Taking Action with Carrie Abernathy

If there is one person on our podcast that saw something and went towards it, it would be Carrie Abernathy. Carrie has the ability to see an issue and then try to be a part of the solution. If you want to listen to a go – getter who is making a difference, this episode is for you!

Tell us about you.

I am a 15 year event industry veteran. I have been in the meeting planning side for 15 years in all different roles and sectors. Now I am back at corporate full time. People probably know me best for founding the Association for Women in events and starting the event industry sexual harassment task force. The association for Women in events is a community for women’s empowerment and elevating women in the events industry.

What prompted the start of that?

It was about 6 years ago and I wasn’t finding the women’s centric resources I wanted from the industry groups. No fault to them. I was really seeking that and was really challenging the norm of the industry 78% of them are made up of women but 3-5 were in the C-Suite at the time. Why are we not in leadership positions and how can we get there. I joined forces with a few other women in the industry. I brought us together and asked if there is something else we can do. Do we challenge the other groups or do we start it ourselves. We thought a fresh perspective would be a really good idea. I bought the LLC and website the next day and launched into it without a game plan it’s become a huge community. It was just an idea that happened and spiraled up, it’s been amazing.

How do you tailor to our side where there are not many females (Production)?

At our last conference, we had a full female production team running the show. It was fully set up and run by women. It was an amazing experience. We didn’t really want to cater to any specific group within the industry, we weren’t looking at tech, hotel, planners, or vendors. We were looking to elevate women in business. We were providing women with many different resources on how to elevate themselves, take care of themselves. Generic across the board resources for women in business.

What are some takeaways in regards to this piece of the conversation you would give people that you’ve learned?

With COVID, we have had to pivot like everyone else. We were a 5013C member based organization. As COVID ramped up we decided it wasn’t a sustainable model, we are not a member based organization anymore. If you search us on Facebook, we are now a free facebook community.

The events community sexual harassment task force that we started, many groups work with us, to keep us alive the events council picked up that group and the sexual harassment pledge. That will live on under EIC.

Tell us more about the task force.

If you’ll remember a year or two back the #meetingstoo was really trending. It garnered a lot of attention in the events industry and was all about eradicating sexual harassment in the work place at events. I decided that we needed to take that to the next level. Along with a lot of topics, it’s trendy and fun then all of a sudden it goes away, to make sure this really important topic didn’t go away, I asked the head of all these major industry organizations to come together and start a task force. We all came together and started putting out resources for sexual harassment in the work place.

How does the task force operate?

They have goals, they want a full committee. We had goals and certain things we wanted to achieve, now that it runs under EIC they meet quarterly, letting everyone know what they are doing. It’s a check in with each of the groups to make sure they are doing everything they can in the events world to eradicate sexual harassment.

Tell me more about A Woman with Drive.

It ties together my love of all things leadership and travel with golf. This is a super new project for me, part blog, I’ve been asked to speak to golf courses and women’s organizations. I do a lot of talks on happiness. This is just a passion project for me. It’s fun and we will see where it goes.

During most of my talks on happiness, I talk about what we think will make us happy and what actually makes us happy, it’s different. I tie it into how we can do it virtually, how we can have virtual connections. I can’t give it away here or I’d give away my entire talk 😉

How have you help coach yourself through the mental struggles and continue to find that happiness?

For me it’s always taking action. Anytime something has come up, I’ve jumped in or started an organization or group for it. I like to take action. After everything with George Floyd I talked to a friend in the industry and asked how we could continue the conversation. We started the Events from Black to White talk cast that happens every Monday for 30 minutes. It’s just a frank authentic discussion, I try to bring and weave authenticity into everything I do. It’s unscripted authentic discussion about the state of inequality in our world. It’s humbling and refreshing.

* www.awomanwithdrive.com
* https://www.crowdcast.io/eventsb2w
* https://www.ceoaction.com/pledge/ceo-pledge/
* https://www.facebook.com/groups/111388846206244/

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