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Q & A with Chair of MPI Diversity & Inclusion Task Force

Diversity Champion

Antwone Stigall, CMP, DES, has been a member of MPI since 2013 and is passionate about promoting diversity and inclusion within our global community. He currently serves as the MPI Tennessee Chapter’s Vice President of West Region and chair of the new Diversity & Inclusion Task Force for MPI Global. As president and founder of West Wing Events in Memphis, TN Stigall leverages his expertise to design and manage meetings, special events and conferences for clients such as Teach For America, TED Talks and Paycation Travel.

What is the objective of the new MPI Diversity & Inclusion Task Force?

Diversity and inclusion is an important priority for MPI, not only for the team at MPI Global, but for many of our members. The objective of the task force is to assist in understanding the multicultural communities underrepresented in the meetings industry and our membership to help build relationships and foster an environment for education and inclusion. We have been charged with raising awareness around issues that may impact minority groups within the industry and provide guidance for MPI’s diversity initiatives and engagement on diversity-related issues.

Why did you volunteer to serve as chair of the task force?

To be candid, I was “voluntold” for the chair role, but happily accepted. Last year, I offered my services to wherever MPI leadership thought I could best serve and soon thereafter was happily assigned to the task force.

What are the priorities for the task force this year?

The volunteer members of our task force have all shared some very interesting observations about the state of diversity and inclusion within the MPI community and our global industry. We have brainstormed a whole list of ideas and suggestions for MPI Global to consider, but we know change takes time and have narrowed our focus to three areas: (1) conducting research to better understand members’ thoughts on diversity and inclusion; (2) collecting best practices for chapter boards to follow; and (3) providing education for chapter leaders.

Where do you hope to see this task force in three years?

In three years, I hope to see this task force being the pinnacle and leading force of change in not just our organization, but in our industry -- publishing best practices, having the internal discussion to make external global impact, adding value to MPI’s suite of educational offerings, and doing so much more. Keeping in mind that DIVERSITY is being invited to the dance, while INCLUSION is being asked to dance. This task force will be responsible in making sure we’re all dancing and oh do I love to dance.

Why should MPI members consider volunteering for MPI – either at the chapter level or for Global?

Now that I have volunteered at both the Chapter level and Global level, I will say that for any member out there thinking about it, find your fit and just do it. It may take a few tries or you may find the perfect role the first go around, but it’s important that you at least try. Volunteering has allowed me to gain experience and knowledge that I probably wouldn’t have received until years from now in my current and past roles. You get a chance to act in a C-Suite role through your chapter boards and those experiences can prepare you to take on a C-Suite role in your own organization or at least an opportunity to enjoy a nice seat at the table.

About the Author

Blair Potter
Blair Potter

Blair Potter is managing editor for The Meeting Professional. He likes toys and collects cats (or is it the other way around?).