Dear Members and Colleagues,Over the last year, we’ve continually shared our Diversity + Inclusion efforts with you and feel it’s time to talk more openly about our journey. We recognize that WIPA has not historically been as inclusive as it should be. We have not represented all types of weddings and wedding professionals in our marketing and social media, and we have not prioritized inclusivity training for leaders. Our response to social crises has been limited and our correspondence has not always been thoughtful. We have taken very seriously the feedback we have received from professionals that have felt excluded by WIPA and we are committed to growing our understanding, improving our practices, and reflecting our diverse community. Here are some ways we plan to do this:
Our focus here is twofold- supporting our leaders and members with D+I education, while also being mindful of introducing our members to diverse experts across the industry.This spring, we have partnered with Equally Wed Pro, who has graciously donated certification courses to our D+I Committee. The Board is also in discussions about the feasibility of purchasing additional certifications for International Board members + Chapter Presidents. Additionally, we have given our full support to chapters to pursue D+I education and training as they see fit.
This year, we applied for a grant from the Timothy SY Lam Foundation, who has generously offered us funds to apply toward virtual D+I education for our members. Our D+I committee is currently narrowing down a list of options to propose to the Board.
Additionally, we have entered into a partnership with the National Society for Black Wedding + Event Pros and shortly, their President will attend our Education Committee to share more about their Speaker Talent Roster.
Our Social Media
Currently, our D+I Committee is working towards an ongoing content calendar that will be shared with chapters shortly. Communications and Marketing has been working diligently to streamline the process so that the recommended content will be made readily available to chapters as soon as completed.
Additionally, there are times we have responded slowly to national matters. Currently, a member of our D+I committee, who is certified in crisis communication by FEMA, is working on future recommendations. Further, our Chapters have been given full autonomy with their own accounts to respond to matters of local and national importance, as they see fit.
All outgoing correspondence will be respectful, period. This expectation has been made clear to our staff and leadership, and there will be zero tolerance for anything less than this.Above all, our hope collectively is for WIPA to be a welcoming environment to all those who want to take part. Our journey is not going to be perfect, but it will be sincere.
Please reach out to us any time with any questions or concerns you may have. We are here to listen.
On Behalf of the Entire WIPA International Board,
2021 WIPA President