A Banner of Support


A Special Olympics USA Games congratulations banner, signed by attendees of this year’s PCMA Education Conference, helped connect two different events with one uniform message — embracing diversity and inclusion.

Delegates from Visit Seattle brought a surprise to the 2018 PCMA Education Conference in Cleveland — a congratulations banner to be signed for athletes of the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games, which was held in Seattle’s Husky Stadium in early July.

Visit Seattle brought the banner to the Ascent Studio, which was one of the conference’s five themed learning studios. Sessions in the Ascent Studio were related to PCMA’s Ascent initiative, which is sponsored by Visit Seattle, and promotes diversity and inclusion in the business-events industry.

Rob Hampton, senior vice president of sales at Visit Seattle, talked to Convene about the banner’s cross-country trek, and why he believes a simple tool can sometimes be the most effective one.

DIFFERENT SIDES OF DIVERSITY

The Visit Seattle team began, Hampton said, by brainstorming on ways to connect the dots between the Ascent Studio and destination. “As we were talking about all of the components of Ascent, we thought of the 2018 Special Olympic USA Games, which Visit Seattle was hosting.” Hampton said. “We thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be great to include our industry in a very small way?’”

Hampton noted that this endeavor was also an opportunity to show Education Conference attendees another perspective on what diversity and inclusion encompasses. “When we talk about diversity and inclusion, intellectual disability should definitely be part of that conversation.”

CROSS-COUNTRY RECEPTION

The banner made its journey from Cleveland and was delivered to the athletes, families, and coaches of the Special Olympics USA bocce competition. “The motivation was to bring something special, and more importantly, to encourage the athletes,” Hampton said. “It was really cool.”

The banner connected two different events, held in two different locations, behind a uniform message of support for inclusion and diversity. Both Special Olympic athletes and Education Conference attendees were thrilled by the experience, Hampton said. “As simple as a banner is, it makes a big impact on the person signing it and the person reading it. There are thoughtful things you can do to get your message across.”

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