Code of Conduct

BIO is strongly committed to diversity, equity, and the free exchange of ideas. We seek to provide an environment of mutual respect where diverse participants may come together to learn, celebrate their accomplishments, and enjoy one another’s company. We recognize a shared responsibility to create and maintain such an environment for the benefit of all.

In order to provide a civil, harassment-free experience for everyone who participates in the organization’s activities, the following behaviors (in-person or online) are prohibited:

  • Harassment, intimidation, or discrimination in any form based on race, religion, language, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, disability, appearance, national origin, ethnicity, or other group identity
  • Sexual harassment or intimidation, including inappropriate overtures, unwelcome sexual attention, stalking, unsolicited physical contact, or quid pro quo harassment
  • The use of BIO meetings or materials, including the membership directory, to engage in harassment or intimidation via e-mail, text, social media, or phone

All BIO members and participants in BIO events and activities—including staff, speakers, guests, and attendees—are expected to observe these rules and behaviors during the activities themselves and in related interactions.



BIO asks all conference registrants, speakers at BIO events, and new members to read the Code of Conduct and agree to abide by it as a condition of participation.

In addition, BIO asks its employees, contractors, officers, members of the Board of Directors, committee chairs, committee members, BIO coaches, roundtable hosts, and others in positions of leadership to make a commitment to actively and intentionally create a welcoming environment focused on the work of biography, free from inappropriate behavior.

Reporting Procedures

BIO takes complaints of misconduct seriously and encourages those who have experienced violations of the Code of Conduct to report them. Complaints shall be submitted in writing to BIO’s Executive Committee through the President, Executive Director, or any officer of the Board. A complainant may request assistance from any BIO officer or employee.

The Executive Committee shall promptly review the complaint and determine the nature and extent of any further inquiry that may be needed to understand the circumstances giving rise to the complaint. The Executive Committee shall then determine whether corrective action is needed and shall contact the complainant about the results.

If a report is submitted anonymously or if the complainant does not wish the accused to be notified, the Executive Committee shall keep the complaint in a confidential file but may not be able to take further action.

If the President, Executive Director, or other Executive Committee member is the subject of the complaint, that person or persons shall recuse themselves from any involvement in the handling of the complaint.


BIO shall make every reasonable effort to protect the confidentiality of all parties. Confidentiality, however, is not absolute, and BIO may be obligated to inform those with legitimate reasons to know about the complaint. BIO encourages all parties to treat the matter with discretion.


BIO strictly prohibits retaliation for reporting harassment, intimidation or discrimination, or for participating in an investigation relating to any complaint made. Possible sanctions for retaliation are the same as for other violations of BIO’s Code of Conduct.


Sanctions may include the following:

  • warning that the inappropriate behavior must stop
  • immediate removal from the event, without refund
  • denial of access to BIO venues and online communities
  • withholding an honorarium
  • prohibition from future speaking engagements
  • removal from the Board and other leadership positions
  • removal from membership and forfeiture of dues
  • removal of member website and profile from BIO materials
  • prohibition of future BIO membership