A group of Black event professionals, led by events management agency The Zoo XYZ, have signalled their intent to create an association dedicated to black event professionals, the Association of Black Event Professionals.

This follows a new report – Black in the Boardroom – which found no Black events professionals at a senior/board level at 15 UK event trade bodies or associations, including the Association of Independent Festivals, the Concert Promoters Association, the Association of Event Organisers, Meetings Industry Association, Business Visits and Events Partnership, Association of Festival Organisers and the Production Services Association.

The research was commissioned by Nadu Placca, founder of The Zoo XYZ and aims to address diversity, equality and inclusion (DEI) within industries and organisations.

The report states that it will hold the UK event industry accountable regarding DEI and monitor progress. Therefore, in June 2022, it intends to follow up and review all of the trade bodies and associations analysed within Black in the Boardroom and subsequently the status of DEI within the events industry.

The report said: “In 2020, nine out of the 15 (60 per cent) organisations analysed acknowledged Black Lives Matter and published official statements about this issue. Out of the 15 UK event focused trade bodies and associations, only two have made clear statements on how to implement and support DEI with practical steps on how this reflects their organisational structure and how to progress towards DEI?

“As of today, there are no Black professionals in senior, board or leadership positions in any reputable trade bodies and associations within the UK event industry. Furthermore, there is no apparent strategy of implementation provided by any of the organisations in place for change.

“Industries are dynamic and constantly evolving, DEI opens up to all people in society and makes them feel welcomed. Diversity always adds value, reflects the societies we live in and enables new perspectives. This brings new opportunities and healthy growth for a strong industry that has economic growth and celebrates cultures to enhance life quality. The time is NOW, there is a huge potential and interest for positive change within the UK event industry.

“Trade bodies and associations are voluntary industry watchdogs, set up to regulate and monitor industry standards. They create industry opportunities, unite for causes and lobby the Government. The importance of trade bodies and associations can be seen across various industries and they are an integral part of business. It is essential that trade bodies and associations are inclusive as they are influential and ensure the longevity of the industries they serve.”

The Zoo XYZ has created BEEHive, a mentorship and educational programme, to support Black event professionals at all levels. It is specifically designed around enabling Black Event Experience (BEE).

To find out more, and to download a copy of the report, click here.