TTS Inclusive Event Pillars
TTS engages in events to recruit and build awareness about TTS products and services. At TTS, the work of diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA) is a collective effort: every employee makes a difference. DEIA should be a part of everything we do. These inclusive event pillars are designed to help TTS:
- Create intentionally inclusive events
- Share our expectation that TTS employees thoughtfully consider what speaking engagements they accept
How to use this document: When creating, hosting, or participating in an event, please follow the criteria below. Work with your TTS Outreach Liaison on any questions.
Building Blocks of Inclusive Events
- There is a diverse set of speakers. This starts with an overall speaker roster that is diverse in gender and race (1). However, there are multiple facets of personal and social identity to consider - ability, age, socioeconomic status, and much more. Additionally, there are no all white or all male panels. There is a long history, especially in STEM fields, of all male and all white panels.
- Speakers from underrepresented groups are invited to speak on their subject matter expertise. Frequently, folks from underrepresented groups are invited to speak about their identities, rather than their area of technical expertise. Speakers may opt to share their lived experiences - but it should not be an expectation.
- If there is an identity-based topic, the featured speakers have that identity. A good mindset is the disability rights slogan “nothing about us, without us.”
- There is a code of conduct with an incident response plan. Event organizers should clearly state what is expected of attendees and speakers, and how they will respond when problems arise. Link to the TTS Code of Conduct.
- The event space is accessible - both virtual and physical spaces. Accessible events offer: closed captioning, American Sign Language interpretation, reserved front row seating for people who need to sit closer to the stage, and wheelchair accessible spaces. Social events should have places to sit down throughout the space.
Participants have a place to share their pronouns. For in-person events, include a space on name tags. For virtual, share instructions on how a person can modify their display name to include pronouns.
If you are invited to speak at an event where attendees pay to attend:
- The organizers offer financial support for attendees who cannot afford to pay their own way. This might look like free tickets, discounted tickets, or travel scholarships.
- Travel, meals, and lodging are provided for non-TTS speakers. When a conference does not cover costs for speakers, it often results in “Pay to Speak” - where speakers sacrifice their own money to participate. Please note that this recommendation is about non-TTS speakers: following federal policy around gifts, if you are approved to speak at an event, TTS will cover your travel, meals, and lodging. This guideline is about the event’s overall approach in ensuring others do not have to pay to speak.
What if I’ve been invited to speak, and the event is not inclusive? Depending on both the event circumstances and your identities, you could:
- Suggest the name of someone else who might be able to speak on the topic and/or join you in speaking.
- Recommend that the organizers modify the event - for example, if they cannot find an accessible venue, could the event be moved to a virtual setting?
- Decline the invitation, stating the reasons why.
Ultimately, the choice for accepting or declining an invitation rests with the TTS employee who has been invited to speak. We hope our external engagements reflect what we strive for within our organization.
We encourage you to talk with TTS Outreach if you have concerns about an event.
(1) Links or reference to hbr.org is for the information and convenience of the public, and does not constitute endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by the General Services Administration.