D&I History
This would be Custom Page 9 hero text.

What began as a strategic initiative and commitment to diversity and inclusion in late 2014 is now a vital component of Associations North. We invite you to join the organization as we continue our diversity, equity and inclusion journey. Our goal is to be a resource, share our work and help navigate these challenges. Here are a few highlights you may discover within our documented journey:

  • Associations North Diversity and Inclusion statement
  • History with resources, surveys, work plans and more
  • Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) toolkit


Foundational Stage

Fall, 2014

Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) approved as a MSAE Board Strategic Initiative

D&I Task Force formed

Melvin Tennant, CAE, Meet Minneapolis and Dara Rudick, CAE, Management HQ to Co-Chair


Winter/Spring, 2015

Day long session on diversity with Alexis Terry, ASAE | Download ASAE PPT | Download Personal Diversity Paradigm Exercise

Board approved changing D&I Task Force to a committee; goals:

• Identify the business case/perspective for diversity and inclusiveness in organizations

• Strive to be a model for other organizations to exemplify

• Strive to have membership be reflective of community at large

• Identify any existing barriers to participation

Summer, 2015

Completed ASAE Association Inclusion Index Survey | Download Index Survey Results

D&I Statement – Board requests more information and detail about what approving; wants summary of purpose, goals, measurements, role committee will play and what time/resources are needed
| Download Board PPT

Formative Stage

Fall, 2015

D&I Statement and Work Plan approved by MSAE Board of Directors; also added “Inclusion” as a Core Value | Download D&I Statement and Work Plan

Board approved $5,000 from reserves for board/staff training

D&I Scholarship opportunity - new

Ongoing – diverse speaker and communications articles/resources

Winter, 2016

Offered D&I Sponsorship for first time; new sponsor: Meet Minneapolis, continuing to look for funding sources for future work

Spring/Summer 2016

Creative Catalysts selected to conduct membership D&I survey and provide training retreat for board of directors, committee and staff | RFP | Board PPT | Survey Summary

Fall/Winter, 2016

Leadership Conference includes D&I session with Beth Zemsky and board member Mark Salter provides speech of his D&I journey at lunch

Focus article - October, 2016

Fall/Winter, 2017

Terry Watson keynotes Leadership Conference and receives outstanding feedback (5.7/6.0)

$100 to the winner of the race video (sharing)

Created Diversity & Inclusion history timeline (this page) to share our journey and provide D&I resources

D&I toolkit for members

Burt Blanchard co-presents Association 101 with Jennifer Schlueter.


Future Stage

Winter/Spring, 2018

Co-Chairs - Andrea Jauli, Industrial Fabrics Association International and Paul Hanscom, CAE, Ewald Consulting take over for long-time Co-Chairs Melvin Tennant, CAE and Dara Rudick, CAE


  • Sponsorship development
  • Workforce development
  • Build D&I resources for members
Summer/Fall, 2018

Sponsorship outreach to association members to expand Diversity & Inclusion effort, over 15 members contribute $500+ and SMG/U.S. Bank Stadium signs on as 3-Year Advancer Sponsor

Hosted Creating a Welcoming Environment World Cafe program with Michelle Mason, CAE

Continuing to bring in more diverse speakers, such as Jesse Ross at Leadership Conference

Developed Associations North Diversity & Inclusion (ANDI) Leadership Pilot Program to launch in January, 2019, Amy Tolbert selected to facilitate program

Winter/Spring 2019

Launched ANDI Leadership Pilot Program, a complimentary leadership and mentorship program for diverse members of the association community

Continued efforts on:

  • Sponsorship development
  • Workforce development
  • Build D&I resources for members


Summer/Fall, 2019

Associations North Diversity & Inclusion (ANDI) Leadership Pilot Program graduates first class, see video

Hosted D&I keynote at Leadership Conference with Team Dynamics: Role, Goal, Soul

Continue to provide D&I articles and resources for members

Winter/Spring, 2020

Launched 2020 ANDI Leadership program with five participants and Amy Tolbert and Janice Downing with ECCO International as facilitators

Created a Diversity + Inclusion Meetup Group to connect diverse members of the association community

Continuing to provide education and resources for members in the area of Diversity + Inclusion

Join the conversation! To participate in our D&I efforts, email Sarah