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CEO DATELINE – Seven associations launch new diversity efforts

Jan. 11, 2021
By Walt Williams

At least seven associations have launched new diversity and inclusion initiatives in recent weeks, with each group bringing together members together to push for increased representation in their professions and industries. The initiatives are part of a larger trend of associations stepping up their diversity efforts following last year’s Black Lives Matter protests.

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The Global Business Travel Association announced the creation of the Diversity, Equality and Inclusion Committee on Jan. 6. The goal, according to GBTA interim Executive Director Dave Hilfman, is to raise the profile “for all individuals from all walks of life, religion, race, age, gender, sexual orientation and disabilities, mental health and invisible illnesses.”

“We want to challenge the status quo and provide a visible platform to raise and address these issues in our industry,” Hilfman said, adding “by tackling the uncomfortable, we want to foster an open, transparent, and welcoming arm, where trust and integrity will be at the forefront of our agenda.”

The American Veterinary Medical Association and the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges have jointly created the Commission for a Diverse, Equitable, and Inclusive Veterinary Profession, according to the AMVA news service JAVMA News. The new group will seek to increase the diversity of people entering the veterinary profession.

“Sustainable, long-term change can only come about if dedicated and influential partners from across our profession, including academia and industry, join together to identify challenges and implement solutions,” Douglas Kratt, president of the AVMA, and Mark Markel, president of AAVMC, said in a joint statement. “The commission will establish actionable goals that promote DEI throughout the veterinary community.”

The National Electrical Contractors Association announced in December it had formed a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force consisting of 20 NECA national staff members, chapter staff, and executives from member companies. Through the new group, “we hope to empower each and every person—regardless of background, race, gender, or any other factor—to succeed and be able to grow in our industry,” NECA CEO David Long said in a statement.

“Electrical construction is a truly rewarding career, and we need to join together and ensure this opportunity exists for everybody,” he said.

Credit Union National Association and the African-American Credit Union Coalition announced Jan. 11 they had formed a strategic alliance to further diversity, equity and inclusion in the industry. The effort will include a scholarship program and an online community for black credit union professionals. The groups also agreed to send their employees to the other’s meetings.

“It is important to discover new learning opportunities for credit union professionals across the system,” AACUC CEO Renee Sattiewhite said in a statement. “We are proud to collaborate with CUNA as we create a future where credit union professionals of diverse backgrounds can not only survive but thrive.”

The Brewers Association announced the launch of its new mentorship program Jan. 8 with the aim of increasing the diversity of the workforce, leadership and ownership of small and independent craft brewers. The 12-week program will pair aspiring professionals with experienced industry leaders.  The Brewers Association recently created a DEI department.