I am passionate about destinations and global gatherings. I am committed to supporting people, organisations and communities through creating open dialogue and tools to advance the sustainable development of towns and cities through conferences.

Jane Cunningham
Director of European Engagement, Destinations International

What inspired you to work in the international association sector?

Associations advance society. Having the opportunity to learn, to be inspired, to share experiences and knowledge is wonderful. Associations create a thriving and trusted environment enabling innovation, partnerships and connections that have a positive impact on society. I would fully recommend working in this sector, especially if you are interested in a fulfilling, purpose-driven career!

Can you remember a time when you needed to #BreakTheBias?

I have seen too many conferences where the speakers / experts are mostly male, and the audience is mainly female. There are plenty of women who could have been speakers. I have called it out and this is changing. I believe in inspiring change, storytelling and calling people out if I feel there is bias. Highlighting the wonderful work of individuals and creating connections that can empower others is what we should all be doing.

How important are diversity, equity, and inclusion for the future success of associations?

I am delighted to see more associations put EDI front and centre. As for successful communities, changes need to be made. At Destinations International, we have recently hired Sophia Hyder Hock as the Chief Diversity Officer – a great step in the right direction.

What concrete actions have helped you promote DEI?

I am happy to share three areas that I am proud to be involved with:

  1. identifying speakers who educate and inspire our communities while sharing important steps that can be taken towards a more diverse, equitable and inclusive world.
  2. working with a charity where I am the virtual facilitator for their global conference on neurodiversity.
  3. speaking at a side meeting of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability (CRPD) in 2016 about the importance of accessibility in cities