Earlier this month we had three important conversations at our June Board meeting:
While these topics have been a part of the Board’s work for the past several years, these conversations took a new level of urgency due to the impacts of COVID-19, the murder of George Floyd, and member feedback. We emerged from that meeting with a set of commitments that we will pursue moving forward to increase the value we deliver to you, opportunities for members to have a greater voice in CXPA and its directions, and our support of demographic diversity in the CX profession and the CXPA.
- How can CXPA provide greater, sustainable value despite the impacts of COVID-19?
- How can we widen the circle of members engaged in CXPA activities and leadership?
- How are we living our Core Value commitment to diversity?
We published these commitments on the CXPA blog, in the CXPA Engine, on the CXPA website, and on the CXPA Discussion Forum, asking for your feedback and ideas. As one might expect when asking about these types of issues, we have received a range of reactions, both publicly and privately. On the whole, the message is that we need to take action on these commitments – though there is also a dissenting voice that believes that it is inappropriate for CXPA to play a role in increasing diversity of the field. We hear you, and while we do not have all the answers, we want to share the steps that we have and will be taking to live up to the commitments.
Before outlining recent and planned steps, it’s important to note that CXPA has had these commitments from its inception. We were founded on the principle of “by members, for members,” with a focus on providing value to one another in the advancement of the CX discipline.
As we have grown to be a global community, we have welcomed members and Network leaders on five continents. We have engaged thousands of members as speakers, authors, and online contributors. In 2015, the Board began its transition beyond its inaugural composition, and earlier this year we reduced Board member appointment eligibility from six years to four years (two two-year terms). In 2018, the Board led a consensus process to codify CXPA’s Core Values. On the sustainability front, we retained a new association management firm in 2017 and hired our first full-time professional CEO just a year ago. Collectively, the work to date has positioned CXPA well – but we are also aware that more is needed.
COVID-19 has heightened the need for members to access CX content in real-time. Since we expect that travel, in-person meetings, and CX budgets will remain curtailed through the end of 2020, CXPA has responded by focusing on providing content every workday, and we intend to provide at least one live webinar, learning event, or networking event every workweek. We will accomplish this through the refreshed www.cxpa.org site, Insight Exchange Video Series, CXPA Engine Newsletter, CX Builds Resilience initiative, sponsored webinars, social media posts, Discussion Forum, local Network events, and collaborative partnerships with global partners, like Awards International, and regional partners, like Terragni Consulting, which will help us better serve India and Australasia. We are also introducing the ability for candidates to earn CCXP certification from their homes or offices via a secure, proctored online exam.
As noted, CXPA has always had a “by member, for member” commitment, and that is quite visible in our content programs. At the time of postponement, we had 52 speakers planned for the Global Insight Exchange (GIE) from 13 different countries. To help bring these and other member voices forward, we have increased visibility of the member blog and introduced news ways for members from across the globe to share their voices. Since announcing GIE’s postponement on March 19, we have had 21 contributors to the CXPA blog from 10 different countries; a dozen Insight Exchange Video Series contributions, including contributors from eight different countries; more than 40 CX content feeds incorporated into the CXPA Engine e-newsletter; and nearly two dozen contributions to CX Builds Resilience, including authors from five different countries. Additional members have spoken at local Network events, shared opinions on the Discussion Forum, or participated in Member Roundtable sessions.
There is no shortage of opportunities to be involved with the CXPA! If you are a CXPA member, you are encouraged to add your voice to the community in a variety of ways:
- Beginning in July, we will increase opportunities for you to provide input on CXPA priorities, anchored by online Town Halls.
- We will also be asking local Networks to convene community discussions.
- Every member is welcome to post to the CXPA Blog.
- Submit your Insight Exchange Video Series contribution here.
- Monitor the opportunities to get involved as a volunteer here.
- Reach out to CXPA staff with your ideas on how you are willing to contribute content or volunteer with local CXPA Networks, CCXP program, or CXPA in any other way.
The commitment to support increased diversity in CX and CXPA is particularly challenging for us. We have a stated Core Value of commitment to diversity of thought and have operated under the assumption that decisions made without consideration of personal demographics would result in a community, content contributors, and leaders that would be demographically diverse. While we continue to hold diversity of thought as a Core Value, we realize that we need to go further to better understand and foster demographic diversity of our field and our association membership, support those who may not currently see a model of opportunity in CXPA leadership, help all members advance their leadership in the CX field, and ensure that those selecting careers see the CX profession as a desirable field of equal opportunity.
That’s a big gap to close, and we know that it will take sustained effort. We have begun by announcing that commitment and listening to the community. Members have suggested that we foster communities of support that will provide an opportunity for connection and mentoring to those from underrepresented groups, and we are currently working with those who have raised their hands to make these a reality. We are also working to introduce the voluntary gathering of personal demographic data from members, seeking to share content and highlight member profiles that reflect the demographic diversity of our association, considering how we attract increased awareness of CX at historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), and looking at proven practices among associations to ensure a sustained focus on diversity and inclusion. If you have experience or passion to support this commitment to diversity and inclusion, we would like to hear from you.
There are many memes on the internet that seek to capture the spirit of 2020 – and most focus on the extraordinary level of challenge this year presents and represents. If there is to be a silver lining for CXPA, it is that we are a community of professionals who regularly tackle enormous, multi-year transformations. We know that outlining goals and desired outcomes is the first step toward action and, ultimately, success. Now that we’ve made these commitments, we will do the work together and move forward to a brighter future and a stronger CXPA. We need your involvement more than ever. Volunteer. Engage. Let your voice be heard. Celebrate content from fellow members, encourage involvement in CXPA, and be sure to welcome newcomers to CXPA. By doing so, we will enrich our community and advance the CX community.
By the member, for the member. Always.
Annette Franz, CCXP
Greg Melia, CAE