Diversity and Inclusion Best Practices: Gala Guests


Championing diversity and inclusion is a big undertaking, but it can start with a simple shift in our perspectives.

With a slight change in behavior and a little intention, we can each make a positive diversity and inclusion impact.

Have an extra ticket to a community event or upcoming fundraiser? It’s a perfect chance to practice becoming a diversity and inclusion champion. Rather than leaving the ticket in your desk drawer or inviting your best friend, consider challenging yourself to invite someone who comes from a different place than you.

Gala table setting

However, before you rush out and start passing out tickets like Oprah during a holiday giveaway, consider these tips.

Diversity & Inclusion Champion Just a person with an extra ticket
Who to Ask: Since you’re already a D&I Champion, you have already picked up on the interests of those around you. Consider who would find the event interesting and use it as a launching opportunity. You have an extra ticket burning in your pocket and consider all the people who owe you “one.”
The Ask: “I know you are interested in ______ and I happen to have an extra ticket to their event next week. I’d love to introduce you to some of the people who will be there.” “Hey, I have an extra ticket to this thing next week. How about you come with me since I went with you to that other one last month?”
Before the Gala: Taking a guest with you to a gala includes making sure they are prepared. Mention throughout the week people they may meet. Talk about opportunities that could come out of the evening. Discuss attire and flow of the evening if possible. Maybe a reminder that it’s happening.
At the Event: Be a connector. Introduce your guest to people in attendance that may have common ground. Consider ways your guest could get more engaged if they want to. Everyone fends for themselves.
After the Event: Follow up with your guest to see if they need any help connecting with anyone they met at the event. You now owe your friend.

Being a diversity and inclusion champion takes some prep work and thought. In order to be successful, it also requires extra steps and engagement.

The intent is not to increase the diversity profile at your table for that evening. The intent is to open the doors and windows of opportunity for someone from a background other than yours and to help them make connections that they would not have the opportunity to make otherwise.

“Potential is universal. Opportunity is not.” – Wes Moore, author of The Other Wes Moore