The Importance of Belonging

the collective experience smart leaders

Our Executive Director, Greg DeShields, recently shared with Smart Meetings about The Collective Experience and the Importance of Belonging.

The Collective Experience: 2023 Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Conference, driven by the thought leadership of Tourism Diversity Matters (TDM), is dedicated to exchanging insights and concepts about best practices for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB). TDM is the collaborative leader of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiatives and concepts that address the gaps of ethnic disparities providing tactics to develop more effective Diversity & Inclusion strategies. The Collective Experience aims to provide a learning forum focused on strategies to influence corporate social responsibility and create fair treatment, access, and advancement for all, eliminating barriers.

The conference, intentionally designed for CEOs, corporate leaders, Chief Diversity Officers, government officials, and university-level educators and administrators, will include programming that addresses relevant DEIB issues while providing solutions and tactics that leaders can implement. The interactive cross-cultural experience will produce critical dialogue and exchange knowledge of effective strategies.

The Academic Think Tank will serve as a platform for deans, directors, research faculty, and practitioners to examine ideas and recommend the latest strategies and best practices, access a diverse talent pipeline, and produce diverse and inclusive performance metrics for syllabus and staff development. By bringing together a diverse group of academics, the Think Tank aims to foster a culture of inclusivity and broaden perspectives to ensure that the ideas and strategies developed are effective, practical, and applicable to various situations and contexts.

These are a few pressing themes in demand:

STATE OF DEIB IN ACADEMIA—Initiatives at colleges are under attack. The Supreme Court decision ending affirmative action and race-conscious admissions policies has triggered a significant rollback of programs and initiatives targeted at minority students and restricting and eliminating education curricula.

DEIB SMALL ORGANIZATIONS—A critical component of a thriving business is strategy. Many small businesses still believe DEI initiatives are not relevant to them. The reality is that DEI initiatives aren’t just for large corporations – they are also crucial for small businesses.

DEIB POLITICS AND CULTURE – Entangled in political and cultural debates often called “culture wars.” There is a clash of ideology and values, and DEI efforts have become a focal point in these debates.

CEO ROUNDTABLE—Businesses must prioritize diversity in practice, not just a promise. While there has been significant progress, organizations must do more to ensure everyone can achieve their dreams and potential. National business leaders from the private and public sectors will discuss how DEIB must be more than goals to strive for – it’s smart business.

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