als,” he said, adding that he would like to see
sexual harassment discussed at universities
in programs relating to hospitality management and meeting planning.
Ishaad said he has stepped up efforts to
address sexual harassment and implement
changes for his organization’s events.
“One of the most important things is
communicating with all parties involved
within the event to make sure they are aware
if sexual harassment does happen and what
they should do,” he said. “It’s something we
communicate with our hotel staff, too, as well
as audiovisual companies, restaurants, etc.”
Don Gurganus, chief master sergeant
retired, United States Air Force (USAF),
co-manager of Thumbprint Properties and
certified advisor at Powur Solar, was invited to
the MPI NCC event by a meeting planner he
had just met. He attended the #Meetings Too
presentation because of his interest in the
topic and his pride in the USAF’s proactive
stance in preventing power-based violence
in the workplace, sexual assault and sexual
“My experience of the evolution in USAF
culture on this topic has been very positive
and my experience at the MPI NCC conference is that [USAF personnel] are quite well
trained comparatively speaking,” he said, adding that he was impressed by the ideas and
action steps put forth in the #Meetings Too
presentation. “It’s all about awareness and
What are some of the most important things you’ve learned
since you started speaking together on sexual harassment?
Soliman Daudin: After receiving praise as one of the best-rated
sessions at MPI World Education Congress 2018, we saw firsthand
how much power we can have together. I also have a greater under-
standing of myself, my insecurities and how unfortunately similar
they are to many other people in our industry who have been victims
of unwanted advances at a meeting or event. Fear is the most hin-
dering aspect of true social change. In our industry, it’s the fear of
being punished or judged, becoming isolated professionals or being
labeled as “drama queens” if we report or speak on an incident that
was not consensual or made us feel uncomfortable. Together, Court-
ney and I continue to work on our personal fears.
Stanley: Since Sarah and I have joined forces to work toward stopping the sexual harassment epidemic, the most simple yet powerful
realization I have had is that there truly is power in working together.
We make a bigger, greater impact as a team. The power behind the
#Me Too movement stems from unity. People are providing support
to one another to speak out together and to make real change as a
What have been the most rewarding aspects for you?
Soliman Daudin: The most rewarding aspect is meeting professionals approaching us after a session to tell us they started emailing
their team during our presentation because they were inspired to get
the conversation started right away. This is how our great industry
will become better and better. In addition, becoming voices for the
voiceless is something that cannot be explained in words. Many
women have come to us in confidence to share personal stories
they’ve experienced in the industry, and we love that we’ve become
this avenue of trusted support.
Stanley: The most rewarding aspect has been connecting with the
audience on a raw, honest, real level. So many people have their
own stories and experiences to share and are grateful to know that
there are people comfortable with stepping up to lead uncomfortable
conversations. After every presentation we have done, we have had
people approach us to share their own stories or seek advice. Every
conversation matters. Every voice added increases our ability to
make real change.
What has surprised you the most?
Soliman Daudin: What has surprised me the most is just how little
organizations have done to focus their attention on contingency
plans specific to sexual harassment. I think it’s one of those topics
that people don’t think is an issue until it actually becomes a problem that falls into their lap.
Stanley: What has surprised me the most is how much of a need
there is for more people to take the stage on this topic. There is not
a lot of content or resources or speakers available to meet the needs
of a very large, hungry, receptive audience.
What has inspired you the most to continue moving the
Soliman Daudin: As soon as I started to see the results of our presentation, it was a no brainer to keep the conversation going. Being
part of the meetings and events industry gives us a great advantage
to indirectly reach millions of people around the world.
Stanley: Seeing real change happen has truly inspired me more than
anything to continue moving this conversation forward. Since speaking and writing on sexual harassment in our community, many individuals have come forward with immediate plans of action: to make
changes organizationally, to speak up for themselves in problematic
situations that have been ongoing for years, and to do what they can
so their daughters do not have to endure the type of treatment they
themselves have experienced.
Q&A with Sarah Soliman Daudin and Courtney Stanley, creators of #Meetings Too:
How to Prevent and Address Sexual Harassment at Meetings and Events
COURTNEY STANLEY SARAH SOLIMAN DAUDIN