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New Coalition Formed to End Sexual Harassment in the Events Industry

May 30, 2018 11:31 AM | Russell Kice (Administrator)

May 25, 2018

Lisa Plummer Savas


In the wake of movements such as #MeToo and #TimesUp, every industry must act to end sexual harassment and create positive, lasting change.

The exhibitions and meetings industries are no exception.

A new coalition recently was formed to eradicate sexual harassment in the events industry and workplace; a task force that will identify tools and develop new resources to assist in educating individuals and the events industry about sexual harassment. 

Comprising leaders and executives from organizations including the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE); Association for Women in Events (AWE); the Events Industry Council (EIC); the International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE); IMEX; JMIC; Meeting Planners International (MPI); Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA); and SITE, the group was formed after each group determined that this issue required policies that span beyond the confines of each individual organization.

“All the organizations came together because the ethical concerns and human rights would be better served working together, so we can stop sexual harassment from occurring in the industry,” said John H. Graham, IV, president and CEO of ASAE.

Industry leaders who have joined this task force include:

  • John H. Graham, President and CEO, ASAE
  • Susan Robertson, Executive Vice President, ASAE and ASAE Foundation President
  • Bob Skelton, Chief Administration Officer, ASAE
  • Kiki J. Fox, President and Co-Founder, AWE
  • Carrie Abernathy, Past-President & Co-Founder, AWE
  • Johnnie White, Treasurer, AWE
  • Julie Sullivan, Vice President, AWE
  • Nicole Unger, Secretary, AWE
  • Karen Kotowski, CEO, EIC
  • Cathy Breden, COO, IAEE
  • Carina Bauer, CEO, IMEX     
  • Rod Cameron, Executive Director, JMIC
  • Amanda Armstrong, Chair, MPI
  • Sherrif Karamat, President and CEO, PCMA
  • Rhonda Brewer, Immediate Past President, SITE

While Abernathy and Fox gathered these industry leaders together for regular meetings and discussed the direction of the coalition, Fox has been charged with organizing action items and driving the initiative.

The group’s next step is to release a webinar introducing experts on the subject matter. 

“It’s imperative that our organizations present a united front against sexual harassment in the industry,” Fox said. “Together, we are declaring zero tolerance for behavior that harasses or discriminates.”

All nine organizations involved will be posting more details about upcoming education and initiatives around this subject to their respective website homepages, while the coalition encourages the events industry to follow along and participate.

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