AEO - Association of event organisers

Event industry associations announce the launch of the ‘Five pillars of inclusion’


Event industry associations announce the launch of the ‘Five pillars of inclusion’

19 Apr 2022

Event industry associations, the Association of Event Organisers (AEO), the Association of Event Venues (AEV), and the Event Supplier and Services Association (ESSA), have announced the launch of the ‘Five pillars of inclusion’.

The pillars provide a framework for the industry to guide organisations in implementing the right level of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in their business and will help measure and identify areas that need focus in the following categories:

  • recruitment and hiring
  • developing talent
  • company culture
  • partners and suppliers
  • leadership and employees

The pillars will be supported by a series of video shorts, which cite examples of how to use them to ensure they’re as accessible as possible. An introduction to the series can be viewed here.

Rachel Parker, director of EIA says: “Following the launch of the cross-association diversity & inclusion working group in 2020, AEO, AEV and ESSA members set out to make impactful change. Together, we launched the D&I hub to raise awareness of the experiences and challenges faced by under-represented groups in the industry.  The next step was to encourage members and the industry to take meaningful action within their organisations.”

Parker added: “The five pillars of inclusion framework is a great stepping stone for those getting started on their DEI journey but will act as an accessible measuring tool for any organisation regardless of the progress already made in this space.

Our industry is so dynamic and its audiences so diverse: as it goes through some of the biggest changes in its history, we have a real opportunity to effect positive and exciting changes that will see our industry thrive. We know there is work to do – we also know the industry is up to the challenge.”

Parker concluded: “Of course, the associations are still learning, and invite members to continue to share thoughts and ideas with us on our resources and what they’d like to see next.”

Mike Sealy, director of diversity and inclusion at Informa Markets and cross-association D&I working group chair says: “Promoting and supporting diversity and inclusion in the workplace is an important aspect of good people management - it’s about valuing everyone in the organisation as a unique and valued individual. Being diverse and having a clear diversity and inclusion policy will protect your organisation from unexpected risks. Yet another benefit and business case for diversity is the ability to operate effectively as well as efficiently in a global context.

The cross-association D&I working group have worked together to create five pillars of inclusion as a structured and simple to implement framework to gauge your operation’s current status related to and progress toward goals around your diversity and inclusion commitment.

Regardless of your current diversity and inclusion status, the pillars will get you started and help to drive continued improvement with an initial self-evaluation and simple scoring mechanism intended to help you measure and identify the areas needing particular focus.

We are launching the pillars with an introductory video and will provide further support with additional videos and documents over the next few weeks. Representatives who sit on the cross-association D&I working group will be asked to report back progress by their organisation to ensure that we continue to drive the diversity and inclusion agenda throughout the industry.”


To view the pillars, click the following link:

  • "Broadway Events joined the AEO on the Enterprise Membership. We’ve already taken advantage of the many benefits including the excellent FaceTime Masterclasses and training guides for exhibitors."
    Emma Barrett
    Broadway Events
  • "We are a member of the AEO because it is a proactive association for the events industry. As an organiser it provides us with high value ideas, networking, guidance and information."
    David Harrison
    PPMA Group
  • "This year, the association has led working groups to address industry issues and put on some amazing events full of insightful content for both organisers and, through the AEOs FaceTime initiative, exhibitors. In addition, the AEO has represented the industry at a Governmental level to raise awareness of the importance of events to the UK economy."
    Paul Byrom
    Upper Street Events
  • "I genuinely believe that if you’re involved in organising events you should become a member of the AEO."
    Simon Kimble
    Clarion Events
  • "Our membership of the AEO represents real and tangible value for UBM - it provides fantastic networking opportunities, practical training for our team as well as valuable insight into the state of our industry."
    Simon Parker
    Informa Markets
  • "As an Association business, we appreciate the excellent work the secretariat of the AEO do for our community. From the events side of our business, the AEO provides an excellent return on investment, providing thought leadership, fantastic networking, brilliant awards, excellent research and FaceTime, a valuable tool to tell our markets why exhibitions and events should be an essential part of the marketing mix."
    Neil Felton
  • "AEO’s networking and member meetings are valuable for individuals at all levels within our organisation. The promotion of our sector to the outside world, to government, authorities and business at large is another vital aspect of the AEO’s purpose for members, many of whom, like my company, work on events throughout the world."
    Stephen Brooks
    Mack Brooks Exhibitions
  • “Knowledge is power and the AEO dinners are certainly powerful, there is always a wealth of knowledge at the table. Insightful presentations make for a constructive and extremely social way to learn from the experts who’ve done it before. I attended the Japanese evening and gained really valuable insight about the culture and how best to communicate with a local audience.”
    John Whitaker
    Vice President Marketing, Data & Digital , dmg events
  • "We have the opportunity to contribute positively to the industry as well as gaining valuable insight and advice. There’s no need to spend valuable time and money reinventing the wheel when you have so many experienced professionals in AEO membership to learn from”
    Emma Cartmell
    CHS Group
  • "JOINING THE AEO HAS BEEN FANTASTIC! Being able to gift our customers with free places at the FaceTime masterclasses, learn alongside industry peers and seek advice to common challenges is invaluable”
    Sharon Azam
    GovNet Communications
  • I just wanted to send my most sincere thanks for everything that you and the AEO team are doing to help navigate the events industry through the pandemic. The working groups and communication from the AEO have been excellent and I’m really appreciative of being part of such a wonderful organisation.
    Simon Burns
    ICHF Events
  • I think what the AEO has been doing during this tough time has been exceptional.
    Greg Cherry
    QD Events LTD
  • It is so useful to hear from your peers at this time. Please pass my thanks to Ruth and the BTIG panel
    Dan Assor
    CloserStill Media
  • Just wanted to thank you and Ruth this morning for the Zoom meeting - it was really interesting to hear how things are moving along in the virtual/hybrid meeting/exhibitions. All very new to me, so a lot to digest.
    Maureen Wright
    Optic UK
  • The session this morning was fantastic. We are right in the midst of this and the information was so useful. We can apply it immediately
    Claire Adams
  • The AEO provides an opportunity to make a difference, to work with other companies for the good of the industry as a whole, but beyond that, it provides it’s members with valuable insight and tangible benefits to grow your business, upskill and engage your teams. For those reasons, our membership is in indelible ink on the each annual budget. In short, if you aren’t a member, you are missing out.
    Ed Tranter
    73 Media




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