Midwest AMCs Invest in Diversity and Inclusion
By Paul J. Hanscom, CAE, Vice President of Marketing & Business Development, Ewald Consulting Group, Inc.

This summer seven AMCs committed to invest in expanding diversity and inclusion in the association management community as sponsors of the Associations North Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) Program. Associations North has offered sponsorship in its other programs for decades, but 2018 was the first time that sponsorship has been offered for D&I with associations and AMCs specifically in mind.

“With changing demographics among our clients’ members, we see an investment in D&I as a very pragmatic decision,” explained Sheryle Hazard, CAE, Association Development Services.

The D&I Program was created to foster diversity and inclusion practices among association professionals in the Upper Midwest as well as attract and advance underrepresented communities in the association management profession.

“This is a topic that our association boards of directors are discussing within their own professional community,” said Jaime Nolan, CAE, CEO of IntrinXec Management. “They look to us for guidance and examples of success, so we are proud to share our experience and invest in this way.”

Associations North D&I Program initiatives that this sponsorship supports include:
  1. Hosting a members-only event about featured D&I success at a regional association and its impact in that professional community.
  2. Launching the Associations North Diversity & Inclusion (ANDI) Leadership Program to advance the professional growth of a cohort of association professionals from underrepresented groups in the Associations North community.
  3. Establishing connections with schools to build a pipeline of diverse talent to the association management profession.
“Our company is committed to supporting diversity and inclusion, so we were excited to learn about the initiatives of the Associations North D&I Committee and look forward to the positive change that will be created in our community,” said Janel Fick, Partner & Owner of Global Management Partners.

Associations North’s efforts at building diversity and inclusion into the organization’s culture began in earnest in 2014 when then-president of Associations North, Dara Rudick, CAE, CEO of Management HQ, established a task force to explore the topic.

“Diversity and inclusion are such important issues for professional communities that I knew we’d be missing a huge opportunity if we didn’t start the dialogue right here in our own association management professional society,” she said.

After a few years growing the task force into a committee, establishing a budget, and setting clearly defined next steps, the call for sponsorship went out. According to Tanya Martin, President of Elevate Management, the decision to become a sponsor was straightforward.

“As our company grows and our client expectations increase, we are seeking employees that reflect our values as well as the diversity of the communities we serve,” she said. “This program speaks to our company’s values and cultivates a more diverse and inclusive association community in our area.”

Feedback from the initial stages of this year’s ANDI initiatives has been very positive with new volunteers signing up to be part of the program’s success.

“As a company that’s been involved with the D&I effort since the beginning, it’s been rewarding to see how this topic is gaining traction as a priority across the association management community,” said David Ewald, CAE, President of Ewald Consulting.

Thanks in large part to the support of these seven AMCs, the ANDI Program has secured the funds necessary to invest in this year’s key initiatives. Planning is already in the works to ensure these efforts are sustainable and lead to a more diverse and inclusive environment for association professionals in the region.

“As a graduate of the ASAE Diverse Executive Leadership Program (DELP), I know the impact that an investment like this can have,” said Lane Velayo, CAE, CEO of Synergos. “It’s an honor to be in a position now as association management company owners where we are able to support the next generation of association leaders.”

Associations North Diversity & Inclusion Statement:
In principle and in practice, Associations North values and seeks diversity and inclusiveness within the association management industry. Associations North advocates for and promotes involvement, innovation, and expanded access to leadership opportunities that maximize engagement across underrepresented groups in Association North’s membership. Associations North will provide leadership and commit time and resources to accomplish this objective while serving as a model to other associations.