Expanding Inclusion & Diversity Engagement within FEI

Expanding Inclusion & Diversity Engagement within FEI
By John Bankhurst, Business Development Director, Salo LLC
The FEI Chicago Chapter is excited to introduce you to our newest initiative, our IDEA Committee.  Much like many of our own organizations, diversity and inclusion are important to the FEI Chicago Board. In order to drive a strong member experience for both new and existing members, the IDEA (Inclusion, Diversity & Engagement Awareness) Committee was formed this summer to build upon the great work of the Strategic Partnership Alliance (SPA) and the Diversity & Inclusion committee. FEI Chicago board member Sharada Sullivan from CBRE is serving as the chair of IDEA. The IDEA committee focuses on partnering with other FEI committees to achieve their goals and the goals of the chapter, while embracing diversity and inclusion to ensure an overall richer and more engaging experience.

For historical perspective, the SPA Committee, formed in 2008, worked to build diversity and inclusion within FEI Chicago – both in partnership with FEI national and through stand-alone local efforts.  The committee typically hosted three to four events per year focused on female and minority headline speakers.  These meetings provided a focused platform for showcasing diversity. Events were hosted by SPA, and all were welcome.

The primary focus of IDEA is to drive an Inclusive Culture, while Facilitating Member Connectivity.  We hope to increase the diversity of membership across all measures (gender, orientation, race, age, etc.). This includes both recruiting new members and retaining existing members.
D&I training for the newly formed IDEA committee was held in late August with inclusion experts from CBRE. The action plan for 2019-2020 are:
  • Educate: Host Unconscious Bias event for board and committee members.  Help us identify unconscious barriers to inclusion. (targeted for Fall 2019)
  • Partner:   Apply D&I lens to all FEI programming and events. IDEA committee members participate on each FEI Chicago committee.
  • Prioritize Member Experience: Create opportunities for lasting connections – Develop events based on member interests and other ways to connect, tailored to member interest and location (downtown and suburbs).
  • Measure Results: Measure Net Membership growth (decline) & event attendance.

As IDEA committee members are embedded in each of the FEI Chicago Chapter committees, diversity and inclusion is no longer a standalone activity, but an integral part of the mission of the FEI Chicago Chapter. Ultimately, each FEI Chicago member should take ownership of the mission of IDEA as you think about members for our Chapter. Please reach out to Sharada or any of the IDEA committee members if you have any questions or ideas for programming and/or events that you have.