Coffee Chats with Kat is a weekly, candid video series with Creative at Heart founder, Kat Schmoyer. Creative at Heart’s mission is to encourage dreams & equip business so in true C@H fashion, Kat’s asked industry experts to do just that! These videos are unscripted & unedited – meant to feel like we’re all sitting down together at your fave local coffee shop. Sit back, relax & enjoy! ☕
Today’s Coffee Chat is an incredible heartfelt one. I asked Ari + Jodie of Born to Shine Conference to join me as we discuss Diversity + Inclusivity within In-Person Conferences. We talked about everything from diverse educator selection to creating an attendee culture that emphasizes the importance of inclusivity. Whether you host an in-person experience or not, I think you’ll find our candid conversation helpful and insightful.
Unfortunately, we had a few video hiccups during recording; after talking with Ari & Jodie we decided we would show the video as-is because the audio is intact. We’re choosing progress over perfection, and hope you’ll take into consideration what we’re saying and not frozen faces. 🙂
Along with this conversation, I felt strongly about sharing specific things Creative at Heart is doing as an organization when it comes to prioritizing diversity & inclusivity.
Creative at Heart prioritizes diversity & inclusivity in the following ways:
- Visible Diversity – Our desire is to showcase educators and overall brand imagery that visibly represent our priority for an inclusive & diverse community.
- Diverse Stories, Background & Perspectives – We find it powerful to hear from various backgrounds, cultures, perspectives & stories. We recognize that diversity goes beyond visible race and ethnicity and want to cultivate a physical and online brand that empowers creatives to share their unique story openly.
- Diverse Industries Represented – As our name states, it is a pillar of our organization to create an atmosphere that showcases that we are all “creative at heart”. Our organization provides resources & education for creatives of all industries & experience levels & will continue to make that a priority.
- Inclusive Brand Culture – “Welcome Home” has been a part of our brand mission for years, and as those 2 words imply our desire is to create a culture – both physically & online – that is welcoming, comfortable & inviting for all. We will continue to make that a priority.
With that being said, there are specific things we are doing as an organization to actively seek diversity & inclusivity:
Listening and learning from diverse members of our organization.
We’re excited about conversations that have already occurred with past and current educators and attendees, while also planning to pursue further conversation on this topic with additional members of our community. This topic is one we will always be growing in, and having conversations with members of our community is the first step in that growth. We want to listen to their experiences, while also creating a space to ask questions.
Along with our own private conversations with these members, I (Kat) want to publicly state that my door is open to continue this conversation with others! I believe professional, transparent conversation about this topic is important; communication around this topic is vital and the first step in moving forward together. If you’d like to voice concerns and/or share your experiences with this, please reach out to me via email: email@example.com
Listening and learning from diverse men and women outside of our organization.
This one is particularly powerful because I believe it’s important to look beyond our sphere for guidance and counsel. In the past month, we have had several conversations with mentors on diversity, inclusivity & social justice. These mentors are not a part of the C@H family, however they either hold degrees in this topic and/or have years of experience around this topic. We felt it was extremely helpful to reach out and have conversations with them and are so glad we did!
While these conversations will not happen as frequently as conversations with those inside our organization, it was beneficial to open the doors of communication with these sources. We asked hard questions, were given great feedback and now have additional resources we can continue to turn to in the future.
Public call for educators for our membership community & future conference experiences.
For the past 5 years our educators have been hand selected. Yes, some of them have reached out and emailed directly to pitch their topic; however we have never done an “official” call for speakers + educators. Beginning this year, we will be posting a call for speakers twice per year. We hold content to the highest level and want our educators to continue raising the bar for education in the industry; our hope is that by having a call for speakers, we will be able to source high quality content from new faces & backgrounds. I’m looking forward to reading over the applications we receive and welcoming new educators into our family this year and in coming years!
Prioritizing reaching out & connecting with diverse creative business owners.
While it has always been my priority to reach out to new educators in the industry, I am making it even more of a priority to seek out new creatives who I can connect with and learn from! I spoke about this in the video, and plan to make it an ongoing priority both on social media and outside. There are thousands (if not millions) of creative entrepreneurs out there – that is so many new faces with incredible backgrounds and stories to share!! I want to use social media to help me make those connections, and also rely on my current connections to open doors to even more.
Continuing to prioritize both a physical atmosphere & brand culture at our in-person conference & within our online membership community that is inclusive & comfortable
Our organization has been striving to create a space welcoming to all for years, and will continue to strive to do so.
A few examples of ways we are working to actively seek an inclusive physical space at our conference include but are not limited to:
- Proving pumping/nursing moms a private and clean room to accommodate their needs
- Working with attendees with disabilities to ensure proper needs are met (examples include but are not limited to: learning disabilities and physical disabilities)
- Priority seating for those who require to sit in a specific location (example: needing to sit in the front, needing an aisle seat, etc.)
- Providing meals for a variety of dietary restrictions
- Following up with all attendees & educators after the conference to gain constructive feedback on ways we can continue to actively improve our conference space & offerings
A few examples of ways we are working to actively seek an inclusive online space for our community include but are not limited to:
- Quarterly survey for members to provide valuable feedback on ways we can continue to actively improve & ensuring their needs are being met
- Continuing to make inclusive brand imagery & copy a priority when it comes to the overall online brand presence of our organization
- Behind-the-scroll conversations (via DM, email and phone) with diverse members of our community to continue to learn more about their experiences & ways that we, as an organization, can continue to invite them in
We believe diversity and inclusivity is vital for all organizations to acknowledge and actively participate in. We are excited about the future of our brand and looking forward to continuing to prioritize this within our in person experience and our online community! We recognize that we are constantly learning and growing in this area. Unfortunately, we know that some have been hurt by a perceived lack of diversity and inclusivity and for that we are sorry. Our hope is that our intent will be very clear moving forward and we can all continue to learn & grow together to create a stronger, more impactful community for all who are creative at heart.