MPI Blog

From the CEO

Harassment Is Not Tolerated at MPI


With the recent troubling flurry of stories in the news about sexual harassment in Hollywood, politics and the workplace, and the growing number of #MeToo stories being shared across social media, my instinctual reaction was to speak to my young adult daughters about this issue. As I shared in my column from the September 2017 issue of The Meeting Professional, I am a self-professed overprotective father and as such, I continue to remind each of my five children to exercise caution— “be smart, be safe and be aware.”

My second reaction was to check our governance documents to ensure MPI’s commitment to continuing to cultivate a harassment-free environment for our members, staff, partners and the broader MPI global community is clearly articulated. The MPI Principles of Professionalism currently addresses sexual harassment in broad terms with the following guideline.

Respecting Diversity:

  • Embrace and foster an inclusive business climate of respect for all peoples regardless of national origin, race, religion, sex, marital status, age, sexual orientation, physical or mental impairment.

While this is a meaningful and strong statement, I think it is important that we make our position clear – MPI will not tolerate harassment of any kind at events we organize, whether by MPI Global or by our chapters, or in our workplace. Accordingly, MPI will refresh our Principles of Professionalism to include specific language that speaks to our position against harassment and will present the updated guidelines to our international board of directors for approval during the first board meeting scheduled in January 2018.

In addition, we will provide annual harassment prevention training to staff, boards and chapter leaders. Since MPI’s volunteer leaders are responsible for representing MPI in local communities around the world, it is important they understand what harassment is and feel empowered to speak up and report instances of harassment to MPI Global.

The bottom line is I want our community to feel safe and comfortable. Harassment of any kind, whether toward women or men, is not welcome within any MPI environment. Be on the lookout for our updated Principles of Professionalism early next year.

About the Author

Paul Van Deventer
President & Chief Executive Officer at Meeting Professionals International

Paul Van Deventer joined the MPI Global Team in April 2013 as President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO). In this role, he leads the strategic direction of both MPI’s global association and the MPI Foundation, with responsibility for managing its global staff, operating budget, membership programs and community services.