The Diversity Initiative (DI) is gratified to be able to present the information obtained from our Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion survey, which took place in November of 2020. We had 637 members completing the survey, for a response rate of 22%.

The survey was undertaken to not only ascertain information about the membership, but to ensure that the EFA is inclusive and welcoming, and to better provide resources and benefits to all of our members.

A subcommittee of the DI looked at all of the almost 500 comments carefully. There were six areas that we identified as mentioned the most in comments: membership, the Discussion List, EFA education, leadership diversity, conferences, and chapter meetings /and programming.

I have presented the results to a meeting of the EFA board and received their commitment to addressing initiatives in these six areas. I and other members of the Diversity Initiative also have been reaching out and speaking to individual board members and chapter leaders. The board itself was already working on many of these initiatives and has reassured us that it will continue to do so.

Among the initiatives we hope to see in coming months:

Membership: Offering more benefits that help all of our membership and cross-promoting with diversity-centered organizations. As the newly appointed Membership chair on the EFA board, I will be overseeing this effort.

Discussion List (DL): The board has already taken action on the list, such as bringing in new moderators and sending out revised guidelines to its DL Code of Conduct.

Education Program: The Education chair has committed to diversifying its instructor pool and presenting webinars that deal with diversity, equality, and inclusion, as well as real-life business issues facing EFA members.

Leadership: As indicated in the call for board nominations, the board encourages a diverse slate of candidates. It also will be hosting informational meetings for anyone interested in running for a board position this year.

Conferences: This is another area in which members asked for more diversity of presenters and topics, and we will continue to work with the board on this.

Chapters: The DI subcommittee will be speaking to chapters that are holding virtual meetings, to see what these chapters need to be inclusive to all members in the area. If someone has not reached out to you yet, please let us know at the email below.

This survey has been two years in the making, and I’d like to thank everyone who has had a hand in it: Angela Darchi, our consultant from Venture Research Associates; the entire EFA office, but especially Susannah Driver-Barstow; and members of the Diversity Initiative, especially Sangeeta Mehta, Linda Ruggeri, Cody Sisco, Chrissy Yates, Amarilys Acosta, Kellie M. Hultgren, Crystal Shelley, Molly Lindley Pisani, Brittany Dowdle, and Ebonye Gussine Wilkins.

If you have suggestions or questions about the survey results or how the EFA can best respond to results, please let us know at the following email address: edi.survey@the-efa.org.

We hope this survey will be a starting point for change that will benefit the organization as a whole. Every member benefits from professional and respectful communications, accessible and affordable training and networking, membership and leadership that reflect demographic breadth, and local as well as national connections.

Lourdes Venard
Chair of the EFA’s Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Survey Project
April 2021