For those new to my site, I am currently the Event Specialist for Visit Bucks County. One of my major projects within this position is managing and organizing the Visit Bucks County Education Series that we launched this year for our tourism and hospitality partners. With that said, I wanted to highlight a few items from our last program of this fiscal year held last Wednesday, June 6, 2018:
Diversity & Inclusion: Providing Service for Today’s Visitors
This program was generously hosted by Ron Davis (Director of Diversity & Community Outreach) and his team at Parx Casino in Bensalem, PA and the panel of expert speakers included Greg DeShields (Executive Director, PHLDiversity), Dr. Debra Blair (Associate Professor & Director Assessment, Temple University’s School of Sport, Tourism & Hospitality Management), and Tami Sortman (Founder and Vice President, Philadelphia Gay Tourism Caucus). So first, I would like to thank all of the above and everyone else that made this event possible.
Despite living in 2018, the term “diversity and inclusion” (D&I) is still a slightly dirty word. At one point in time people didn’t want to talk about it because no one ever talked about those topics. Now people don’t want to talk about it because there seems to be an air of desensitivty since so many people are throwing that term, and similar terms around, without understand the vast spectrum and the constant changes that are part of diversity and inclusion training. Now, with that said, there are many focus areas within this realm, but this particular training focused on the business case of D&I, culture, and LGBTQIA+.
Instead of getting on my soap box and preaching at you on the topic, I wanted to give you some small, more digestible highlights from the program!
When thinking about “diversity,” a great way to conceptualize the term, as mentioned by Greg DeShields, is to think of diversity as a grouping of varying perspectives brought together at one table.
From a business perspective, it is insane that organizations are ignoring the buying power of various segments of diverse markets. Provided by PHLDiveristy, the African American community has a buying power of $1.3 trillion, the Hispanic Latino community has a buying power of $1.5 trillion, and the Asian American community has a buying power of $1 trillion.
Did you know that Asian Americans, on average, take 3.3 trips per year, in comparison to African Americas whose average is 1 and Hispanic Latinos whose average is 1.7. Are they visiting your destination?
The Center for Cultural Intelligence and Project Implicit by Harvard University are great resources to learn more about cultural intelligence and implicit and unconscious bias.
What does LGBTQIA stand for? Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and asexual. A great resource to look at for the definitions of these words and more is provided by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation.
To put it simply, understanding gender pronouns is not cut and dry. In fact, the English language has no gender neutral pronouns. The easiest and best way to find out what pronouns someone prefers is to just ask. People will be open to disusing how they want to be identified so don’t just assume.
Diversity and inclusion efforts are not about quick fixes. D&I is about long-term efforts and strategy, and a true commitment to increase the consumer/visitor/guest experience for all. D&I is also about being proactive, not reactive.
Two books that were suggested by the speakers are the “Cosmopolitan Canopy” by Elijah Andersen and “Kiss, Bow or Shake Hands” by Terri Morrison and Wayne A. Conaway.
There is so much that our speakers were unable to cover in this program and there is so much that they talked about during the program that I did not cover here, because D&I is so expansive, as I mentioned earlier. I encourage everyone to check out a similar program by them to learn more about the people in their communities and in communities around the world. You never know what incredible ideas can be brought to the table and created by- and and in-collaboration with people from all walks of life!