Hannah Jardine, (Group Business Manager, Ignition and ESSA Board Member) is chairing the new ESSA Diversity and Inclusivity Working Group, set up to support members on their diversity journey.

The working group is made up of members who are passionate about diversity and who want to make a difference. The overall aim of the group is for the industry as a whole to understand the benefits of diversity, to nurture the right perspectives, and to provide the tools to achieve goals.

Why ESSA Launched the Group

Statistics show that the more diverse a company is, the higher the performance and revenue. More diverse management teams have 19% higher revenues due to innovation, and companies with strong gender and ethnic diversity are 15% and 35% respectively more likely to outperform their competitors (Boston Consulting Group and McKinsey and Company).

Continuous development is core to ESSA’s purpose and ESSA wants to spearhead change in the events industry and to encourage companies to benefit from diversity and inclusion.

The focus for the Board this year is on several key themes, one of which is ‘We enable members to do it better’. Membership covers a range of companies in the events industry and each company is at a different point in its diversity journey. To gain insight into where people are on their journey, to determine what issues the industry is experiencing as a whole, and to set objectives to make a difference, ESSA set up the Diversity and Inclusivity working group.

Hannah put herself forward to chair this group as diversity is something that both Hannah and Ignition are very passionate about.

Objectives of the Group

The group held its opening meeting in January and continues to meet monthly. In the opening meetings initial thoughts and possible goals were discussed which included:

  • Acknowledging that a change of thinking in the industry is required. Education on diversity and inclusivity would be an initial step. This would start with senior management, to allow it to be filtered down and to be championed. ESSA looks to work on an effective campaign to introduce this.
  • ESSA will look to create tools for members to assist them on their journey, including training, workshops, toolbox talks, and policy guidance.
  • The topic of recruitment is planned to be addressed, with the aim of giving guidance on how to encourage diverse groups to apply for roles and how and where to advertise vacancies.
  • Education is planned to be given to younger generations, who have not yet decided on their career path, to promote the industry and encourage diversity.

Benefits to Members

As a result of the pandemic, the current focus of the industry is one of survival. The group wants to take this opportunity to make diversity part of the industry’s recovery plan and to allow members to ‘Survive and Thrive’.

Members will be given the opportunity, through the outputs of the working group, to achieve results and to create impact.

The plan from the initial Group meetings is that members will have a road map available to them to offer options and guidance to advocacy. Access to training courses is planned to be offered as well as the provision of tools to assist members to achieve their goals, covering topics from recruitment all the way through to diversifying suppliers.

Ignition is proud to be supporting ESSA’s endeavors, empowered through the working group. We are passionate about diversity, with it forming an important part of our sustainability ethos. We are ISO 20121 and ISO 14001 certified and have recently been awarded the Queen’s Awards for Enterprise: Sustainable Development 2020. We were also a winner at the IEMA Sustainability Impact Awards, under the category ‘Sustainable Organisation’.

The views and opinions expressed in these blogs are those of the authors alone and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of ESSA, its members, board or staff. Our members represent a broad range of views within the event industry, and we have provided this section of the website for their opinions to be openly heard and discussed.

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