Mar 30, 2021
You are in for a treat today! We are delighted to be speaking to Ashanti Bentil-Dhue. Ashanti is the CEO of EventMind, which provides training and consultancy for businesses looking to engage virtually with their audience. She comes from the corporate world where she was Regulatory Compliance AVP for Santander Bank, Barclaycard, and the Financial Ombudsman Service. Ashanti co-created the UK’s first nation-wide anti-racism and allyship project for women in Human Resources (HR), an industry that is 83% female and white. She is also a co-founder of 100 White Allies, Diversity Ally, and Black In Events, which are consultancies that provide support for organizations to be proactively anti-racist and inclusive.
In this episode, we cover three main topics. They are diversity and inclusion, starting and running your own business, and online events.
You will learn a lot from our fascinating conversation with Ashanti today. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did!
Ashanti Bentil-Dhue’s bio:
Ashanti Bentil-Dhue is Founder and CEO at EventMind, a market leader in the virtual meetings and events sector. EventMind provides training, consultancy, and delivery for businesses looking to engage virtually with their audience and community. Ashanti is currently a judge on several awards panels, including the Eventex Awards, Independent Publisher Awards, and the Virtual Event Institute Awards. She is also a co-founder of 100 White Allies, Diversity Ally, and Black In Events, consultancies that provide support to organizations who want to be proactively anti-racist and inclusive, both internally and for their service users. You can connect with her on Linkedin.
Ashanti can bring the experience she gained from five years spent as a Regulatory Compliance AVP for the likes of Santander Bank, Barclaycard, and the Financial Ombudsman Service. This experience has given Ashanti an understanding of corporate governance and challenges associated with change management and workplace culture shifts.
It was during her time in the world of compliance that Ashanti began to work on diversity initiatives, and she also started to use events as a vehicle to communicate the importance of being as diverse and inclusive as possible.
When she was working for a bank, Ashanti did not see herself as an event planner. She saw herself as the compliance consultant who also arranged events.
When she decided to start her own business, Ashanti naturally gravitated towards using events to build communities, her business brand, and her personal brand.
Ashanti first encountered racism when she was four years old, and she was the only black child in her class. It was the first time she realized she was different because she got treated differently. She experienced bias, micro-aggression, and being stereotyped.
An event to raise awareness
During an awareness month, while she was in the financial industry, Ashanti decided to put on a diversity and inclusion event for the employees. She invited local school children to participate and help raise awareness and highlight the diversity in the area within which the bank operated. It all happened very naturally for her.
HR and diversity
HR is a discipline in the UK where most of the stakeholders are female and white. Those individuals often influence the processes and systems that impact how much people are getting paid and who gets hired, fired, promoted, or trained, even though they may not have lived the experience of difference or being a minority. Ashanti’s mission was to help those stakeholders understand how to contribute to becoming more diverse.
Diversity can be attained by hiring different people, paying everyone on equal scales, and investing in people through resources and training.
Ashanti Bentil-Dhue’s visibility epiphany
Ashanti Bentil-Dhue realized that her consistent visibility was a way to create more diversity. That realization prompted her to create 100 White Allies, Diversity Ally, and Black In Events.
100 White Allies, Diversity Ally, and Black In Events
She created those consultancies with a mission to simplify things. She wanted to make it accessible for organizations and companies to become more diverse. And highlight to people of color that there is a place for them in the events industry.
Encouraging more diversity
Ashanti understood that to encourage more diversity she needed to show up consistently, be good at what she does, and add value for other people.
Starting her own business
Ashanti always wanted to start a business. Having learned enough from the corporate experience to add value to tech startups, she thought she would have more freedom, independence, and control of her income by starting a business of her own. Instead, she discovered that being an entrepreneur is like being an employee squared.
Ashanti Bentil-Dhue’s entrepreneurial challenges
As Ashanti Bentil-Dhue discovered, being an entrepreneur is not easy. The challenge in owning a business is that you have to be astute, you have to make decisions under pressure, and you have to love what you do. You also need to be driven from within and able to cope with uncertainty and rejection.
Monetizing your experience and skills
It is vital to know how to monetize your experience and skills. Without knowing how to do that, you will struggle with starting a business.
Ashanti maintains a healthy mindset with the help of several coaches and the support of a community of other entrepreneurs. She has also done a lot of work on her personal mindset.
Scaling your income is very different from scaling your business. They require different skills, resources, time, and energy. They will result in different outcomes for you as the business owner.
Making more money
You don’t have to create or scale a company to make more money. You need to understand how to make that happen and how to manage all the elements.
Ashanti Bentil-Dhue and online events
Ashanti Bentil-Dhue got into creating online events before COVID. She started with live streaming to teach people how to do various things and sell her service. Then, other companies started asking her how to live stream and sell. That was how she got into helping companies create online experiences and events to build communities.
Since COVID, there is much more technology available, and the rest of the world now understands the sustainability benefits and the low cost of the online launch.
Online events will become a part of a digital and social strategy. They will become more informed and sophisticated than pre-COVID.
You can now have global insights on attendee behavior at online events. Online events can now get integrated into a marketing strategy, a recruitment strategy, or a brand-activation strategy in a way that they were not getting done readily, pre-COVID.
A global directory
Ashanti has decided to launch an accessible global directory. She feels that her company is in a position to do that because they are unbiased. They will be listing every event technology company out there in one place.
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