I am the CEO of the International Coaching Federation, an organisation of 54,000 members in 150 countries. Coaching empowers individuals, organizations, systems and countries. We make sure these coaches are well trained and prepare to offer the service in confidential and trusting environment.
What inspired you to work in the international association sector?
International work has always been my focus as I pursued a Master’s Degree in International Trade. Cultural diversity translates for me to enlightenment, openness and acceptance.
Associations are mission-driven organisations. To see a cause being supported, enabled and accelerated around the globe is extremely rewarding. So yes, I highly recommend, although it is not for faint at heart.
Can you remember a time when you needed to #BreakTheBias?
Yes, many times, including my own. I am a European living in the United States. There are different assumptions about associations, volunteerism and even the value of this work and of the association management profession.
One of my pet-peeves is around non-profits being “less than”: My own organisation works on $20 million a year and my staff is a crew of very well educated professionals. This has to be appreciated and acknowledged. I needed much more patience explaining and describing, so we could have a dialogue, rather than one-sided discussion.
How important are diversity, equity, and inclusion for the future success of associations?
DEI is key. It just is. It is not just “nice to have” or “urgently needs to be added”. Just the sheer fact that we have members in 150 countries brings DEI to the very forefront of who we are.
The place to start is taking inventory of where the association is at the moment. We decided to do it at four levels:
- professional members (coaches)
Through this exercise, some gaps where identified and we are creating specific strategies to move us forward.