Diversity & Inclusion: Ride the Wave Until It Breaks

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Diversity & Inclusion: Ride the Wave Until It Breaks

By Rich Luna | Sep 16, 2020

We are reaching out to meeting industry professionals to engage in meaningful dialogue on the topic of diversity and inclusion. Today, we hear from Anthony Molino, immediate past president of the MPI Potomac Chapter and director of hotel sales for Choose Chicago.
Anthony Molino

Learn more about MPI’s diversity and inclusion efforts, and contact me if you would like to contribute to the discussion. 

What are the challenges that organizations (including associations like MPI) face when determining a course of action related to diversity and inclusion (D&I), specifically for the Black community?

I wouldn’t call any of it a “challenge.” It is all about asking the right questions and fully understanding the needs of your members. The idea of implementing a diversity and inclusion plan does not single out any group or type of person. It is developing a plan that fosters engagement from members across the spectrum.  

What are the challenges in identifying measurable goals?

Establishing goals is the hard part. You want to make sure you that you aren’t just focusing on one subgroup, but making sure your plans involve the entirety of the membership. Once you can define what it means to be inclusive, then you can set some goals. It is a process, so thinking more broadly at the beginning is important. Start with committing to a certain number of D&I focused events, whether it is an education presentation or panel, as well as create affinity meet-up groups, creating safe spaces to convene for members of all backgrounds.  

“Different life experiences, different perspectives allow people to open their mind to endless possibilities.”

Share with us how your chapter responded in the aftermath of George Floyd.

I sent out a message to every member, which is now included on a Diversity Equity & Inclusion resource page the chapter has since added to its website.

This discussion is not new. But why is now different vs. say five years ago, or 10 years ago, when it comes to seeing equality for the Black community?

Any chance you have the opportunity to talk about equity you take it. Today is no different than what has been going on for years, but when there is a wave, you ride it until it breaks. People are fed up, tired of being treated unfairly and sick of being ignored. It is terrible what has happened to Black folks like Breonna Tayler and George Floyd, but as we all know they are not the first, nor will they be the last to suffer this fate due to police brutality. Recent events have created a surge in the movement, and with all that is happening in the world at the present time, it has cast a wide net on those who have already been a part of it, and also on those who have not had their eyes open to it, and are now energized to join the fight.   

MPI Resources for Equality and Justice: Furthering the Advancement of All Peoples

Do you feel inspired and confident that real change will come?

I do. There is an obvious divide in our country. If human rights can’t bring people together, I’m not sure what will.  

How important is diversity to you and what value does it bring?

I live my life every day as a member of the “diverse” population. I am an openly gay leader in the meetings industry and make an effort to be proud of that every chance I get. Aside from that, I believe that real change is made when you bring people together from all walks of life. Different life experiences, different perspectives allow people to open their mind to endless possibilities. 

Photo by Tim Marshall on Unsplash

 

Author

Rich
Rich Luna

Rich Luna is Director of Publishing for MPI and Editor-in-chief of The Meeting Professional.