May 13, 2024
GHTA launches new initiatives from its Diversity + Inclusion Committee

The Gift & Home Trade Association (GHTA) launches new initiatives from its Diversity + Inclusion Committee, established to explicitly affirm and enhance the association’s commitment to diversity within the industry.

Adriana de Mello
Adriana de Mello

Insights from committee member Adriana de Mello, CEO of Keena, caused the formation of this committee. de Mello highlighted the need for GHTA to not only continue its inherently inclusive practices, but also to make a deliberate and intentional statement about its commitment to inclusion to all current and potential members.

“While GHTA has always embraced diversity, it was time to be intentional about our inclusivity and ensure that this commitment is clear and evident in all our actions,” said de Mello. “Our industry thrives on creativity and inclusivity, and we are committed to reflecting this in every aspect of GHTA.”

Committee members include:

Janice Christensen
Janice Christensen

Co-Chairs:

  • Adriana de Mello, Keena
  • Terence Morris, ANDMORE

Committee Members:

  • Sushil Arora, Danica Brands
  • Janice Dayon Christensen, nora fleming
  • Andrea Padilla, Transpac
  • Cynde Stewart, RAZ Imports

Following the formation of the committee, a survey was conducted among GHTA members from December 2023 to January 2024 to establish a baseline of intelligence regarding the organization’s current demographic makeup and to assess attitudes towards Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). The survey revealed a strong desire among members for more diversity in leadership roles, the recruitment of diverse speakers, and the active inclusion of all people.

Laurie Burns
Laurie Burns

GHTA Executive Director Laurie Burns emphasized the association’s commitment to these values, stating, “GHTA has always been a place where diversity is welcomed. We are prioritizing that our community remains as diverse and inclusive as it is supportive and innovative.”

In response to the survey, the Diversity + Inclusion Committee has outlined several key initiatives:

  • Increasing the diversity of panelists and speakers at GHTA events.
  • Creating a mentorship program to support new members from diverse backgrounds.
  • Implementing an anonymous submission process to share DEI-related suggestions.
  • Regular updates through a newsletter detailing the association’s progress on DEI efforts.

The committee recognizes the importance of continual learning and adaptation in its DEI efforts. “This is a learning journey for all of us,” said de Mello. “We are not experts, but we are committed to making meaningful changes and adapting our strategies to better serve all members of our community.”


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