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May 21, 2018

MPI, Industry Orgs Form Anti-Sexual Harassment Coalition




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Meeting Professionals International (MPI) and several other meetings and events industry organizations have formed a coalition to stop sexual harassment. The coalition, comprised of leaders and executives from organizations such as ASAE, AWE, EIC, IAEE, IMEX, JMIC, MPI, PCMA and SITE, aims to eradicate sexual harassment within the events industry and in workplaces. 

Each of these groups have been addressing sexual harassment prevention separately and determined that this issue requires policies that span beyond the confines of each individual organization in the wake of the #TimesUp and #MeToo movements, according to a statement announcing the new coalition. Specifically, the coalition will identify tools and develop new resources to assist in educating the events industry about sexual harassment.  

The individuals who have come forward to serve on the coalition’s task force are as follows:

  • Susan Robertson, CAE, Executive Vice President, ASAE
  • Bob Skelton, Chief Administration Officer, ASAE
  • Kiki J. Fox, President & Co-Founder, AWE
  • Carrie Abernathy, CMP, CEM, CSEP, Past-President & Co-Founder, AWE
  • Johnnie White, MBA, CAE, CMP, Treasurer, AWE
  • Julie Sullivan, CMP, CEM, CTA, Vice President, AWE
  • Nicole Unger, CMP, Secretary, AWE
  • Karen Kotowski, CAE, CMP, CEO, EIC
  • Cathy Breden, CMP, CAE, COO, IAEE
  • Carina Bauer, CEO, IMEX     
  • Rod Cameron, Executive Director, JMIC
  • Amanda Armstrong, Chair, MPI
  • Nicole Edmund, Vice President, Community, MPI
  • Sherrif Karamat, CAE, President & CEO, PCMA

Carrie Abernathy, CMP, CEM, CSEP, past-president and co-founder of the Association for Women in Events (AWE), and Kiki J. Fox, president and co-founder of AWE, rallied these industry leaders to establish the coalition and then organized regular meetings to determine the group’s strategic direction. In addition, Fox has taken on the leadership role of managing the task force, organizing action items and driving the coalition’s initiatives. The group’s next step is to launch a webinar that introduces sexual harassment prevention subject matter experts in later this year.

Since November 2017, MPI said it has taken steps to demonstrate that it will not tolerate harassment in its global community and to educate members on how to prevent, report and respond to harassment – whether at an event organized by MPI Global, its chapters, or in the workplace. Actions taken include updating MPI’s Principles of Professionalism in January 2018 to include specific wording stating that MPI will not tolerate harassment of any kind; implementing annual non-harassment training for all staff, board members and chapter volunteer leaders; establishing a confidential, independently serviced harassment hotline for complaints to be raised and investigated; and addressing the issue and prevention advice in MPI’s The Meeting Professional magazine and blog posts.


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