From Blueprint to Reality - Enacting DE&I in Association Events

Thursday 11 April, 16:00 - 17:00 CET, Zoom


From Blueprint to Reality - Enacting DE&I in Association Events
This session will be looking at DE&I best practices. Three associations will present an example of how they are incorporating a DE&I lens into their congress or event, where you will have the opportunity to ask questions and be inspired to take the pledge to incorporate one of these ideas into your next event. During the session you will also have the opportunity to experience Wordly as an example of how you can make your meetings more inclusive.


Lakshman Rathnam, CEO, Wordly

Lakshman Rathnam is a successful engineering leader and technologist, with strategic vision and creativity for developing innovative products with a focus on value creation for the customer. He has managed technology and product teams to deliver world class consumer electronics products. Lakshman, with his keen sense of the technology landscape has pushed the envelope to help companies stay ahead of competition. He thrives on stepping out of his comfort zone to solve challenging problems. Lakshman has authored more than 25 patents across the technology spectrum. His latest venture, Wordly Inc., was founded in 2017,  and is aimed at enhancing mutual understanding for conversations across language barriers.


Gretchen Gasteier
Senior Manager of Convenings
Women Deliver

Gretchen Gasteier (she/her) is Senior Manager of Convenings at Women Deliver, a global gender equality advocacy organization, where she leads strategy and programming for Women Deliver's triennial Conferences. She served Co-Head for the Women Deliver 2023 Conference, which took place in Kigali, Rwanda, where she oversaw the program development for Women Deliver’s first hybrid conference. A lifelong feminist and passionate advocate for human rights and social justice, Gretchen is an experienced project manager, strategist, and partnership broker, working at the intersection of gender and public health. 

Tracy Bury
Founder & CEO
Operandi Consulting

Tracy Bury is the owner and founder of Operandi Consulting, working with clients and stakeholders to drive positive results, focused on purpose, across the association and business events sectors. She has extensive international experience as an association leader and strategic thinker, and was previously deputy CEO of World Physiotherapy and past President of AC Forum. She’s a member of the BestCities Global Alliance strategic thinkers advisory group. After leading the World Physiotherapy congress to an ICCA and BestCities Incredible Impacts award in 2017, she was a lead judge for future rounds. Comfortable with the big picture and the finer details she facilitates success with societal impact. 

Shannon Watson, CMP, CAE 
Director Meetings & Events
Rotary International

Shannon joined Rotary staff in March 2015 and prior to joining she was responsible for all conception, strategy, planning and implementation of SEIA's events. Shannon has worked in hospitality for 20 years, in restaurants, hotels and catering businesses. She worked for the Association of Fundraising Professionals from 1998-2007, and recently left the Solar Energy Industries Association as its Director of Meetings & Education to join the staff of Rotary International as Director, Meetings & Events. Shannon , leads a team of meeting professionals to create experiences that stimulate, inspire, and inform all Rotarians.


Event details
Date: Thursday 11 April
Time: 16:00 - 17:00 CET (click here to convert to your timezone)
Location: Zoom
Cost: there is no cost to participate.

Who can participate?
This event is open to individuals who have signed up for the BestCities Madrid Challenge, senior global meeting planners, media, BestCities partner destinations and other invited guests. BestCities Global Alliance reserves the right to cancel your registration if you do not fit these criteria.

To register for the event please click on the button below. Upon confirmation of your registration you will receive Zoom joining instructions.


If you have any questions please contact Nigel Brown


The 2021 BestCities Global Forum, held in Madrid, Spain (December 2-5, 2021) introduced  “The BestCities Madrid Challenge”, a pledge from destinations and associations to integrate impact and sustainability into daily conference planning.

The BestCities Madrid Challenge is a movement of destinations and associations that recognise the importance of shifting the meetings and events industry towards a more sustainable model. Collectively, these organisations have pledged to collaborate, share knowledge, and advocate to deliver a value beyond tourism through their events. Ultimately, The BestCities Madrid Challenge aims to raise industry standards by promoting impact and sustainability as key elements of organisational and event strategies.

To find out more about the BestCities Madrid Challenge and to sign the pledge please click here.