Next Group of Luminaries Leads the Way

Author: David McMillin       

PCMA’s Ascent Luminaries

Gina Glantz (far right), cofounder of GenderAvenger, moderates a panel at the 3% Conference. Glantz will share some of her insights on creating more inclusive conferences in PCMA’s Ascent Luminaries video series.

PCMA continues to focus on leveraging business events as a catalyst for social and economic progress, and its Ascent program is an important part of that. This fall, PCMA will welcome six new voices to the Ascent Luminaries video series, sponsored by VisitDallas. And while more than 120 CEOs have signed The Ascent Promise to pledge to make their organizations and events more inclusive and equitable, Carrie Johnson, DES, senior director of education at PCMA, is quick to point out that taking a leadership position doesn’t mean the organization has all the answers.

“PCMA isn’t the authority on diversity and inclusion,” Johnson said. “We’re learning as we help the members of our community learn, too. We continue to connect with stories and people who represent other voices that need to be raised to create a holistic understanding of what it means to be inclusive.” Johnson was finalizing the lineup for the video series at press time, but here is a preview of the first three of six voices to be featured.

Fay Sharpe — The vice president of EMEA Communications, CSR & Engagement, for U.K.-based BCD Meetings & Events, Sharpe founded a nonprofit initiative focused on mentoring 15 women in the hospitality, events, and travel industry each year. Called Fast Forward 15, the program “enables people to believe in themselves,” Sharpe said, “and that one little thing can make the difference in their careers.”

Gina Glantz — As the cofounder of GenderAvenger, Glantz has played a major role in pushing organizers to diversify the speaker lineups at their events. In addition to empowering women Glantz works to make men aware of the issue with a GenderAvenger pledge to refuse to serve on a panel that lacks female representation. (See this month’s Ascent series for more about Glantz.)

Chip Conley — As the founder of Joie de Vivre Hotels and a strategic adviser to Airbnb, Conley has many experiences in a range of work environments, which helped shape his new venture: Modern Elder Academy. “We have five generations in the workplace for the first time,” Conley said, “and not all the power or the wisdom is in the older generations. It’s in both, and there’s a mutual mentorship that’s quite beautiful that can happen — not just in a company, but in a conference as well.”

Visit to watch the first series of videos, providing insights on embracing best practices for diversity and inclusion at your office and your events.

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