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The Association for Women in Events, a not-for-profit organization supporting gender equality and diversity in the events industry, has joined forces with several industry leaders to combat sexual harassment. The coalition, comprised of leaders and executives from AWE, ASAE (The Center for Association Leadership), EIC (the Events Industry Council), IAEE (International Association of Exhibitions and Events), IMEX (Worldwide Exhibition for Incentive Travel, Meetings and Events), JMIC (the Joint Meetings Industry Council), MPI (Meeting Professionals International), PCMA (Professional Convention Management Association), and SITE (Society for Incentive Travel Excellence), was formed to gather everyone behind a common goal: eradicate sexual harassment in the events industry. Each of these groups have been addressing sexual harassment separately and determined that this issue required policies that span beyond the confines of each individual organization. In the wake of movements like #TimesUp and #MeToo , every industry must take action to create positive change and end sexual harassment, once and for all. The coalition recognizes that when it comes to these ethical concerns and human rights, we are #StrongerTogether. The coalition will identify tools and develop new resources to assist in educating individuals and the events industry about sexual harassment.

The individuals who have come forward to join this task force are as follows:
● Carrie Abernathy, CMP, CEM, CSEP, past-president & co-founder, AWE
● Kiki J. Fox, president & co-founder, AWE
● Bob Skelton, chief administration officer, ASAE
● Susan Robertson, CAE, executive vice president, ASAE
● Johnnie White, MBA, CAE, CMP, treasurer, AWE
● Julie Sullivan, CMP, CEM, CTA, vice president, AWE
● Nicole Unger, CMP, secretary, AWE
● Karen Kotowski, CAE, CMP, CEO, EIC
● Cathy Breden, CMP, CAE, COO, IAEE
● Carina Bauer, CEO, IMEX
● Rod Cameron, program management, JMIC
● Amanda Armstrong, chair, MPI
● Nicole Edmund, vice president of community, MPI
● Sherrif Karamat, CAE, president & CEO, PCMA
● Rhonda Brewer, immediate past president, SITE

Abernathy and Fox, co-founders of AWE, gathered these industry leaders for regular meetings of discussion and direction. Fox is organizing action items and driving this initiative. The group’s next step is to release a webinar that introduces experts on the subject matter. AWE will also be adding this topic to the events and education presented to AWE members.

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

All nine organizations involved will post more details of upcoming education and initiatives around this subject to their respective website homepages. The coalition encourages the events industry to follow along and participate. In order to create the best workplace environment for women, AWE firmly believes that the industry must actively address sexual harassment and take all necessary steps toward preventing it.

The Association for Women in Events is an inclusive community dedicated to the professional advancement of women in all facets of the events industry. The international organization was established in Washington, D.C., in March of 2015. AWE has earned international support from a myriad of individuals and organizations. Membership benefits include an immediate coaching program, access to the international membership directory, a robust events calendar, a quarterly educational eNewsletter, monthly webinars and 40+ opportunities for volunteer leadership positions. AWE offers annual individual, student, corporate and faculty memberships. For updates and announcements, follow AWE on Facebook and Twitter. #AWEwomen For more info, visit www.womeninevents.org/ or email admin@womeninevents.org.

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