DEI in B2B: Change Your Culture. How hard can it be?

The answer, after hearing from ASBPE’s 2021 Diversity Fellows, is complex.

Yes, progress has been made, but there remains much work to do to address issues of diversity, equity and equality, and inclusion both in content and organizational culture.

The panel discussion at ASBPE’s national conference in Cleveland was designed to bring to the forefront a focus on the continuing challenges through the perspectives of the first diversity fellows in the association’s history.

The panelists included:

  • Chris Gaetano, Technology Editor, Accounting Today
  • Ruksana Hussain, Founder/Publisher of Traveler and Tourist, Magazine Editor, Features Writer, Content Creator
  • Asia Martin, Finance Reporter, Business Insider
  • Davina van Buren, Content Marketing Manager, Bounteous

Panel moderator Rich Luna, senior director of content marketing at Association Luxury Hotels International (ALHI) and an ASBPE board member, noted that a successful DEI initiative not only enables culturally diverse workforces, it is also imperative to business success. Last year, McKinsey, the management consulting company, reported that the most diverse companies are now more likely than ever to outperform less diverse peers on profitability, proving DEI has a profound effect on corporate outcomes.

Each of the panel members shared personal stories around each of the core DEI pillars: van Buren, who has established a strong track record as a freelance writer, on diversity in media coverage; Hussain, who immigrated to the US, on how equity factored into her career growth; Martin, who has moved up the ranks as a business and finance reporter, delved into equality; and Gaetano, who has more than a decade of experience covering the accounting professional, shared his perspective on inclusion with notable success in his coverage and organization’s commitment. Other topics of discussion included how, as freelance writers, having the empowerment to pitch stories that are important to diverse communities made a difference compared to working in a more traditional newsroom setting.

Through personal stories, one thread emerged: the four fellows are passionate about their career choices and committed to change.

The group emphasized the importance of building a more thorough file of diverse sources. A list of nearly 20 resources was shared with conference attendees (and we’re sharing it below).

Other tips on changing culture included:

  • Change does take time
  • Be an advocate within your organization
  • Inclusion is an ongoing process
  • Provide resources
  • Gain leadership buy-in

Here is a list of resources for writers to learn more about DEI issues and ways to build a more diverse source list:

ASBPE plans to feature more great educational sessions at its 2023 National Conference, which will take place May 11-12, 2023. The location is to be announced. Stay tuned to and ASBPE’s social channels to keep up to date.

Rich Luna

Rich Luna is senior director for content at Associated Luxury Hotels International (ALHI). He previously served in publishing roles at Meeting Professionals International, the Boy Scouts of America national office, and as a reporter, editor, and managing editor at newspapers across the country. Luna received his B.A. in journalism and broadcasting from the University of Texas at El Paso. He is an ASAE Diversity Executive Leadership Program (DELP) scholar and currently serves on the ASBPE national board of directors and the U.S. Travel Association and Association Latinos communications committees.

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