Chris Trimmer has been working for international associations in the science and health sectors throughout her entire career. Having studied biology, she has a passion for the natural world and everything that goes into it. In her personal life, she lives for new experiences, building connections between people, and exploring the places she loves.
What inspired you to work in the international association sector? Would you recommend this career to others? Why/ why not?
I love working in the association sector, you are surrounded by people that are passionate and committed to improving the world! The impact of my work is amplified internationally – plus: not only do I get to work with people that share my values, but I also get to work with subject-matter experts who are leaders in their field.
Who wouldn’t love working in that environment? I can recommend it 100 percent!
How does 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?
Embracing equity is crucial for creating more innovative, dynamic, and sustainable results. When people with different lived experiences, from different places, and at different stages of their lives come together, it allows for a wider range of perspectives and ideas to be shared. This diversity fosters innovation, creativity, and problem-solving, leading to better decision-making and greater impact.
As associations, we have a unique opportunity to champion diversity and equity in everything we do, both internally and externally. Being a key part of implementing change that impacts the lives of people around the world is one of the main reasons I love what I do.
As an international association, we can use our platform to change biases, promote equity, and practice inclusion. We have done this by changing our policies, we provide training to leadership and our members, we promote open communication and active listening, and have created a safe and respectful environment in which people feel valued and appreciated.
However, embracing equity can be challenging. We had to make changes to our governance structure, ensuring that we had representation from diverse backgrounds, lived experiences, and career levels on all of our committees, programs, and task forces. We had to make sure that people saw change and representation at every level.
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 essential for the future success of associations. We need to lead these efforts, make them part of who we are, and live the changes we are calling for.
Through the following initiatives, we have:
- significantly increased the number of female faculty members at our events and as leaders of educational initiatives
- established a professional development program specifically for women to provide skills training in negotiation, recognizing your value, effective presentations, and leadership
- developed a grant to support in-community programs to pilot different methods of improving health access and equity in underrepresented minorities, a model that – if successful – we would be happy to share with others
- created a program that connects with people in medical schools to increase access to our medical specialty for women and under-represented minorities and to foster interest in the field
- started a mentor program that allows members to connect with people from similar backgrounds, experiences, regions, and career paths to support those early in their careers to be successful