Transforming transform the sector

Reflections on Equity and Inclusion at a National Conference - Process Report


How we Integrated Equity and Inclusion into our Conference Organizing

Like many large events, Transform the Sector 2017
was organized by a small team. Our core staff
consisted of three full-time-equivalent employees
when we began planning the conference, and grew to five by the time of the event. We knew that addressing structural barriers to inclusion for a conference of this scale would require more resources than our team had available, and we secured those resources through two crucial partnerships: the Carold Institute and Stanford’s Digital Civil Society Lab.

Four months before the event, the Carold Institute
provided funds for us to make the conference more
inclusive. We hired a consultant on a 100-hour contract to lead this work and began planning a bursary program to support participants who faced financial and other barriers to attending. Furthermore, the Carold Institute’s Board President participated actively in this work, contributing 20 plus hours as a thought partner.

Three months before the event, we established that the bursary funds available would be insufficient to support participants from across a full range of Canadian geographies, and we secured additional funds from Stanford’s Digital Civil Society Lab to fill this gap. Ultimately, these funds allowed us to dramatically increase the number of bursaries awarded.