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5 Ways to Create an Event that Prioritizes Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

group poses on large chalkpainted pride flag
Pride Month offers the perfect opportunity to celebrate members of the exhibitions and events industry who promote diversity, equity and inclusion. Here, Toronto’s Exhibition Place shares its commitment to providing a welcoming space for event planners and attendees.

By Alexandra Serrano-Selbie | Marketing and Communications Manager | Exhibition Place

In the modern world, the importance of prioritizing diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in every aspect of business cannot be overstated. This is especially true for event planning, a field where the goal is to bring people together for a shared experience. As event planners, we have a unique opportunity to foster DEI in a tangible way.

Here are some tips on how to source an event that prioritizes these principles:

Choose a Venue that Shares Your Values

When sourcing a venue for your event, look for places that have demonstrated a clear commitment to DEI. For example, Exhibition Place, one of Canada’s premier event locations, recently secured the prestigious Rainbow Registered Accreditation. This accreditation is awarded to businesses that show a robust commitment to 2SLGBTQI+ inclusivity and diversity. By choosing a venue like Exhibition Place, you are supporting businesses that prioritize DEI and creating a safe, welcoming space for your attendees.

Rainbow Registered Accreditation Seal

“We are absolutely thrilled to be recognized with the Rainbow Registered Accreditation,” says General Manager of Exhibition Place Laura Purdy (she/her). “For us, this achievement is not just a recognition but a testament to our continued dedication towards inclusivity and creating safe, welcoming spaces for everyone in our community.”

group posing for photo holding rainbow flags on sidewalk chalkpainted with rainbow flag
Exhibition Place staff celebrates achieving its Rainbow Registered Accreditation at the rainbow crosswalk located outside its front entrance.

Ensure Diverse Representation

When planning your event, it’s essential to ensure the inclusion of diverse voices. This diversity should not be limited to the attendees but should extend to the speakers, presenters, vendors, and sponsors who contribute to the event’s content and atmosphere. Ensuring such diversity introduces a varied range of perspectives and experiences, thus enriching the event overall.

As you review RFPs (Request for Proposals), include this as a significant part of your evaluation criteria. It’s not just about the cost or the services offered, but it’s also about how well these potential partners align with your commitment to diversity and inclusion.

Create an Inclusive Environment

This involves more than just diverse representation. It’s about ensuring your event is accessible to everyone, regardless of physical abilities or dietary restrictions. It also involves fostering a safe space where all attendees feel comfortable expressing their opinions and being themselves. This may entail providing quiet rooms for neurodiverse attendees, offering low ABV drink options, and having gender-neutral bathrooms.

Provide DEI Training for Staff

Every person involved in running the event should be trained in DEI principles. This includes everyone from the event planners to the volunteers. Providing this training ensures that all attendees are treated with respect and dignity.

Communicate Your Commitment to DEI

Don’t just assume that attendees will know about your commitment to DEI. Make it a point to communicate this in your marketing materials, on your website, and in your communications with attendees.

Remember, DEI is not just a trend – it’s a necessity. By prioritizing these principles in your event planning, you are creating a more inclusive and equitable world.

About the Author

Alexandra Serrano-Selbie

Alexandra Serrano-Selbie is a Toronto-based Marketing professional with 10+ years of experience working in the Entertainment, Hospitality, and Fashion industries. She is currently working in the Events & Exhibitions industry as the Marketing and Communications Manager at Exhibition Place. To connect, reach out at:

The views and opinions expressed by blog authors are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the International Association of Exhibitions and Events®. Any content provided by our bloggers or authors are of their opinion. All content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only. IAEE makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. IAEE will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information.

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