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IAEE Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Spotlight on Maurice Norris

Read the inaugural Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) Spotlight on Maurice Norris, as he shares his vision for advancing DE&I within the industry.

Por: Mary Tucker, gerente sénior de relaciones públicas y comunicaciones

Maurice Norris is the Public Affairs Manager for Promotional Products Association International (PPAI). Currently, he manages the government relations and product responsibility programs at PPAI. In these roles, he monitors legislative and regulatory developments affecting the promotional products industry. Maurice also assists members with compliance challenges facing their businesses, and helps them advocate for their companies with various aspects and levels of government.

Maurice also serves on the Board of the Graphic Communications Workforce Coalition, and three separate industry diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) committees. Here, he shares with IAEE his vision for DE&I within the exhibitions and events industry.

IAEE: ¿Qué lo inspiró a formar parte del Comité de Diversidad, Equidad e Inclusión de la IAEE?

Maurice: I was initially a replacement for a colleague who was leaving our company. I think lots of people realized last year that more had to be done to make space for a variety of people to exist in this country. At the time, I had recently begun my own work in the DE&I area, and joining this group seemed consistent with the goal of improving conditions for people who don’t check the normal boxes.

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

Maurice: My biggest experience with this industry’s approach to DE&I concepts has consisted of my involvement with the IAEE DE&I committee. Considering everything from the scholarship to the mentorship program, to the infusion of DE&I-based concepts into such a wide variety of IAEE offerings, I would say this industry’s approach to DE&I is multifaceted and continues to broaden.

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

Maurice: One of the more tangible progressions I hope for is heightened visible representation at industry events, as well as in the various leadership structures. Additionally, I would like to see the conversations around DE&I grow from the periodic or contrived task-based occurrence to a more organic endeavor that happens naturally and daily. Idealistically, I hope for the day when a prevalence of fairness, equity, and inclusivity renders DE&I committees and initiatives unnecessary.

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

Maurice: One important step for companies to take is to determine their goals. DE&I has a subjective meaning, so it will be critical for companies to identify what is most important to them and focus on that. Some goals here could include:

  • Establish a certain percentage of women or underrepresented minorities in the company and in leadership
  • Implement a DE&I training initiative
  • Start a supplier diversity program

Whatever goals a company sets, another key is measuring their current status. There’s an old saying that goes, “You can’t improve what you don’t measure,” and these metrics are a huge component in determining the success of whatever initiative a company decides to implement.

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?

Maurice: There are several universities and organizations that offer certificates and other learning opportunities in this space. Many trade associations are also offering guidance, including IAEE and PPAI, in the form of webinars and live event sessions. There is also a huge amount of publications, including research papers and media articles, that cover a wide variety of DE&I-based concepts. There’s a lot of relevant information available, much of which is free to access.

El objetivo de la IAEE es involucrar a tantos miembros como sea posible que estén dispuestos a compartir su experiencia con nuestra comunidad sobre la importancia de DE&I. Si tiene una historia que contar, envíe un correo electrónico Karen Gonzales, y destacaremos su experiencia.

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