Visit Sacramento announced that longtime leader and Chief Marketing Officer Sonya Bradley will become Chief of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI). This new position was created specifically to address the organization’s commitment to taking action and creating change when it comes to DEI within Visit Sacramento, the tourism industry in the Sacramento region and throughout the country. Bradley, a 25-year veteran of the travel and tourism industry, has most recently overseen marketing at Visit Sacramento for the past 15 years. She helped lead the creation of the position after the killing of George Floyd prompted Bradley and the team at Visit Sacramento to reexamine its own actions around equity and inclusion and look more deeply at the organization’s role in the community. And after spending her entire professional career in tourism, Bradley feels a personal call to pave the way for the next generation of tourism workers. Bradley has already begun establishing steering committees to inform her work, made up of local leaders and experts who can speak to the challenges and experiences of people of color, the LGBTQ+ community and other historically underrepresented groups in Sacramento. She currently serves as the chair for the CalTravel (California Travel Association) DEI committee established last year.
Governor Eric J. Holcomb announced Karrah A. Herring as Indiana’s first-ever chief equity, inclusion and opportunity officer. Herring started her new role on Feb. 1, 2021. In addition to naming Herring, the governor also announced that the CenterPoint Energy Foundation is supporting the state’s diversity and inclusion programs and services. Herring previously served as the director of public affairs for the University of Notre Dame, where she worked since 2011. From 2014 until 2018, she served on Notre Dame’s Human Resource’s Senior Leadership Team as director of the Office of Institutional Equity and Title IX coordinator. In this role, Herring provided oversight and support of the university’s efforts to comply with federal and state civil rights laws related to policies prohibiting discrimination, harassment, and retaliation. Herring created Notre Dame’s affirmative action plans, had oversight of employee disability compliance for the campus, and oversaw workplace investigations falling under Title VII and Title IX. Herring earned her undergraduate degree from Purdue University and her law degree from Valparaiso University. Gov. Holcomb announced the creation of the chief equity, inclusion and opportunity officer during his August address to the state. The officer focuses on improving state government operations as well as drive systemic change to remove hurdles in the government workplace and services the state provides. Herring helps agencies develop strategic plans to remove any barriers. As a member of the governor’s cabinet, Herring reports directly to the governor. Through its charitable foundation, CenterPoint Energy has been in discussions with the state since the announcement of the position in August to help understand how they may partner with the state of Indiana to enhance diversity and inclusion programs. The CenterPoint Energy Foundation, through its strategic giving areas, supports programs that serve under-resourced populations to help communities thrive.
Tourism Cares remains committed to create an inclusive industry with the first Diversity in Tourism grantee being the Cultural Heritage Economic Alliance, Inc., a 501(c)3 non-profit based in Washington, DC, which powers the National Blacks in Travel and Tourism Collaborative (BTT). The grant will support BTT’s Black Talent Tourism Directory (BTTD). The Black Talent Tourism Directory is an online platform created as a matchmaking tool for Black travel and tourism businesses, professionals and students to access business, employment, internship, speaker and media opportunities in travel and tourism. Through BTTD, a series of professional development webinars will be offered to help prepare Blacks in travel and tourism to take full advantage of industry opportunities. Industry stakeholders such as DMOs, travel associations, brands and media can join BTTD as industry partners and post opportunities to match with Black talent. Industry partner’s membership also support the maintenance and sustainability of the platform as an industry resource.
United Airlines, the only major U.S. airline to own a flight school, began accepting applications as it embarks on an ambitious plan to train 5,000 new pilots by 2030, at least half of them women and people of color. Backed by scholarship commitments from United Airlines and JPMorgan Chase, United Aviate Academy will create opportunities for thousands of students, including women and people of color to pursue a career as a commercial airline pilot, one of the most lucrative careers in the industry. In addition, for those United Aviate Academy students who may need additional financing, United has partnered with Sallie Mae to offer private student loans to ensure that no highly-qualified, highly-motivated, eligible applicants will be turned away solely because they can’t afford to enroll. United Aviate Academy expects to enroll 100 students in 2021. To break down the financial barriers that limited access to the airline pilot career path for generations of women and people of color, United has committed to fund $1.2 million in scholarships. The airline’s credit card partner, JPMorgan Chase has also committed $1.2 million to support women and people of color who are accepted to United Aviate Academy. United will leverage its long-standing relationships with a variety of organizations, including the Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals, Sisters of the Skies, the Latino Pilots Association and the Professional Asian Pilots Association to help identify and steer highly qualified, diverse candidates to the United Aviate Academy. As key partners, these organizations will select the applicants to receive the scholarships and grants funded by United and JPMorgan Chase. For more information on Aviate, visit unitedaviate.com.
NYC & Company, the official destination marketing organization and convention and visitors bureau for the five boroughs of New York City, announced that Rondel Holder has joined the organization as Senior Director of Multicultural Content. In his new role, Holder will be responsible for creating content with a focus on New York City’s cultural diversity and BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) communities. As a senior member of NYC & Company’s Creative/Content Group, he will create content for the organization’s channels including nycgo.com, and develop collaborations with diverse voices and content partners who authentically speak to New York City’s many cultures. “With more than a decade of expertise in storytelling and content creation, and his passion for championing Black travelers and multicultural communities, he will be a terrific addition to our team and we look forward to working with him to develop dynamic five-borough content that will inspire locals and visitors alike,” said Nancy Mammana, Chief Marketing Officer, NYC & Company. “As a New York City native, from and residing in Flatbush, Brooklyn, it’s an honor and privilege to represent my hometown in this role. I’m elated to join the NYC & Company team to further spotlight multicultural stories, experiences and opportunities throughout all five boroughs. To amplify and advocate for the countless diverse communities that are an integral part of NYC culture is in perfect alignment with who I am and what I represent,” said Rondel Holder, Senior Director of Multicultural Content, NYC & Company. For more information about New York City, visit nycgo.com.
Elliott Ferguson, Chairman of the Board for Tourism Diversity Matters (TDM) and President and CEO, Destination DC, and Mike Gamble, TDM’s Founder and President and CEO of SearchWide Global announced the collective impact model to inspire authenticity and inclusive leadership throughout the tourism and events industry. TDM’s mission is to be a resource to foster diversity, equity and inclusion practices that will educate, advocate, engage and empower in collaboration and cooperation with all industry initiatives. Founding partners include ConferenceDirect Foundation, Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau (PHLCVB), and SearchWide Global. Ferguson, one of the few Black leaders in destination marketing has been a long-time advocate for repairing diversity deficiencies and misrepresentations in the corporate environment. “Addressing racism should impact how you lead – it’s an American issue,” said Ferguson. TDM’s four guiding pillars include Apprenticeship Programs; Workforce Development; Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), and Research and Data. The goal is to sustain and expand the platform by collaborating with associated organizations and industries and notable research institutions to develop impactful solutions for all involved. Greg DeShields, CDE, CHE, a respected leader on behalf of DEI and regarded for initiatives to raise Philadelphia’s image as a multicultural visitor destination, has been named Executive Director. In addition to this new leadership role, he will continue to lead PHL Diversity, a division of PHLCVB. About Tourism Diversity Matters Tourism Diversity Matters (TDM) is a 501 C (6) founded as the collaborative leader of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives and concepts that can address the blind spots of ethnic disparities and provide decision-makers in the tourism industry access, resources, and tactics to develop more effective Diversity & Inclusion strategies that will engage and retain a diverse workforce. At TDM, we focus on four primary pillars of activity to benefit the Tourism Industry: Apprenticeships, Workforce Development, Diversity Equity and Inclusion, Research and Data. TDM’s goal is to sustain and expand our platform by affiliating with fellow industry partners and notable research institutions, creating solutions that can be implemented, contributing to organizational success. Follow TDM @TDM_Matters on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.
The Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce named Lorne Steedley, M.S., M.A., as Vice President, Diversity and Inclusive Growth. “Lorne Steedley brings a depth of experience in economic and community development, urban studies and equity-focused collaboration in the business and philanthropic sectors to our talented Chattanooga Chamber team. Lorne will help us move our community closer to the Velocity2040 and Chattanooga Climbs vision of an inclusive economy and collaborative leadership – a community where every resident is thriving,” said Christy Gillenwater, President & CEO, Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce. Velocity2040 is a community-wide visioning process that included a survey to which some 5,000 Hamilton County residents responded, expressing their dreams for the future of Chattanooga. Chattanooga Climbs is a 5-year economic and talent development strategic plan. www.chattanoogachamber.com
American Airlines announced that Kenneth Charles has been named the airline’s Chief Inclusion and Diversity Officer. In this new role, Charles will lead American’s global inclusion and diversity strategies. This includes establishing the company’s Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion to ensure best practices are implemented across all aspects of American’s people and business processes. “Ken brings a wealth of experience to the team and is a proven leader in creating global inclusion strategies,” said American’s Chairman and CEO Doug Parker. “We are on a journey to enhance our approach to diversity, equity and inclusion across American, and Ken will help chart our course to ensure American is an industry leader. Our decision to become more intentional in this area is vital to our global business. Ken will provide a needed and important voice in all of our critical decision-making.” American has taken a number of steps to strengthen its inclusion and diversity practices. These include implementing both computer-based and in-person implicit bias training for all 130,000 team members and creating a specialized team to listen to, resolve and learn from customer feedback. “We have progressed our company’s focus on inclusion and diversity, and we recognize we can and will do even more,” added Parker. “We are committed to building on our diverse and inclusive culture to not only make American a welcoming airline for all customers, but also a great place to work for every team member.”