthen our leadership, our businesses, and our world.’’

Ascent seeks to empower those “challenged by gender, sexual origination, race, ethnicity or disabilities to find success in the industry”. And Ascent strives to motivate and educate decision-makers on the business case and best practices for inclusive workplaces and events.

Those who sign the CEO Promise commit to three initial goals:

  1. We will make our workplaces and events open and trusting settings.
  2. We will provide education on barriers to inclusivity, including unconscious bias.
  3. We will share what we know, what we learn and what needs improvement.

An Ascent Studio at PCMA’s Education Conference, 10-13 June 2018 in Cleveland in the US, will provide two full days of sessions around inclusion and diversity topics. Attendees can participate in sessions such as Remove Implicit Bias to Improve Interactions, Beyond Professionalism: Channelling Vulnerability and more.

To help CEOs fulfil their promise to provide workplace education, PCMA-Convene is developing a series of webinars around unconscious bias that can be used in the workplace. Additional resources will be: Education — News and information, best practices, quizzes, video, webinars and face-to-face events; Tools — Training, mentoring, coaching, a curated archive of diverse speakers; and Inspiration — Special stories of challenge and triumph.

Among those who have signed the pledge include: Tom Norwalk, President & CEO, Visit Seattle; Isabel Bardinet, CEO European Society of Cardiology; David Peckinpaugh, President, Maritz Global Events; Craig Davis President and CEO, VisitPITTSBURGH and many more. The complete list is available here.

“In the next few months, we will be introducing ways to track our progress,’’ Karamat said. “Greater inclusion will foster new voices to strengthen our leadership, our businesses, and our world. By working together, we will cultivate meaningful social change.’’