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IAEE Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Spotlight on B. Murphy, CEM

Read the inaugural Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) Spotlight on B. Murphy, CEM of Fern Exposition Services as he shares his vision for advancing DE&I within the industry.

By: Mary Tucker, Sr. PR/Communications Manager

B. Murphy, CEM is a member of the National Sales Group of the Fern Exposition Services. He is based in Alexandria, VA and has been involved with conventions, exhibits, and the meetings industry for over 20 years.

B. is very active with several industry organizations including PCMA (Professional Convention Management Association), MPI (Meeting Professionals International), SGMP (Society of Government Meeting Professionals), NCBMP (National Coalition of Black Meeting Planners), NLMP (Network of Latino Meeting Professionals), ASAE (American Society of Association Executives), AMPs (Association of Meeting Professionals), RHMP(Reston Herndon Meeting Planners) and IAEE (International Association for Exhibition and Events®).

B. received his CEM designation in 2013 and became a member of the CEM faculty soon after. He is also a past chairperson of the CEM Commission. B. is still teaching CEM certification courses nationwide and throughout the world, most recently in Bangkok, Thailand where he was asked to come back a third time, prior to COVID and virtually in Taiwan.

B. is very instrumental in maintaining relationships with convention and visitors bureaus, as well as associations across the country, thereby giving Fern Exposition Services a nationwide presence. Here, he shares with IAEE his vision for advancing diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) within the exhibitions and events industry.

IAEE: What inspired you to serve on the IAEE Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee?

B.: As soon as I heard that IAEE was establishing a DE&I committee, I knew that I wanted to be a part of it. Obviously, I am a person who strongly believes not just in the “notion” of DE&I, but in putting it into practice in our everyday lives. I hope that some of my own experiences can help to educate and motivate others to practice – as well as preach – DE&I. For me, it all comes down to “ACCEPTANCE.”

IAEE: ¿Cuál ha sido su experiencia/observaciones sobre cómo la industria aborda DE&I?

B.: In all honesty I have seen, over the years, some very positive movement in this arena within our industry. The good thing, for me, is that it seems to have been happening all along, not just as a result of recent news-making events. I still believe that we are blessed to work in this industry.

IAEE: ¿Qué avances generales le gustaría ver en la industria con respecto a DE&I?

B.: More diversity in leadership roles within organizations in our industry. Particularly as it relates to those young leaders that are coming behind people like me, who will be retiring sooner than later. Who knows? We may one day see a minority or a female President of IAEE! (David, you can go golfing with me!)

IAEE: ¿Cómo cree que las empresas pueden ayudar a avanzar en DE&I?

B.: I believe that companies go as leadership goes. Therefore, it starts at the top. I am currently reading a book called The 7 Simple Habits of Inclusive Leaders by Melissa Majors. I think it’s a “must read” for people at the top.

IAEE: ¿Qué sugerencias tiene para las personas que deseen obtener más información y/o ayudar a aumentar la conciencia y los avances en DE&I dentro de la industria?

B.: Simple – check your biases (and we ALL have them) at the door. Choose to treat everyone with a “clean slate” unless, or until, they prove otherwise. It boils down to a statement I have on my desk that I read every day and it simply asks: “Am I the kind of person I would want as my best friend?” How would you answer that question?

IAEE’s goal is to engage as many members as possible who are willing share their experience to our community on the importance of DE&I. If you have a story to tell, please email Karen Gonzales, and we will spotlight your experience.

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