Discover this year's best virtual events focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion and learn how you can support and amplify the voices of those who need to be heard.
Many companies are pivoting to virtual events. More than 90% of event marketers plan to make virtual a key part of their strategy going forward. Additionally, 68% of marketers are planning to find a solution that can incorporate both in-person and virtual experiences into a hybrid event approach.
While we’ve seen big-name brands and publishers embrace virtual events, organizations focused on diversity and inclusion (D&I) are also going digital to connect with their audience and advance this worthwhile goal, which has become an even more urgent topic in workplaces across the country.
Here are 10 diversity and inclusion virtual events to know about in 2020 and what you can learn from them.
Source: Lesbians Who Tech
Event Date: June 22, 2020 - June, 26, 2020
Description: Taking place over five days in June, the (Not IRL) Pride Summit was the largest LGBTQ tech gathering in history, according to the conference’s organizers. The free community event offered virtual meetups and 103 sessions on topics ranging from “Centering Black Trans Folks in Activism and Tech” to “AI for Social Good.”
Why Attend: The event featured big-name speakers, including U.S. soccer legend Megan Rapinoe, Jen Wong, COO of Reddit, and Alicia Garza, co-founder of the Black Lives Matter movement. Many of the keynote speeches and breakout sessions are archived on the summit’s landing page, so you can engage with the content at your own convenience.
Check out additional LGBTQ virtual events for 2020 and 2021 here.
Event Date: July 13, 2020 - July 16, 2020
Description: Disability:IN, which works with 220 leading companies to achieve disability equity and inclusion, hosted a virtual three-day conference with more than 20 sessions, 175 speakers (including three Fortune 500 CEOs) and 3,000 attendees. The conference even featured a virtual exhibit hall where vendors could showcase products and services that could help companies make their workplaces more inclusive.
Why Attend: This conference demonstrates the importance of making your virtual content accessible for participants. Disability:IN ensured its exhibit booths, plenary and breakout sessions catered to the needs of its audience by offering a participant and accessibility guide to help attendees navigate the virtual experience and by providing the 68 exhibitors with virtual booths accessibility best practices and recommendations (Note: All content is available on-demand for conference registrants through the end of 2020. You also can follow the #disabilityadvantage hashtag on Twitter to see highlights.)
Source: Twitter UnidosUS
Event Date: July 27, 2020 - July 30, 2020
Description: Unidos US, the nation's largest Latino civil rights organization, hosted this free three-day virtual conference, which covered important issues in the Latino community, including economic and political empowerment and racial justice. Featured speakers included Senator Elizabeth Warren, Telemundo anchor José Diaz Balart and New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham.
Why Attend: For event marketers looking to hold similar events, Unidos US’s virtual conference shows how you can offer interesting content and a virtual expo where corporate sponsors can showcase their products and services in virtual booths — the perfect model for a hybrid events strategy. Though the conference has passed, you can view all the sessions on Unidos US’s YouTube channel.
Source: Opal Group
Event Date: Aug. 20, 2020 - Aug. 21, 2020
Description: The Opal Group, which organizes conferences in various industries, will host a two-day Diversity & Inclusion Virtual Summit where HR, D&I and talent management professionals will gather to collaborate and discuss recruitment, hiring and onboarding strategies.
Why Attend: The summit offers a compelling case study in virtual events. Opal Group plans to use virtual 3D to take traditional in-person networking digital (if you’ve always wanted your own avatar, now’s your chance).
Source: Leadership Convention
Event Date: August 21, 2020
Description: The National Association of Asian American Professionals (NAAAP) will host its annual conference virtually for the first time this year. With more than 25,000 members, NAAAP’s virtual convention will likely be one of the largest online gatherings of its kind.
Why Attend: The three-day convention is geared toward students, mid-career professionals, entrepreneurs and executives, so professionals of all stripes will find content that may appeal to them.
Event Date: Sept. 8, 2020 - Sept. 11, 2020
Description: Synchronicity, a conference focused on LGBTQ health, was originally scheduled for June, but conference organizers have decided to make the 7th annual event virtual. Thousands of healthcare providers, government officials, faith-based and community organizations are expected to attend the four-day virtual conference, lending their voices and perspectives to more than 60 sessions across 13 tracks.
Why Attend: While participants in the healthcare industry will be able to connect with like-minded peers to advance the health of marginalized communities, they’ll also earn 30 or more free continuing education credits. Attendees will also have the opportunity to connect virtually with other conference go-ers through special networking activities, bringing some of the benefits of an in-person conference to this virtual experience.
Source: Black Enterprise
Event Date: Sept. 23, 2020 - Sept. 24, 2020
Description: Women of Power in Tech (WPTech) is Black Enterprise magazine’s first ever virtual conference. The conference will feature presentations, workshops and coaching sessions to help attendees learn how they can upskill themselves to advance in the tech industry.
Why Attend: This isn’t your typical virtual conference. Billed as “an experience beyond Zoom,” WPTech is designed to give attendees as close to an in-person experience as possible. They’ll begin their conference experience in a virtual lobby, before heading over to the conference’s main stage to attend keynote speeches and one-on-one interviews with tech’s top influencers. On top of this, there’s a virtual recruitment hub where attendees can potentially find their next big job opportunity.
Event Date: Oct. 19, 2020 - Oct. 21, 2020
Description: Last year, Inclusion 2019 took place in New Orleans, but the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) has pivoted to not just a virtual event, but a three-day virtual experience that will feature 50 sessions covering eight topics around diversity and inclusion.
Why Attend: More than 1,000 diversity and inclusion leaders are expected to attend SHRM’s conference. As the country grapples with issues around social and racial justice, having an open, collaborative dialogue about how to tackle these issues in the workplace has never been more necessary for leaders who want to build diverse, high-performing teams.
Source: The Conference Board
Event Date: Nov. 12, 2020 - Nov. 16, 2020
Description: This conference was originally scheduled for the end of 2019, but as it shifts to this fall, the Conference Board, a non-profit research group that serves 1,200 private and public sector member organizations, is focused on ensuring D&I leaders and C-level executives participating in the event can engage in timely, insightful conversations about how to transform their organizations for the better. The Conference Board is even adding several sessions to its agenda for this very purpose.
Why Attend: Zoom-based sessions called “D&I Overtime” will allow attendees to engage in town hall-style forums with industry experts on topics that include race, privilege and belonging. These sessions present an invaluable opportunity to have difficult conversations that many leaders may not yet feel comfortable participating in within their organizations. This is just one way they can get more comfortable and prepare for these discussions.
Source: Women’s Leadership Conference
Event Date: Dec. 3, 2020 - Dec. 4, 2020
Description: The Conference Board also will host a two-day virtual conference focused on gender equity in the workplace, where global leaders from Procter & Gamble, the U.S. Navy, Harvard University and other organizations will share the steps they’re taking to empower women leaders — and how other organizations can do the same.
Why Attend: You can participate in sessions live or on-demand. You also can interact with other participants in the virtual attendee lounge, chat with speakers in small group roundtables or check out vendors in the virtual exhibit hall.
Participate in Diversity & Inclusion Virtual Events in 2020
If you’re looking to engage in deep, meaningful conversations about diversity and inclusion, the 10 conferences and events listed above offer compelling content and the opportunity to interact with industry professionals and leading experts focused on advancing this goal.
The insights, connections and networking opportunities these events offer will benefit industry professionals who want to access knowledge they can use to improve their organizations and be better at their jobs, and event marketers looking for examples to mimic for their own virtual events.
Curious to see how events will evolve with virtual and in-person experiences? Check out our in-depth guide on Going Hybrid to see how you can advance your event strategy.