Ariane Brusselmans has been working in global health associations for over 15 years in various roles. She has managed complex educational and event programming and an extensive portfolio of humanitarian and philanthropic programs. Currently, she is the Director of Conferences for the International AIDS Society. Through her work, she is reminded of inequalities and inequities in access to healthcare every day. She is particularly sensitive to the topic and strives to give a voice to vulnerable populations within her capacity.

Ariane Brusselmans
Director Conferences, International AIDS Society

What inspired you to work in the international association sector? Would you recommend this career to others? 

For me, what inspires me every day are the people I work with. I am surrounded by passionate individuals who are driven to change the status quo and make the world a better place. Ultimately, that is what gives me joy at work. 

No matter where you work, I would recommend anyone to pursue a career that brings you joy and allows you to work alongside authentic people.

How do you/ your association #EmbraceEquity? What are the challenges you encounter? Did you solve them?

Promoting equity is a challenging topic, as systemic racism, inequities, and unconscious biases still exist on all levels. However, due to the history of the AIDS epidemic, equity has been a top priority for our association for many years. We have the opportunity to work with a passionate and vocal community and take a conscious approach to diversity and inclusion. We develop measures for engaging key populations in our activities and apply diversity criteria in our selection processes. 

It requires a daily effort that involves everyone, including trainings, to ensure that we remain conscious of our biases and keep equity at the forefront of our agendas. While we have not yet fully solved these challenges, we are making progress by remaining conscious of the issue and prioritizing it in all of our activities.

How important are diversity, equity, and inclusion for the future success of associations? What initiatives, projects and ideas can you share that help other understand the real value of DEI?

Diversity, equity, and inclusion are crucial to the success of associations, and there are a number of things that organizations can do to promote them:

  • The first step is to set diversity and inclusion criteria for your organization and measure where you currently stand and where you want to be. This will vary depending on the sector in which you work.  
  • Other initiatives could include creating affinity groups for underrepresented communities, hosting regular trainings on unconscious biases and discrimination, and intentionally seeking out diverse perspectives in decision-making processes.  

It’s important to recognize that DEI is not just a box to check but an ongoing effort that requires constant attention and commitment.