NSA Pittsburgh Diversity & Inclusion Statement

We write this statement in response to the following:

Growing awareness of the necessity of open, authentic action to end marginalization of communities based on race, color, ethnicity, national origin, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, age, disability, education, or socioeconomic status.


We have waited to release this statement because we wanted to be sure we spoke of our chapter’s true heart mindfully, given the importance of the subject. We recognize the difficulty of speaking with a unified voice for such a large group, but feel compelled to define our view consistent with our mission and to create boundaries meant to protect and support the most threatened among us. Creating a culture of belonging requires more than honesty, it requires vulnerability and courage.

Our intent is to be thoughtful, respectful, and authentic in our response. We don’t pretend to understand the depth of pain, prejudice, and suffering that members of the Pittsburgh Black and Brown and other marginalized communities in general, or the NSA Pittsburgh members of these groups in particular, have experienced.


The difference between diversity, inclusion, and belonging is that diversity is the representation of different people in an organization, inclusion is ensuring that everyone has an equal opportunity to contribute to and influence every part and level of an organization, and belonging is ensuring that everyone feels safe and can bring their full, unique selves to the organization.


We believe that Black Lives Matter. We believe that as speakers, we have a responsibility to use our sphere of influence, no matter the size, for humanity and civil decency.

We believe systemic change starts with genuine caring and listening to understand the depth of the problem.

We believe in committing to thoughtful action.

We believe that change is possible, that we are at a pivotal moment in history and are looking for ways to learn, grow, change and listen. Speakers have ever been thought leaders and we believe that we can creatively challenge ourselves to do things differently. We can be part of the societal transformation that can, and must, happen. We stand united in outrage against anti-Black violence. We believe that representation of all races in the halls of powers matters, and that taking to the streets is equally important.


We understand that staying quiet on these issues sends a message of complicity and this is not our position. We believe that our organization of speakers, many of whom have platforms that are highly visible nationally and globally, can bring about real change that will uplift humanity and be a voice to support the voiceless. Our members share powerful, life-changing messages, offer solutions to complex problems, and leave audiences inspired and transformed.

  • We commit to backchecking the organizations and groups for whom we speak, to make sure that colleagues from all marginalized groups are given opportunities on those stages.
  • We commit to asking questions about our own messages and biases to decrease the biases and racism we have internalized and so avoid passing those on to our audiences.
  • And as the nation struggles to come together, to heal, and to eradicate hate, violence, racism, and discrimination, we commit to lifting our voices and using our influence to make our organization and our world a more welcoming, equitable, and inclusive place for all.


We will work to ensure each meeting and speaking space is safe and welcoming for all. We will do so by listening and believing Black and Brown voices. We will work to interrupt White fragility, microaggressions, and the silencing of voices of color and marginalized voices whenever we see it. We understand we will not always see it, but we will try.


We will continue to cultivate programming that is not exclusionary but instead reflects the rich tapestry of different races and groups which comprise our country.


Many of us are concerned about the advancement of all women. We understand American’s White feminist movement has roots in a racist agenda and has employed racist tactics to achieve rights for White women. We will strive to make our feminism intersectional.

We recognize that we have members in the LGBTQ community. Members with disabilities. Members experiencing ageism. Members of religious minorities. We will work to be open to the harms our assumptions are causing and to listen to how and where we can improve our inclusion practices.


We proudly acknowledge speakers have often been at the forefront of movements for social change. We pledge to continue this grand tradition on issues of bigotry, and anywhere tyranny threatens to silence voices crying to be heard or harm people because of who they are or what they believe.


We understand mistakes will be made, and we will be open to hearing from our members without defensiveness and with an open heart when they are made.

In order to achieve this, the National Speakers Association Pittsburgh Chapter will provide leadership; a commitment of time; and resources to attracting, reflecting, and valuing diversity and inclusion in the following ways:

  • Diversify our programming. Programming will reflect diversity of speakers, topics, and events—in chapter and Academy meetings, as well as on- and off-site chapter programs and events.
  • Diversify our membership. Our goal is to increase our members in underrepresented groups, both in Professional members and Affiliate members.
  • Diversify Board and Committee representation.
  • Create more inclusive marketing/publications. These include but are not limited to social media, website, newsletters, and brochures.
  • Provide access/accommodations for people with disabilities.
  • Evaluate our development. Leadership will request and attend to evaluations from Black and brown members about their needs and the success of the efforts outlined in this policy.