Conferences & Events win key industry award

Jacob, Karina, Sam and Chelsea holding the DEI award at miaList awards 2023

The University of Leeds’ Conferences and Events has been recognised at the Meetings Industry Association awards (miaList 2023).  Scooping the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Award at the ceremony last Friday, additionally the team were also nominated in two other categories.  The award is voted for by industry peers and the team saw off competition from Hilton, Inntel, The Teachers Union and REACH.  


Sam Glenister-Batey – Head of Conferences and Events at the University of Leeds said: “I am so proud that the team’s efforts in promoting accessibility and inclusion at conferences and events have been recognised.  

“We consider ourselves passionate rather than experts in this area and thus remain dedicated to further developing our DEI practices to help make Leeds one of the most accessible, diverse and inclusive event locations.” 

Promoting diversity and inclusivity in the events sector 

Beyond enhancing the delegate experience at their own events, the team has taken steps to drive DEI initiatives across the industry. Their long-standing partnership with Communication Matters, who support people who find it hard to communicate because they have little or no clear speech and Conferences Leeds has positioned them as advocates for enhanced access initiatives throughout the sector. 

The team adopts a comprehensive approach to customising event experiences, ensuring they align with various communication aids and cater to dietary requirements. This includes providing secluded breakout areas for privacy and the implementation of Communication Access UK training for staff engaging with delegates. 

The positive outcomes of these initiatives include heightened awareness of DEI practices within Leeds and the industry.  Head of Conferences and Events Sam Glenister-Batey was invited to present at the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) UK and Ireland conference. 


Helen Whittle – Chair of the Board of Trustees, Communication Matters said:  

“In all our time hosting the annual International AAC Conference at the University of Leeds, we have been blown away by the team’s friendly and collaborative approach. It’s clear they take accessibility seriously, always working flexibly and with a can-do attitude to satisfy all our needs as an organiser but more importantly, those of our delegates.   

“Their commitment to improving the delegate experience by becoming a Communication Accessible venue, instilled confidence in our attendees that all of their needs will be met. This faith in the venue really helped maximise registrations for our conference. 

“The University of Leeds Conferences and Events team works like an extension of our own, which helps us to put the delegate experience at the heart of what we do. They have also provided further support by introducing us to key industry partners, which has helped increase awareness of the Communication Access UK initiative. This has proven very beneficial to us, resulting in an increased rollout of the training across hotels and organisations in Leeds.  

“I look forward to hosting future Communication Matters events at the University.” 

Nominated in three categories 

In addition to winning the DEI award, Jacob Seddon, Conferences and Events Assistant in the team, was recognised in the Star of the Future category. A category that recognises new talent in the business and meeting sector. Sam Glenister-Batey was shortlisted for mialist Individuals for his work launching Cloth Hall Court, the University of Leeds city centre conference venue. Looking ahead, the University remains steadfast in its commitment to DEI practices, aligning  with the university’s Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Strategy. They actively engage in user focus groups to ensure ongoing accessibility and inclusivity. 

Get in touch today 

Ready to plan your next event with us? Contact our team to discuss your needs, explore our inclusive facilities. 

Winner logo for the miaList awards