Bade Kizilaslan is a 28-year-old communication professional of Turkish origin who resides in Brussels. Bade holds the positions of Communications Manager for both the European Cement Association and the International Stevia Council. Having completed her studies, Bade has gained extensive experience working as an external contractor for various associations in the communications and events sector, focusing on providing digital advocacy services to associations. She has a keen interest in politics, history, and travel, and is passionate about all aspects of communication. 

Bade Kizilaslan
External Communications Manager, CEMBUREAU

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

My educational background combines political science and communication studies. Since I can remember, I have always wanted to work for a multinational non-profit organization that brings together various stakeholders for a common cause. During my studies, I became even more interested as I realized that working in the international association sector is one of the perfect ways to combine my two passions: politics and communication. I would definitely recommend working for international associations in roles such as communication, membership, events, or leadership. It is a very satisfying work environment as it ensures that you are continuously learning, staying up to date with trends such as workplace and digital trends, and provides you with the opportunity to meet people with diverse backgrounds and find a common path. It keeps you young and informed. 🙂

How do you/ your association #EmbraceEquity? Does giving a voice and a space to diverse groups make for better results? What are the challenges you encounter? Did you solve them? 

At the European Cement Association, we are a small team of people from 8 different countries, and I believe that we manage to work in harmony. Team members are not only respectful of differences but also interested in learning more about each other’s culture and background. Our management ensures that everyone is treated with respect for equity and diversity and that there is space to bring up any discomfort that might occur. In meetings, everyone’s opinion is welcomed, which definitely encourages creativity, finding solutions, and achieving better results. Different perspectives bring color to the table.

The way to succeed as a team, not only in the international association community but in all aspects of our lives, is by embracing equity, diversity, and inclusion. Through honest, respectful, and sincere communication, we can resolve conflicts and find common ground even in the most difficult situations. This is something that I learned through experience. Once, I worked with a colleague whose background, way of working and communicating were quite different from mine. This caused some tension and uncomfortable moments for both of us. However, being part of a team, we were both aware that we needed to find a way of working together. By talking to each other, clearing up misunderstandings, and accepting our differences, we managed to overcome our challenges.

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

As mentioned before, embracing diversity, equity, and inclusion leads to better results. Diversity is an advantage in a team when it comes to identifying and solving issues by bringing diverse perspectives. It is also important in boosting creativity and innovation, which eventually leads to the association’s success and growth. 

Associations are membership-based organizations, and their members themselves end to be diverse. This makes them appreciate an association that values DEI. The culture of inclusion an association adopts helps to attract and retain a diverse membership base.

Concrete tips: Associations have the advantage of reaching a wide and diverse audience through their members. They can leverage this network to promote DEI, showcase its importance, and even share success stories that led to tangible results. Additionally, associations can hold DEI training or team-building events for the team and members, promoting DEI.