The company’s efforts are being recognized too. Hilton’s diversity practices earned it 20 awards in 2012 and DiversityInc placed the company in its 2013 top 10 companies for supplier diversity, recognizing the company’s commitment to spend with minority and women-owned business enterprises.
“The hospitality industry is so visible,” says Kornegay. “There’s a direct connection between you and the customer. You see things immediately so you see the impact on customers, on a community.” He notes that having immediate feedback like this really heightens a person’s desire to do good work. “I feel like I’m living on the front page of the newspaper,” says Nelson. “I touch business around the globe. It’s incredibly exciting and exhilarating to learn about new parts of the world.”
The fact of the matter is that today’s winning companies are quick to embrace the idea of diversity and inclusion in business practices. The new leaders in hospitality have realized that a multicultural model of thought is one of the surest ways toward understanding a diverse, growing market of travelers and employees. For them, diversity is the new comfort zone.
And while it’s vitally important to be a good global citizen, the bottom line is still always the bottom line, and favorable opportunity exists. Diversity and inclusion serve both. “I’m encouraged by the quality of the leaders I’ve seen,” says Fernandez. “They know it’s a multicultural world, so I have real hope. It’s a good time to be in the business.”
The Lodging HR and Diversity Summit is a two-day educational event that brings together hotel owners, executives, HR professionals, thought leaders, and academics in a campus-like setting to discuss the importance of diversity within the hospitality industry. For more information and to register visit www.lodgingevents.com/hrd.