Cameron Roberts chats with Gabrielle Austen-Browne , co-founder of Diversity Ally , about the event industry ’ s D & I credentials
Raphael Sofoluke , founder of the Black Business Show , addressing the room at International Confex . Image : Aniseed Photo
International Confex 2021 not only served as a meeting place for the industry after months of lockdown , but also as a leader in diversity and inclusion ( D & I ). The conference programme included a variety of sessions aimed at promoting inclusive workplaces and Mash Media partnered with diversity and inclusion consultancy , Diversity Ally , to have a D & I presence on the show floor . Gabrielle Austen-Browne , cofounder of Diversity Ally , was onsite at Confex from build to close and I got the opportunity to catch up with her about her role at the show . She said : “ We were the diversity partners at International Confex , so it was really important that we had a number of touchpoints at the show , which included our stand , a panel discussion and the diversity trail . “ We designed our stand to be a quite open environment , as we knew the show would centre around conversations for us . Everyone who came to see us had a real interest in D & I . Sometimes at shows it can feel a bit like visitors do not really engage with the people on the stand that much , but for us at International Confex there was a lot of interaction and some great feedback about D & I at the show .”
Boots on the ground One of the major draws of a live event is the footfall and face-to-face interactions that exhibitors and attendees can have . For Diversity Ally this meant getting in front of a wide array of industry leaders as well as fresh faces in the industry . Austen-Browne spoke about the types of conversations she had onsite , saying : “ There wasn ’ t one particular group of people who we were speaking to which was really nice . We spoke to business leaders who are asking about recruitment and who are concerned about getting more representation within companies and creating inclusive workplaces .