Inflection Point, Are We Motivated to Change In Our Industry?

Presenter: Cindy Brewer, Faith Morris, Jon Brown, Diane Ashley, Velvet Graham

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From convening, listening and hiring, to creating meaningful systems and safe spaces, event agency LEO Events shares a real, timely and personal look at transforming an industry by first transforming itself. What does building a model for success look like, and what are the real steps to get there? Join LEO team members as they host a candid conversation with representatives from the National Civil Rights Museum on the sometimes right, and often wrong, first steps in creating lasting change.

You will learn:

  • Tips to hire, train and continually engage a diverse staff at all levels of the company
  • How to meaningfully address systematic racism and injustice with staff, vendors and clients
  • What the difference is between culture and chemistry and how to ensure diversity and inclusion are organically a part of both
  • To tap the industry’s vast resources and connections in order to create opportunity and change for people of color

Presenters:

Cindy Brewer
Principal, LEO Events
Cindy has more than 25 years’ experience in hospitality, destination marketing and management, event planning, and public relations. As Principal of LEO, Cindy oversees all external and internal marketing, business development and finance, and philanthropic efforts. She got her start in the events industry in tourism sales with attractions, golf resorts, and the Hard Rock Cafe. Eventually she managed parades, festivals, and corporate events for the iconic Beale Street. Since co-founding LEO, she has overseen major events including the grand opening of Bass Pro Shops in the Pyramid, as well as the 50th anniversary commemoration for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., alongside the National Civil Rights Museum. Cindy has been named “Smart Women in Meetings” by Smart Meetings Magazine; “Top 25 Super Women in Business” by Memphis Business Journal; and Inside Memphis Business Magazine Power Player.

Faith Morris
Chief Marketing & External Affairs Officer, National Civil Rights Museum
As Chief Marketing & External Affairs Officer for the National Civil Rights Museum, Faith leads the museum’s communications, branding, advertising, audience engagement and revenue generation. She was one of the key drivers of the Museum’s MLK50 Commemoration, which lured 110 national and international media outlets to Memphis, Tennessee and engaged community, organizational, corporate, and civic partners all over the world in commemorative activities. Faith additionally concepts and produces several of the Museum’s signature events including the annual Freedom Award that honors individuals who have contributed greatly to advancing civil and human rights. She also drives museum attendance and keeps the museum in the news and top-of-mind achieving billions in audience reach. Faith has been named “Smart Women in Meetings” by Smart Meetings Magazine; “Top Women in PR” by PR News; and “Top 100 Interesting and Influential Individuals” by ii100 Magazine.

Jon Brown
Event Operations Manager, LEO Events
As Manager of Event Operations, Jon comes from a wide variety of experience in event management, ranging from restaurants and academia to Fortune 500 companies. His primary focus is on destination management services and local corporate and non-profit events, including sales, maintaining vendor, hotelier and industry partnerships, client site visits, proposal writing, turn-key program management and operational support. He has achieved his Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) certification by the Convention Industry Council and is an active member of the Memphis chapter of Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI). Jon has been recognized as one of the top ten “Young Memphis” professionals by the Memphis Chamber of Commerce, and most recently as a “Top 25 Young Event Pro to Watch” by Special Events Magazine.

Diane T. Ashley
CEO, DTA Diversity Counts
Diane T. Ashley is the CEO of DTA Diversity Counts, a corporate diversity and inclusion advisory firm she founded in 2019 following her retirement from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York (FRBNY) after 20+ years developing and directing the implementation of transformative initiatives for diversity and inclusion with global Citigroup and FRBNY. Appointed as FRBNY’s founding Chief Diversity Officer, she launched the Office of Diversity and Inclusion in 2007. Her unit served as the operational model for the other Banks of the Federal Reserve System set to establish similar departments. Beyond the boardroom, Diane plays a robust leadership role in vital community outreach and successful fundraising efforts by nonprofit philanthropic organizations, including Women in Need, The Links, Inc., and The Doll League, Inc.

Velvet Graham
Senior Director, Events, Community Relations and Culture & Inclusion, Service Master
Velvet is Senior Director, Events, Community Relations and Culture & Inclusion for Memphis-based ServiceMaster (NYSE: SERV), where she plans and executes more than 100 annual events, both internal and external and domestic and international. She also leads the company’s corporate citizenship activities throughout North America. Since joining ServiceMaster in 1995, she’s held numerous roles within the organization, beginning as Manager of the company’s corporate travel program. Under her leadership, the company re-imagined and re-invigorated its nearly 90-year commitment to community service and has introduced a number of new initiatives. Velvet is a U.S. Air Force veteran who served on active military duty in Illinois and Japan. She currently serves on the board of directors of Habitat for Humanity of Greater Memphis.

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