What are you hiding from?
On a recent flight, I was immersed in the story of Hidden Figures, which follows the colored women who were part of the collaborative team behind NASA’s manned space flight program. This movie sparked several thoughts.
First, diversity and inclusion start at the top of an organization (or home), and require every single person to have respect for every other person. We must not base our assumptions on skin tone, spiritual belief, educational background, hometown or country, but for the person they are and the work they do. Given the current state of the world, we are not there yet.
As event professionals, we have the opportunity with every environment we create for interactions that provoke positive experiences for all who participate, and we must strive to always ensure everyone is comfortable, safe and can contribute without fear.
Don’t be scared of the big machine.
In the movie, the first IBM computer is rolled in, and rather than being scared of the machine and the rumoured job losses for those doing the math by hand, the mathematician Katherine Johnson faces the wrath of the local librarian in the “white” section of the library to find a book on programming language. (The original Girls Who Code program was launched with Fortran at NASA!) She knew then it would still take people to provide the information to feed the machine.
Nearly 50 years later, we are now on a race of our own to teach children to code starting in elementary school, unleashing our digital natives on their own journey. We can not work in fear of the technology surrounding us, we must take one step forward at a time and embrace both event and life technology coming at us from all sides.
It isn’t always easy to stand up for what we believe in.
As event professionals, we always want to say “yes” even when the request is unreasonable. Sometimes it might be a client who has an idea you don’t agree with, either in principle or because logistically it makes no sense. Knowing the objectives of the event and being able to weigh the questionable idea against the objective often allows you to lob that idea out, or at least to a future, more appropriate event. Arm yourself with knowledge. Make sure you clearly understand both the event objectives and the needs of the event owner as well as who is the final decision maker.
Event professionals and their teams truly are greater together. While we may not be putting anyone on the moon, what we are doing is making the world more interesting, more fun and arguably even stronger through shared ideas, one event at a time.