Cheers to Progressive Programming and Inclusive Events

Lisa Mueller 
Casimir Jones, S.C. 

With the 2023 AUTM Annual Meeting still fresh in our minds, now is a good time to review all the incredible equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) programming and events that took place in Austin as well as preview what is planned for the rest of the year.

On Sunday, the EDI International Members’ map made its debut at the AUTM booth. The map allowed members to use various colored push pins to mark their home tech transfer office (TTO), whether they were a current or new board member, an EDI committee member, a current/future AUTM mentor, a previous guest on the AUTM On the Air podcast series, or length of experience in tech transfer. As the meeting progressed, it was fascinating to see the map become populated with a variety of colored pins from all around the world.

Also on Sunday was the First-Time Attendee Briefing and Reception, which was run in conjunction with the AUTM Annual Meeting First Time Attendee Ambassador Program. The ambassador program was a great way for all first-time attendees to feel included in the Meeting, as each was assigned a dedicated person available to answer their questions and introduce them to other AUTM members. 

From Monday to Wednesday, sessions encompassing a wide variety of EDI topics were presented, including:

  • Programs to Improve Inventor EDI
  • How to Collect Data to Understand Your University’s EDI Metrics
  • When Leveling the Playing Field is Not Enough – Promoting DEI in the Workplace and Beyond
  • Making Paths to Commercialization of Inventions More Equitable
  • Embracing Neurodiversity in Your Workforce
  • Diversity in Innovation Through Intentional Networks
  • Building Your Roadmap for a More Diverse and Inclusive Tech Transfer Ecosystem
  • Does Your Tech Transfer Office Reflect the Population You Are Serving?

Audio recordings from Annual Meeting sessions will be available soon, so keep an eye on your email for that announcement. The recordings will be free for anyone who registered for the Meeting and will be available for purchase by those who were not able to attend.

An especially notable EDI highlight of the Meeting was the inauguration of Almesha Campbell as the AUTM Board Chair, the first person of color to hold this esteemed position.

“We have made progress to ensure access to people from diverse backgrounds, international regions, and industries – but we understand that more is to be done,” Almesha eloquently stated. “So, I thank AUTM’s Board for selecting me now and giving me this opportunity to help continue the organization's vision. I am optimistic about the future of this Association, and I am optimistic about my role over the next year.” 

We are excited to see where this incredible leader takes AUTM in the next year.

Now that the Annual Meeting is over, you may be asking yourself “what’s next?” in terms of EDI programming and events for the rest of the year. Here are just a few:

  • EDI content at each of the AUTM regional meetings 
  • A webinar going into more detail and specifics on the EDI Toolkit on April 4th at noon, EST
  • An AUTM On the Air podcast with Dr. Temple Grandin, a prominent author and speaker on both autism and animal behavior
  • A series of watercooler events in June, August, and November, with themes relating to Pride month, making your TTO more inclusive, and Native American Heritage month 

Stay tuned for more!