Meetings Professionals International has a “Principles of Professionalism” code that covers discrimination, harassment, and ethics, spelling out guidelines for members’ business behavior. In light of the #MeToo movement, however, the association has given those principles some new teeth with the introduction of a confidential reporting system called MPICares.
In a message to the MPI community this week, MPI President and CEO Paul Van Deventer, explained the association’s thinking: “To ensure the vitality and sustainable health of our association, as well as the ongoing engagement of our volunteers, it is critical that MPI establishes harassment-free and safe environments that foster healthy exchanges, professional growth, and collaboration. We collectively share in the responsibility to create a safe, secure, and ethical community, including by steadfastly implementing a zero-tolerance policy to the types of misconduct that jeopardize our community values and/or are in conflict with our Principles of Professionalism. In support of that objective, we are implementing a confidential reporting system, called MPICares, which will improve transparency, enhance communication and empower you to raise issues and concerns.”
In the past, the association did not have a formalized or confidential process for members or employees to raise their concerns, or to provide other comments. The new process is run by a third-party rather than the association: NAVEX Global’s EthicsPoint system.
The new system was not a member-driven request, according to MPI, but rather an effort to improve communication and address the new anti-harassment climate. Drew Holmgreen, senior director of marketing and communications, says that when the association went looking for best practices it found that confidential comment lines are not common in the association world. He is not aware of any other meeting industry associations with such a system in place.