Revamping has become a buzzword. Everybody wants to be different and do something that will make them stand out. This applies to all aspects of association culture, including diversity and inclusion. How can associations go from talking the talk to walking the walk when it comes to inclusion, at their events and in all aspects of their culture?

If you tap into the same resources – i.e. go back to the same people – every time you plan an event, you will ultimately produce a new version of the same thing. The packaging might be different but the content will not change. When you want to do something new, the first thing you need to do is to bring in different perspectives and people who will in turn bring in their own networks.

It’s not complicated: people just need to know that they’re welcome, that their opinion matters, and that their suggestions are valuable.

At one event I helped organize, we produced a program book including information and images. One year, the cover picture was the silhouette of an African-American woman with the backdrop of Baltimore City, where the event was taking place. It generated a big buzz. People could see small changes happening in a concrete way and wanted to help push it further.

One of our dear members and panelists was particularly interested in supporting our diversity and inclusion efforts. We opened the door to ways she could help and it was enough to make her feel validated in offering her opinion. We needed to fill some sessions and she referred to her network, who felt that we meant what we said and that their voices were going to be heard. That trust brought new people in.

For another event I helped organize, we overhauled the dynamics simply by listening. A participant responded to a feedback survey saying that while she’d enjoyed the conference, all the panelists were men, and most of them were white. It didn’t sit right with her not to see people of color or women in speaker spots.

Some people are quick to dismiss this kind of feedback. They might say that they would love to have people from these demographics at their event, but they can’t find them. That makes me wonder: where did you look? Did you extend your search outside of your inner circle? If you look among the people you know for speakers and panelists, they will probably look a lot like you.

Instead of paying lip service to diversity and inclusion, bring in people of color and bring in women and make all of your members feel represented. You create a bond with people when you bring them in. If you already have a relationship with someone and invite them to come on board for an event, they’re in step with your work; rather than inviting someone you don’t know out of the blue and making them wonder why you reached out to them at all.

The more diversity you bring in and the more inclusivity you foster, the greater an audience you’re going to be able to reach. By listening to your audience, you can revamp your events to give attendees more of what they want to see. With research to back up changes and transparency along the way, revamping goes beyond the ideas of individual staff and starts being about delivering on promises to members.

Danielle spoke in the “Revamp to Revitalize and Grow” session during SURGE Optimism 2018, an interactive virtual conference hosted by AssociationSuccess.org on November 7th-9th. Click here to watch the sessions on demand.

Executive Director at Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education

Danielle Duran Baron is the Executive Director of the CAATE, Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education, the national accreditor of professional, post-professional and residency athletic training programs. She joined the organization in September 2018. Prior to that, Danielle was the Chief Marketing Officer at ABET, the global accreditor of college and university programs in STEM disciplines. In that role, she directed the organization through an award-winning rebranding initiative and managed the efforts of the marketing, communications and events staff to reflect ABET’s global scope and to reach an increasingly diverse audience.

Bringing 20 years of global experience in communications, branding, marketing, events and business strategy, Danielle has worked in the nonprofit, private and government sectors in the United States and overseas. A journalist by training, her work has been published in the United States, Europe and Latin America.

When not working or volunteering, she enjoys spending time with her family, traveling and teaching her sons Portuguese. Danielle has a bachelor’s degree in communications and international relations from Randolph-Macon Woman’s College, a master’s degree in journalism from New York University and an executive MBA in marketing from Ibmec Business School, in Rio de Janeiro. She is also a Certified Association Executive (CAE) and an ASAE Diversity Executive Leadership Program (DELP) Scholar. A native of Brazil, she is fluent in English, Portuguese and Spanish and conversant in French and German.

Danielle Duran Baron is the Executive Director of the CAATE, Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education, the national accreditor of professional, post-professional and residency athletic training programs. She joined the organization in September 2018. Prior to that, Danielle was the Chief Marketing Officer at ABET, the global accreditor of college and university programs in STEM disciplines. In that role, she directed the organization through an award-winning rebranding initiative and managed the efforts of the marketing, communications and events staff to reflect ABET’s global scope and to reach an increasingly diverse audience. Bringing 20 years of global experience in communications, branding, marketing, events and business strategy, Danielle has worked in the nonprofit, private and government sectors in the United States and overseas. A journalist by training, her work has been published in the United States, Europe and Latin America. When not working or volunteering, she enjoys spending time with her family, traveling and teaching her sons Portuguese. Danielle has a bachelor’s degree in communications and international relations from Randolph-Macon Woman’s College, a master’s degree in journalism from New York University and an executive MBA in marketing from Ibmec Business School, in Rio de Janeiro. She is also a Certified Association Executive (CAE) and an ASAE Diversity Executive Leadership Program (DELP) Scholar. A native of Brazil, she is fluent in English, Portuguese and Spanish and conversant in French and German.

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