Conference News September 2021 - Page 5

5 Editor ’ s Letter


efore the pandemic took hold , I ’ ll admit that sometimes I felt certain debates we had among ourselves felt like little more than lip service : an obligatory acknowledgement that issues existed but no tangible solutions offered . Those with opinions sat on stages or stood at lecturns and said they ’ d like to see to more diversity , better equality , less sexism ( well , no sexism ), and more action on mental health . But then they ’ d leave the stage , and nothing would happen and , frankly , it was all getting a bit tiring . Very few made themselves accountable , and even fewer wanted to take ownership .
Now , alas , the winds of progress have changed , and I am pleased to report that more and more people are grasping the nettle and proactively working to make our industry even better than it was before .
This issue is a celebration of people and includes some engaging life stories , such as those of three Fast Forward 15 mentees ( p17 , p19 and p21 ), as well as some more cutting issues , such as sexism , which Jill Hawkins covers on p13 .
We also speak to Jane Longhurst , who is stepping down from the Meetings Industry Association after 17 years of service : there are few in the industry who have experienced such drastic change .
Elsewhere in this issue we look at education ( p25 ) and , true to our word about doing something tangible , reveal more details about REACH , a new university scholarship that aims to give more black and brown people a chance to study for the event management degree at Manchester Metropolitan University , which Conference News ’ publisher Mash Media is helping to set up .
We also hear from Nadu Placca , Laura Capell-Abra , Nick Gold and Narmeen Kamran on how they have strived to make a difference and give something back to the industry . The pandemic , while horrendous in every way , has at least afforded many of us the time to take a step back and think about these matters . No one should be afraid to pick up the gauntlet and try to make a difference . Not everyone will like it , and they may tell you they don ’ t like it , but change seldom comes easy . I challenge you to make a difference .
Martin Fullard Editor Conference News www . conference-news . co . uk