Daven Abrahams, Account Manager at HeadBox and member of our Diversity & Inclusion Committee, shares his thoughts on the state of diversity in the events industry, his own experiences and what we can be doing better.
Events set the tone for what has been, what currently is and what is yet to come – they reflect the world around us – which is why I believe that it’s really important that the industry that plans, builds and brings events into reality should be a reflection of what we can become. I believe that to truly create engaging and captivating events a diverse range of voices and experiences need to be involved at every stage of the process and I say this as a young black man who has been working in the events industry for roughly six years now.
During that time I’ve been fortunate to work for a variety of different venues such as hotels, conference & exhibition centres and a live music venue. This variety of experiences has given me a good perspective across the events industry and it’s because of this perspective and the passion that I have for events, that I want to see it become more diverse and offer better opportunities with fair representation for all. In most of the event roles that I have held I’ve found myself to be the only person of colour within the events team apart from one venue where I was one of two people of colour within the event sales team. This clearly shows the lack of representation and the lack of information about the opportunities in the event industry to black and minority ethnic communities at a higher-education level.
My introduction to the world of events wasn’t intentional and was the result of a very fortunate conversation with a colleague at the first hotel that I worked at. I had expressed my desire to do more than my role at the time was offering and this colleague, who had already transferred into the events team explained the similarities between my role and a recently opened position within their team. I was successful in interviewing for that role and after that first dip into the world of events I was hooked.
From my first role to my current one, I’ve become more aware of the lack of representation throughout the industry and the biases that can be formed as a result of this, which is why I’m keen to educate and change the current state of the industry. I had the pleasure of sitting on a panel with other event professionals discussing this very topic and highlighting how we felt changes to the recruitment process, education within schools and also workplace leadership programs could have a profound effect on creating a more diverse and inclusive industry for all.
I’m a current member of the Diversity and Inclusion Committee at HeadBox, where collectively we create educational content and regularly hold sessions to help cultivate new perspectives and teach away unconscious bias. We recently held a session based on Zero Discrimination Month which falls on the 1st March and we discussed the varying levels of discrimination that exist in society, some widely recognised and others that weren’t so widely known.
As part of the committee it’s inspiring to see how well-received and how keen to understand my fellow colleagues are when it comes to creating a more inclusive workplace for all. And I hope that the same can be applied across the events industry, there are certainly conversations happening and some companies making an effort to do more and hire more diversely but there is still a lot of work to be done.