A Pledge of Professional Conduct
Constructive creative conflict faces into controversial issues with good
faith and constructive disagreement, but push back against convention and the
The concept means that your first loyalty is to the mission and principles of
the organization, not to a single person, idea or constituent.
One voice: Decisions are often made by teams and they often involve
compromise. However, once made, assuming principles are not compromised and the
authority to make the decision is assured, you own the decision. Support it from
that point onward.
As a professional, I acknowledge and agree to honor my ethical obligations to
my colleagues, stakeholders, business partners and to the clients. I promise to
comply with the D&A’s Code of Conduct, to treat everyone fairly and with
dignity. I promise to go beyond the letter of our policies and the law and
conform to the spirit and intent as well. I promise to take personal
accountability for what I do right and wrong. And I promise not to take credit
for the work of others but rather to freely give credit and honor the
contributions of others. I also promise to -
- Conduct myself in a manner which reflects great credit on the organization,
my colleagues, on the industry and myself.
- Speak the truth with no intent to deceive or mislead by technicalities or
- Ensure my performance reports are accurate and honest and include progress,
problems, and plans.
- Refrain from behavior that harms the public’s perception of the organization.
- Honor all agreements I make with colleagues and stakeholders.
- Ensure that proprietary information of the organization is kept proprietary.
- Avoid actual or perceived conflicts of interest and, if in doubt, to openly
disclose and discuss my concerns.
- Take personal accountability for my actions – for success and failure.
- Take personal responsibility for recognizing and reporting breaches of the
- Discharge my responsibilities with dedication to achieving the company’s
mission and in line with the company’s principles.
- Serve all constituents of the company’s impartially, and provide no special
privilege to an individual constituent or organization.
- Not to accept special personal compensation from an individual constituent
beyond the limitations established by principle or policy, which include full
disclosure and arm’s length dealings.
- Comply with all levels of governmental regulations and company’s policy
concerning lobbying and political activities and using only legal, ethical and
moral means when attempting to influence legislation or regulations affecting
the company or the convention and visitor industry.
- Disclose information that belongs in the public domain freely and completely
but protecting that information which is confidential (generally related to
business plans, activities in the marketplace, and personal information relating
to character and competence of people within the organization or stakeholders
[including sponsors]). Compensation information relating to the Leadership Team
is meant to be in the “open book” category.
- Issue no false or deliberately misleading statements or advertisements
concerning the company, , or the convention and visitor industry to the media,
the public or any other persons, either affiliated with or unrelated to the
convention and visitor industry.
- Actively encourage diversity of thought and background through the inclusion
of qualified people from diverse backgrounds including ethnic or racial
minorities, women, and refuse to engage in and or sanction discrimination on the
basis of race, gender, age, religion, national origin, sexual orientation,
physical appearance, or disability.
- Refuse to engage in and or sanction activities for personal gain at the
expense of the organization.
- Strive to build collaborative relationships with other industry professionals
and others for the advancement of the profession of destination management.
The Basic Tenets
Each of us is required to observe the highest standards of honesty and
integrity in dealings with each other, others in the business community, and
internal and external stakeholders. The principles and policies that follow, and
those policies found in the Employee Handbook, define those responsibilities.
A Description of Ethics, Values and Integrity
Ethics: In this context, ethics defines what is right and wrong, good and
bad, acceptable and unacceptable. Ethics define our moral obligations to all
those with whom we interact, to the company and to all stakeholders. Our ethics
and values are the principles of conduct governing us as individuals and as an
organization and they conform to accepted proper professional and personal
standards of conduct as well as “public policy” using the legal and morale
definition of a “reasonable person.”
Values: Values are our belief system. They are what we believe to be
fundamentally important to the Company in terms of how we conduct ourselves and
the company’s business. They are the personal and professional characteristics
that form the bedrock and foundation of our organization.
Accountability, transparency and integrity and we don’t accept obfuscation,
evasiveness, and half-truths meant to mislead or, even worse, to deceive.
Personal responsibility for what happens right and what happens wrong and we
don’t accept hiding behind organization or team accountability.
Personal and organizational integrity to be counted on to do what is right
because it is right versus finding the self-serving solution.
Creativity and innovation– finding new ways to accomplish the mission rather
than reheating what used to work yesterday.
Integrity: Integrity refers to an unwavering adherence to a high standard of
personal conduct, beliefs or set of values in all activities and under all
circumstances. Integrity precludes resorting to hedging, quibbling, evasive or
misleading behavior, or statements.
Areas to Which the Code of Conduct Applies
Public Policy, Compliance and Laws: Employees are expected to obey all, state
and local laws in their personal lives and in meeting their responsibilities as
members of the staff of the Company. This includes adherence to laws and public
policy prohibiting sexual or other forms of harassment or discrimination. More
importantly, we are expected to follow the spirit of the law – its principles
and intent – even more than the letter of the law.
Principles vs. Policy: Specifically, we are driven by principles and not by
the “policies” designed to accomplish them. That is, we acknowledge that we are
not a bureaucratic organization subject to rules but rather an organization of
thinking people who will take prudent actions to accomplish the mission, while
at the same time, stay the course of ethical conduct.
Conflicts of Interest
All decisions, activities and affiliations are to be undertaken in the best
interest of the company and the public good without the possibility of creating
a hint or the perception of impropriety. In this regard, we are not meant to
look after the best interest of any single person, stakeholder, or constituent,
but rather the organization’s mission and principles, a concept we call “first
loyalty” to the organization’s mission and principles.
Outside employment: Employees may work for themselves or others while a full
time employee of the company but this is subject to a number of specific
safeguards. The major provisions are:
- Outside employment must be arm’s length, fully disclosed, and approved by
the Competent Authority in advance.
- The outside work may not distract from the employee’s primary responsibilities
to the Bureau.
- Employees may not use proprietary or confidential information that belongs to
the bureau without the written permission of the Competent Authority
- Employees may not work in a field which would be compromising or embarrassing
to the Company.
- Employees may not use bureau resources such as pc’s, software, telephones,
copiers, or fax equipment without authorization.
- Outside work may not be conducted on bureau property or on company time
without written authorization.
- Employees may reveal that they are members of the Company staff, but not in a
way that would result in awkwardness or embarrassment for the Company.
If the company determines that an employee’s outside work interferes with his
or her performance or ability to meet the job requirements, he or she may be
asked to terminate the outside employment or to resign from the Company
Gifts and Special Treatment: Transactions between the Company and outside
organization that includes or appear to include an unusual gain, favors, gifts,
special price breaks, kickbacks or other individual benefits to employees is not
Employment of Relatives: This is permitted provided that the relationship is
fully disclosed and arm’s length, with no favorable treatment, and subject to
the same screening and employment standards of others. In addition, relatives
may not work in a direct reporting relationship or deal with the confidential
information relating to each other.
Books and Records: Will be maintained in a manner that accurately reflects
all company’s financial transactions, performance history and activities.
Falsification of Company records regardless of motive is strictly prohibited
including personal and organizational accountability for end-results, total
transparency from the standpoint of accurately reflecting “what happened”, and
integrity in the process in that it fits together and makes sense.
Falsification, obfuscation, or intent to deceive or mislead through organization
records regardless of motive is unacceptable.
Zero Tolerance: All breaches of ethical conduct will have a measured response
based on the nature of the offense, 100% of the time. (This does not mean
automatic termination, but it does mean a full investigation, and if found
guilty, a punishment equal to the nature of the offensive, including civil or
criminal prosecution if warranted.
Personal Behavior: This requires treating each other with respect and
dignity; telling the truth, without quibbling or evasive statements; making
decisions and taking action using the highest standards of honesty and ethics.
It means listening to each other, respecting each other’s ideas and respecting
and honoring the diversity of opinions. Personal behavior also includes
appropriate actions to maintain a business atmosphere.
Fraud Aspects of the Code of Conduct
D&A’s position on fraud, misappropriation and similar acts is one of zero
tolerance. These acts may result in immediate termination or suspension, pending
an internal or legal review of the facts. We also believe that we are duty-bound
by our obligations to each other and to stakeholders to prosecute illegal acts
and to require restitution, in the belief that it is not appropriate to allow
the organization to suffer the consequences of acts of malfeasance or
misfeasance by members of the organization.
We also believe that we are duty-bound to pro-actively find and report such
acts – that this is not a passive injunction, but rather an obligation.
We also believe that these actions are the personal responsibility of each
member of the staff, regardless of position. That is, each of us is positively
and proactively required to recognize and report fraud and related areas of
misbehavior, and that the company is responsible for the investigation and
resolution of issues related to suspected fraud, embezzlement, misappropriation
and other similar irregularities.
The term “fraud” as used in this policy includes misappropriation and other
irregularities including dishonest or fraudulent acts, embezzlement, forgery or
alteration of negotiable instruments, misappropriation of company, employee,
customer, partner or supplier assets. It also includes conversion to personal
use of cash, supplies or any other assets, unauthorized handling or reporting of
company transactions and falsification of records or financial reports for
personal or other reasons.
Fraud also includes performance reports intended to mislead or deceive,
whether or not the fraudulent reports result in payments based on a
performance-based compensation plan.
The above list is not inclusive but intended to be representative of
situations involving fraud. Fraud may be perpetrated not only by company’s
employees, but by agents and other outside parties as well. All such situations
require specific action by the Company.
Responsibilities of the Staff, Investigation Procedure, and Disciplinary
All staff members: Every staff member has an ethical obligation to report
breaches of this Code of Conduct without a misguided loyalty to any person who
abuses the policy. Loyalty to an individual who would put the organization’s
reputation in jeopardy and do harm to other employees is a profoundly misguided
act. If no action is taken upon reporting a violation, the staff member should
make the report to the next level of management.
Retribution: It is a violation of this Code of Conduct and company policy as
well as public policy to intimidate or impose any form of retribution on an
employee or agent who utilizes reporting procedures in good faith to report
Ethics Committees: There is an Ethics Committee of the company is headed by
the Company and an Ethics Committee of the Board, each with explicitly assigned
responsibilities and the authority to act on the company’s behalf, subject to an
explicit grant of authority by the full board.
Disciplinary Measures: Supervisors, managers, the Leadership Team, the
Company and Board, each subject to explicit grants of authority from the full
board, will determine whether violations of the Code or the spirit or intent of
the Code have occurred. If so, they will determine the appropriate disciplinary
measures to be taken. The disciplinary measures may include counseling, oral or
written reprimands, warnings, probation or suspension without pay, demotions,
reduction in salary, termination of employment, required restitution and the
filing of appropriate civil or criminal charges. Restitution will be required in
People subject to disciplinary measures: The violator, others involved in the
wrongdoing such as people who fail to use reasonable care to ensure the
violation doesn’t happen in the first place, people who should but fail to
detect a violation, people who withhold material information regarding a
violation, and supervisors who approve or condone the violations or attempt to
retaliate against employees or agents for reporting violations or violators.
Loyalty is critically important to the principles and mission of the company,
but not to a single person or member of the board. If no action is taken upon
reporting a violation, the staff member is obliged to report the incident to the
next level of management.
Investigation of Violations
If the company receives information regarding an alleged violation of this
Code (such a sexual harassment, fraud, or similar actions) those persons
authorized and appointed by the authority to investigate alleged violations
- Evaluate such information as to the credibility and gravity of the
- Undertake a formal investigation,
- Prepare a report of the investigation results with recommendations as to
the disposition of the issue, and
- Disclose results to law enforcement agencies if warranted by the nature
of the violation,
- Ensure a complete resolution of the event in a timely manner.
The board of directors has an explicit obligation to set the moral tone of
the organization. The board usually accomplishes this by assigning explicit
responsibilities to the chief executive, who will establish and communicate this
Code-of-Conduct and expected standards to a specific member of the staff –
generally the chief financial officer or head of Human Resources – as well as to
every single person in the organization. Staff members are obliged to report
breaches – the assigned Ethics/Compliance Officer is responsible to investigate,
resolve and close each incident. Each person on the Leadership Team, the Senior
Staff, managers and supervisors, and all others have explicit responsibilities
for recognizing, reporting, and otherwise responding to such issues.
Disciplinary Measures are addressed separately.
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