Meeting Mentor Magazine

December 2023

Hotel Industry Foundation Pledges $5 Million
to Further Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

It’s no secret that the hospitality industry is not as diverse as the population of guests — and meeting attendees — it serves. In fact, a 2019 NAACP report card found that “racial and ethnic minorities remain inequitably dispersed throughout the lodging work force,” with most entry-level and lower wage positions being held by people of color and an overwhelming majority of top management positions held by whites.

To help reverse this trend, the American Hotel & Lodging Foundation (AHLA Foundation) has launched a new $5 million, five-year plan to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in the hospitality industry. DEI has been a priority for the Foundation since its Board of Trustees voted unanimously at its October meeting to elevate DEI as a cornerstone platform.

The DEI plan was developed by a newly created DEI Task Force comprised of senior leaders throughout the industry who wanted to build on that platform with a five-year road map designed to identify and introduce programs to remove structural and behavioral barriers.

“The AHLA Foundation Board of Trustees recognized that we can do more to build on our legacy of opening doors of opportunity to all individuals regardless of race, ethnicity or gender, and we believe that this bold, new five-year plan takes us one step closer to reaching that goal,” said Rosanna Maietta, president and CEO of the AHLA Foundation. “This is a monumental example of an industry coming together to advance diversity, equity and inclusion, even at a time when COVID-19 has wiped out 10 years of job growth in the industry.”

The new initiative is based on four guiding principles:

-Diversifying representation at all levels to better serve our guests, associates, and communities.

-Elevating inclusive leadership across corporate entities, properties, franchisees, and supplier networks.

-Driving accountability and transparency to achieve measurable DEI results.

-Fostering innovative approaches to scale DEI within the industry.

The plan is to focus on driving DEI at the leadership level and across all talent levels, and t develop a DEI blueprint for the industry. The Foundation is kicking off the plan in 2021 by launching a leadership academy focused on increasing representation at the executive level, industry resources with sample policies and procedures to increase representation across all levels of the industry, a new mentorship program, and a national ad campaign to attract diverse talent as the hotel industry recovers from COVID-19 and travel and meetings return. Future plans include building job resources, providing executive coaching, and developing a DEI knowledge sharing platform.

Greg Juceam, president & COO of G6 Hospitality and AHLA Foundation board chairman, said, “Our vision is to build an industry as diverse as the guests we serve, and this new initiative will build on the industry’s long-standing commitment to promote diversity, equity and inclusion across all levels in our workforce.”


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ConferenceDirect is a global meetings solutions company offering site selection/contract negotiation, conference management, housing & registration services, mobile app technology and strategic meetings management solutions. It provides expertise to 4,400+ associations, corporations, and sporting authorities through our 400+ global associates.

About MeetingMentor
MeetingMentor, is a business journal for senior meeting planners that is distributed in print and digital editions to the clients, prospects, and associates of ConferenceDirect, which handles over 13,000 worldwide meetings, conventions, and incentives annually.

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