New Hope Network Implements New Conduct Policy for Expo East

“In the days following Natural Products Expo West 2022, the team at New Hope Network was disheartened and disappointed to learn of the sexual harassment that several women reported experiencing while in Anaheim,” said Kim Shaw, show director at New Hope Network. The company immediately began exploring what it could do to prevent harassment of all types, working with conference industry, safety and inclusion consultants. They created a slate of policy and operational changes that will be implemented at the Philadelphia trade show.

All New Hope Network staff will undergo sexual harassment training before arriving in Philadelphia. Colorado nonprofit Moving to End Sexual Assault (MESA) will facilitate the training. The session will cover “the different forms sexual violence takes so that we can better identify situations where there is a risk of it,” Shaw said. “We’ll also learn some tools about what to do when we experience or witness something happening, including specific processes and resources that will be available to us onsite.” MESA will also discuss ways employees can support survivors in case someone reports an incident of violence.

In addition, New Hope Network has created an Equality, Trustworthy, Humanity, Open-Hearted, Safety (ETHOS) statement that has been and will continue to be widely circulated to clarify on-site expectations.

All attendees and exhibitors are encouraged to participate in “Embracing a New Way of Doing Business,” a Natural Products Business School session that challenges people to think differently about the trade show experience.

Attendees will also find “see something, say something,” signs promoting a 24-hour security hotline—213-222-3508—to call for either emergency or non-emergency situations such as if you experience or witness unprofessional behavior. More security officers will be present in the exhibit halls and at networking gatherings, hotel bars and partner events, as well. Additionally, an alcohol-free zone will be available at live concerts.

Across industries, many organizations are asking event attendees and exhibitors to agree to codes of conduct, such as the one New Hope Network has created.

That’s not enough, said Heather Mason, CEO of Caspian Agency, a global event consultancy. “Just updating the code of conduct and putting a check box on registration is adorable,” Mason stated, “but not powerful. It’s not changing anything. We have a responsibility to start to consciously set off cultural and societal norms at our conferences.” The number of people involved with trade shows is massive, she said. “You could touch millions and millions of people and reinforce what good behavior is.”

Mason, who has also worked in the industry for more than two decades, said she is “excited about what New Hope is doing,” beyond the checkbox, from education to enhanced security. The company could become a “beacon, a North Star for everyone in the events industry about how you can change norms and perceptions [of trade shows] and I am thrilled,” she says.

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