Skip navigation
Special Events Blog
Screen Shot 2021-04-01 at 9.54.09 AM.png

TSE Spotlight: Diversity & Inclusion

Spotlight on what to expect this summer at The Special Event

The social unrest from the past year not only provided the impetus for real change, but it has also prompted reflection into the need for a more meaningful balance of diversity and equality within our industries, catering and hospitality included. 

A fight for social justice saw Black Lives Matter movements launch once more in countries across the globe, creating urgency in the discussion about equality. Going forward, businesses will need to be intentional and genuine with their commitment to diversity and how they present their brand to the market. 

These shifts in the industry’s foundation will grow as we make our way through 2021, and The Special Event is poised to help you with these trasitions and conversations. 

The Special Event + Catersource will have a full slate of sessions this year focused on diversity and inclusion for you to attend,and an All Access Pass can get you in to all of them! The lineup of sessions includes:

B.Drye_.jpgAre You Tokenizing? How to Genuinely Market to LGBTQ+ Clients (CS)

Thursday, July 22 at 11:00am - 12:00pm

Presented by Brittny Drye, Founder and Editor in Chief, Love Inc.

As event businesses are increasingly looking to give back to the LGBTQ+ community, we must first start with the idea of inclusivity and acceptance. While it may seem smart to jump right into promoting same-sex weddings, it is possible to cross the line and go too far. In this session, Brittny reveals the true difference between being equality-minded and tokenizing and how event businesses can promote diversity from a place of sincerity and authenticity.

Shadab_Pawntra (2).jpgDesigning Inclusive Events

Thursday, July 22 at 11:00am - 12:00pm

Presented by Pawntra Shadab, Vice President, Elite Productions International

Inclusivity creates a welcoming atmosphere for everyone. As event professionals, we have the opportunity to design live and digital experiences for people to connect, learn and be entertainment. With that, we have the responsibility to consider the perspectives of all participants, designing events that are welcoming and inclusive to encourage full engagement for all. Authentic inclusivity starts from the moment you begin event planning and continues once the activities have concluded. Join us in this interactive session as we share best practices and strategic ways to bring ROI to your attendees and stakeholders.

Brown_Shakira (1).jpgMindful Leadership Communications to Support a Sustainable, Diverse & Inclusive Environment (Bridge)

Wednesday, July 21 at 1:00pm - 2:00pm

Presented by Shakira Brown, CEO and Award-Winning Brand Strategy & Business Communication Strategist and Professional Speaker, SMB Strategic Media LLC

To be an effective leader at any level, you must have a clear understanding of how to inspire action through words and make a positive impact on your organization. But when it comes to leading a diverse team in the shadow of a social justice movement, you must be consciously aware of the words you use, when you use them and how those words will be perceived. Research shows that diverse teams are better innovators and problem-solvers and as your workforce evolves, understanding how to connect and engage may become more challenging. This is where mindful communication can support and sustain your organization's diversity and inclusion initiatives.

In this presentation, Award-winning Branding and Business Communication Strategist, Shakira M. Brown, will demonstrate how differences in ethnicity and culture – including gender and generation – are manifested in your everyday communication with colleagues and other stakeholders. Attend this session to increase your awareness of difference using mindful communication techniques rooted in practical Zen philosophical concepts to build and maintain meaningful personnel relationships. Depart this session with ways to minimize conflict and communicate with greater clarity, precision and impact to lead with positive influence.

Dima Ghawi_Headshot 2 (1).jpgBeyond Picture Perfect Diversity: How to Create a Sense of Inclusion (Bridge)

Wednesday, July 21 at 2:30pm - 3:30pm

Presented by Dima Ghawi, Keynote Speaker and Executive Coach, Dima Ghawi, LLC.

Many organizations view diversity as a statistical goal, achieved by strategic hires and exemplified by a picture-perfect workplace. However, a diverse team without ties of inclusion and acceptance fails to fully harness the true advantages of diversity. In this session, Dima Ghawi shares information she has gleaned from hundreds of interviews and workplace surveys to teach leaders and business professionals how to create a welcoming and inclusive workforce. Through humorous stories and engaging group activities, Dima highlights the insight of a bottom-up approach, the influence of courageous office culture, and the power of affinity groups. Audiences leave with actionable takeaways which can be employed to create a more productive, engaging, and inclusive workplace for all.

Zemaitis_Kathleen (2).jpgDiversity and Inclusion: Making Everyone Feel Welcome

Wednesday, July 21 at 11:00am - 12:00pm

Presented by Kathleen Zemaitis, Founder & CEO, Z Inclusion

Unconscious bias unfortunately shows up at special events. Women business professionals may be assumed to be spouses. People of color may be mistaken to be waitstaff. Multicultural attendees look around the room and count the few that look like them. Venues like resorts and country clubs may not always leave attendees feeling like they belong.

As event planners, how do you embrace diversity and cultivate inclusion to make everyone feel welcome? We will share the top 3 ways you can design and execute events to authentically connect with your diverse attendee communities.

The JEDI (Justice, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion) Lifestyle: A Discussion (CS)

Tuesday, July 20 at 4:00pm - 5:00pm

diversrity copy.jpg

Presented by Jamie Quickert, Director of Delight, Grazziani Multimedia; Greg DeShields, CDE, CHE , Executive Director, Tourism Diversity Matters; Brian Green, CEO, By BrianGreen

This year we saw companies take a stand when it comes to JUSTICE, EQUITY, DIVERSITY, and INCLUSION.
Whether it was a black square on social media, a post to celebrate Pride Month, or highlighting their women leaders on International Women's Day, even the largest corporations realized they can no longer remain silent when it comes to issues facing marginalized groups.

However, taking a stand means more than just saying a cause is supported; there must also be action for there to be change.
Join this eclectic and powerful group of event professionals as they have a discussion about their own personal experiences within the industry, the changes they have seen over the course of their careers, common misconceptions, and what others in the hospitality industry can do—and are doing—to ensure that their staffs, vendor lists, and clients are truly diversified.

Ma_Amanda (1).jpgDiversity and Inclusion Shine Through

Tuesday, July 20 at 11:00am - 12:00pm

Presented by Amanda Ma , Chief Experience Officer, Innovate Marketing Group

In the wake of major social and political changes, many leading companies are now taking necessary steps to increase and improve diversity and inclusion within their workspace. The need for increased representation and support for all cultures and backgrounds is needed now more than ever and benefits both the people and the company. Studies show that diverse teams are: 33% more likely to generate better-than-average profits. 70% more likely to capture new markets. Generate 19% more revenue from innovation than companies with below-average leadership diversity. But what about diversity and representation within the events industry? How can we as event professionals pave the way for consistent representation and diversity regarding speakers, suppliers, and discussion topics in the virtual and live events we produce?

Don't miss your opportunity to attend The Special Event + Catersource Register today

Miami here we come! 

Screen Shot 2021-04-01 at 9.54.09 AM.png

Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.