By: Mary Tucker, Sr. PR/Communications Manager
B. Murphy, CEM is a member of the National Sales Group of the Fern Exposition Services. He is based in Alexandria, VA and has been involved with conventions, exhibits, and the meetings industry for over 20 years.
B. is very active with several industry organizations including PCMA (Professional Convention Management Association), MPI (Meeting Professionals International), SGMP (Society of Government Meeting Professionals), NCBMP (National Coalition of Black Meeting Planners), NLMP (Network of Latino Meeting Professionals), ASAE (American Society of Association Executives), AMPs (Association of Meeting Professionals), RHMP(Reston Herndon Meeting Planners) and IAEE (International Association for Exhibition and Events®).
B. received his CEM designation in 2013 and became a member of the CEM faculty soon after. He is also a past chairperson of the CEM Commission. B. is still teaching CEM certification courses nationwide and throughout the world, most recently in Bangkok, Thailand where he was asked to come back a third time, prior to COVID and virtually in Taiwan.
B. is very instrumental in maintaining relationships with convention and visitors bureaus, as well as associations across the country, thereby giving Fern Exposition Services a nationwide presence. Here, he shares with IAEE his vision for advancing diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) within the exhibitions and events industry.
IAEE: What inspired you to serve on the IAEE Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee?
B.: As soon as I heard that IAEE was establishing a DE&I committee, I knew that I wanted to be a part of it. Obviously, I am a person who strongly believes not just in the “notion” of DE&I, but in putting it into practice in our everyday lives. I hope that some of my own experiences can help to educate and motivate others to practice – as well as preach – DE&I. For me, it all comes down to “ACCEPTANCE.”
IAEE: What has been your experience/observations with how the industry addresses DE&I?
B.: In all honesty I have seen, over the years, some very positive movement in this arena within our industry. The good thing, for me, is that it seems to have been happening all along, not just as a result of recent news-making events. I still believe that we are blessed to work in this industry.
IAEE: What overall advances would you like to see in the industry regarding DE&I?
B.: More diversity in leadership roles within organizations in our industry. Particularly as it relates to those young leaders that are coming behind people like me, who will be retiring sooner than later. Who knows? We may one day see a minority or a female President of IAEE! (David, you can go golfing with me!)
IAEE: How do you think that companies can help advance DE&I?
B.: I believe that companies go as leadership goes. Therefore, it starts at the top. I am currently reading a book called The 7 Simple Habits of Inclusive Leaders by Melissa Majors. I think it’s a “must read” for people at the top.
IAEE: What suggestions do you have for individuals who would like to learn more about and/or help increase awareness and advances in DE&I within the industry?
B.: Simple – check your biases (and we ALL have them) at the door. Choose to treat everyone with a “clean slate” unless, or until, they prove otherwise. It boils down to a statement I have on my desk that I read every day and it simply asks: “Am I the kind of person I would want as my best friend?” How would you answer that question?
IAEE’s goal is to engage as many members as possible who are willing share their experience to our community on the importance of DE&I. If you have a story to tell, please email Karen Gonzales, CMP, and we will spotlight your experience.