Diversity in Government Meeting Planning by Lisa Silverman

Lisa started out the session with a game called Diversity Bingo.  In the game, the members of the audience carry around a bingo style game sheet.  Each square has it’s own diverse criteria and you have to find another member of the audience that meets each of the criteria.  It was very interesting to see the diversity within the audience.

Sending out RFP’s should be done on Tuesday through Thursday  mornings because that is when most people are most focused on work.  Also, be thoughtful to not have an RFP due on a holiday such as good Friday.

Try to send to smaller venues and also to women or minority owned business.

Try to find easily accessible locations for your meetings.  Getting through airports can be a challenge for some so being in a location where direct flights are available for many is great.

Be sure that the venue has enough accessible guest rooms and make sure that they are not going to be used by another group.

A location with the 24 hour availability of food is great, especially during Ramadan.


Site Selection Tips

Look into ease of accessibility

Are family restrooms available?

Is the staff diverse?

Is there a safe space or prayer room?

Are audio amplifiers and TTY phone numbers available?

Is any of the staff bilingual or do they have access to translators?

Is the area surrounding the venue diverse enough to satisfy nightlife seekers but also appealing to those that like quiet time in the down times?


To meet the needs of those that have fewer financial resources use the following tips:

Have reasonable registration costs

Look at all of the travel costs involved – flights, travel to/from airport, resort fees….

Look at the costs for activities and entertainment in the city for times that are not included in the registration.

What are the expected tips at the property?


Marketing Considerations:

Name of the event diversity friendly?

Large print materials available

Use mail vs. email, or both based on what is appropriate for audience.

Be sure that sponsors represent your values

Be sure that charities align with the values of your mission

Be cognizant of social media potential issues.  Not all government agencies are available.



Avoid pork and shellfish

Look for Kosher symbols

Have one of the events centered around a culturally diverse event.  Ie Chinese Festival night in mid September in recognition of Xinhaunet.

Include vegetarian options

Avoid nuts and other items that are commonly allergic.



Diverse speaker selection

Diverse entertainment

Only use necessary designations

Have kids activities if families will come

Have diverse decorations

Use inclusive language such as partner instead of husband/wife.


Onsite Logistics:

Use gender neutral language – staff the booth vs. man the booth

Amplification devices available

Follow protocol

Large print handouts




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