LGBT Meeting Professionals Association Celebrates Meetings and Event Professionals During Pride Month and Beyond

June 25, 2021

Organizations far and wide are celebrating Pride Month by showing their support for the LGBT+ community through awareness-raising efforts, fostering more diverse and inclusive cultures and supporting progressive change. But for the LGBT Meeting Professionals Association, Pride is a year-round effort to change minds, hearts and attitudes.

As the only organization solely committed to connecting, advancing and empowering the LGBT+ meeting professional community, the LGBT MPA works to represent and uplift LGBT voices, educate the industry on a broad range of topics pertaining to inclusion and diversity and provide a safe space for its members to grow and connect. 

According to LGBT MPA Immediate Past Chairman Jim Clapes, who also works as director of events at M3 Meet, the event industry’s visibility makes it the perfect platform to showcase inclusion and help shift perceptions and attitudes.

“Aside from the recognition of LGBT+ folks and the celebration of our collective identity that occurs during Pride Month, it is so important for the meetings and events industry to uplift LGBT+ voices due to the visibility we have in showcasing inclusion,” Clapes said. 

He continued, “What we do touches people from all walks of life, all around the world, every single day. If we as a collective industry can work toward diversification and committing to some very simple goals…there is truly the ability to create a shift in the attitude and perception of our attendees.”

At events, these goals can include:

  • Establishing gender-neutral restrooms at event venues; 
  •  Providing attendees with the option of preferred gender pronouns on their name badges;
  • Considering and featuring LGBT+ folks in event marketing strategy and promotional materials; 
  • Thinking about supplier diversity in sourcing and vendor relationships

For Pride Month, the association launched its own celebration: a social media campaign spotlighting LGBT+ meetings and event professionals working to advance inclusion in meetings and events. Thirty allies, mentors and connectors who were nominated by their industry peers are being honored throughout June across all social platforms, as well as in newsletters and on the organization’s website.

To close out its Pride Month celebrations on June 30, LGBT MPA will host its inaugural Day of Diversity, created to promote and encourage self-affirmation, dignity, equality and increased visibility of diversity throughout the events industry.

“This all-day event will be filled with informative sessions hosted by organizations from around the world and feature inspiring speakers from all walks of our industry,” Clapes explained. “In our effort to make this experience financially accessible to everyone and spotlight inclusion throughout the meetings and events community, you can enjoy access to ‘Day of Diversity’ with any donation amount to LGBT MPA.”

He added, “Every initiative we choose to take on is designed to empower and uplift our members, driving us closer to creating a global events community where all are equal, included and welcome.” 

For a detailed and updated agenda, as well as more information on speakers, speakers, content and event information, go here.  

Above and Beyond

Even though planning a Pride Month campaign is a great way to show support for the LGBT+ community, there is so much that event organizations and planners can do to help create a more welcoming industry, Clapes said.  

“Start by having a dialogue with your manager(s) and colleagues [and] get their perspective on implementing more inclusive practices at your organization’s meetings and events,” Clapes suggested. “Even if the LGBT+ community is not directly impacted by the work of your particular organization or your LGBT+ attendance is minimal, be an ally. Create an environment at your next meeting where everyone feels respected and represented.”

The easiest way to do that is to join LGBT MPA, Clapes added. 

“Membership is free and offers education and networking opportunities that will help change the way you look at your next meeting,” he said. “For those more seasoned planners/suppliers who have a deeper understanding of inclusion within our industry, never stop driving those conversations with new colleagues or contacts. As an association planner, I work with hundreds of new people at new venues and in new cities each year. Never is there a time that I am not pushing to create experiences where inclusion and diversity are the very foundation.”


Don’t miss any event-related news: Sign up for our weekly e-newsletter HERE and engage with us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram!

Add new comment

Partner Voices
Overview: The award-winning Orange County Convention Center (OCCC) goes the extra mile to make every day extraordinary by offering customer service excellence and industry-leading partnerships. From their dedicated in-house Rigging team to their robust Exhibitor Services, The Center of Hospitality brings your imagination to life by helping you host unforgettable meetings and events. With more than 2 million square feet of exhibit space, world-class services and a dream destination, we are committed to making even the most ambitious conventions a reality. In October 2023, the Orange County Board of County Commissioners voted to approve allocating Tourist Development Tax funding for the $560 million Phase 5A completion of the OCCC. The Convention Way Grand Concourse project will include enhancements to the North-South Building, featuring an additional 60,000 square feet of meeting space, an 80,000- square-foot ballroom and new entry to the North-South Building along Convention Way. “We are thrilled to begin work on completing our North-South Building which will allow us to meet the growing needs of our clients,” said OCCC Executive Director Mark Tester. “As an economic driver for the community, this project will provide the Center with connectivity and meeting space to host more events and continue to infuse the local economy with new money and expanding business opportunities.” Amenities: The Center of Hospitality goes above and beyond by offering world-class customer service and industry-leading partnerships. From the largest convention center Wi-Fi network to custom LAN/WAN design, the Center takes pride in enhancing exhibitor and customer experience.  The OCCC is the exclusive provider of electricity (24-hour power at no additional cost), aerial rigging and lighting, water, natural gas and propane, compressed air, and cable TV services. Convenience The Center is at the epicenter of the destination, with an abundance of hotels, restaurants, and attractions within walking distance. Pedestrian bridges connect both buildings to more than 5,200 rooms and is within a 15-minute drive from the Orlando International Airport. The convenience of the location goes hand-in-hand with top notch service to help meet an event’s every need. Gold Key Members The OCCC’s Gold Key Members represent the best of the best when it comes to exceptional service and exclusive benefits for clients, exhibitors and guests. The Center’s Gold Key memberships with Universal Orlando Resort, SeaWorld Orlando and Walt Disney World greatly enhance meeting planner and attendee experiences offering world-renowned venues, immersive experiences and creative resources for their events. OCCC Events: This fiscal year, the OCCC is projected to host 168 events, 1.7 million attendees, and $2.9 billion in economic impact.  The Center’s top five events during their 2022-2023 fiscal year included:  AAU Jr. National Volleyball Championships 2023 200,000 Attendees $257 Million in Economic Impact MEGACON 2023 160,000 Attendees $205 Million in Economic Impact Open Championship Series 2023 69,500 Attendees $89 Million in Economic Impact Sunshine Classic 2023 42,000 Attendees $54 Million in Economic Impact Premiere Orlando 2023 42,000 Attendees $108 Million in Economic Impact