Roby, who owns Washington, D.C.-based Andrew Roby Events and heads the National Events Council, said that minority-owned companies are underrepresented on event venues’ preferred vendor lists.
As the owner of an event planning company in the nation’s capital, Andrew Roby knows the power of preferred vendor lists that major venues offer to their clients. But he also believes that minority-owned vendors are too often left off of those critical lists, a concern he addressed in a recent New York Times article titled “Hidden Bias in the Wedding Industrial Complex.”
In addition to heading up his event planning and management company, Andrew Roby, who is Black, founded and leads the National Events Council, which promotes greater diversity, equity, and inclusion in the events industry. He said that while chatter around DE&I peaked during the summer of 2020 as the Black Lives Matter movement gained visibility, few lasting changes were made in the events industry.
“After George Floyd died, we had so many people who went to Instagram,” Roby said in the August 6 New York Times article. “So many people in the industry were using those black squares as a sign of support. That’s kind of odd. If you look on your Instagram, it’s all white people. If you look in your vendor lists, it’s all white people.”
Roby said that this matters because event venues request, and sometimes require, that their clients use preferred vendor lists. But Roby said those lists are inaccessible to many companies of color. “If venues expand their lists, it is usually within the same communities. Minority-owned companies are left to wonder how they will ever break in?” said Roby.
Roby said that many businesses of color have worked hard to attract clients through other avenues, such as social media and networking in local professional organizations. However, there’s no substitute for inclusion on the all-important preferred vendor lists.
Roby is committed to improving the vendor list issue through his work with the National Events Council. He said that clients can also help by asking venues to add preferred vendors whose companies are owned and staffed by minorities.
Roby has worked in the events industry since 2005 and specializes in event planning services in D.C., Dallas, and Los Angeles. His team’s events include weddings, microweddings, and corporate and social events, both in-person and virtual (or hybrid).
Andrew Roby was named a “Top Wedding Planner in America” by Brides Magazine. He was also chosen for the “40 Under 40 Award” by Connect Corporate and the “Couple’s Choice Award” by Wedding Wire. His company has been celebrated on The Knot, WeddingChicks.com, and CBS and FOX news. To learn more about Andrew Roby and his advocacy for greater diversity in the events planning industry, visit AndrewRobyEvents.com.
About Andrew Roby Events
Andrew Roby Events is a one-stop-shop that offers a wide array of Event and Wedding planning services. Whether it’s a wedding, a government or corporate event, or any social event, they know what to do and how to make the event perfect and memorable.