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Hospitality veterans launch DEI Advisors

David Kong, Rachel Humphrey and Lan Elliott are the principals of newly launched DEI Advisors, a non-profit organization dedicated to empowering women and other minority groups.

The hospitality industry offers numerous career opportunities as well as paths for advancement, but even with all the progress made, women and minority groups continue to face a broken rung at the upper levels of management and leadership. Diversity is mainly at the bottom layers of the triangle currently and so things must change deeply.

A point that has not gone unnoticed by industry veterans such as David Kong, former CEO of BWH Hotels & Resorts, Rachel Humphrey, retirey Executive Vice President and COO of AAHOA, and Lan Elliott, Cofounder of Acacia Hospitality. According to David Kong, the sector needs more diversity, equity and inclusion at all upper-executive levels to keep advancing.

DEI Advisors was thus launched to address this issue. Through interviews with industry leaders, the non-profit organization hopes to share inspiration and guidance to help individuals navigate their careers by learning:

  • Overcome conscious and unconscious bias
  • Feel comfortable in seeking advancements
  • Triumph over structural barriers
  •  Establish networks, advocates, and mentors
  • Find strength and resilience in the face of adversity
  • Better integrate their work life and personal life

The interviews and insights will be distributed through social media channels including YouTube, Facebook and LinkedIn and can also be accessed through the organization’s website. There are also plans to repurpose the content and insights into a podcast and other resource materials in the future.

Some interviews are already available such as one with Geoff Ballotti, President and CEO of Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, Heather McCrory, CEO of Accor North & Central America, and Mary Beth Cutshall, Founder and Managing Partner of Amara Capital.

I formed DEI Advisors as a non-profit organization to collect and share insights and learnings from industry leaders. While many companies are doing wonderful work in the areas of DEI, individuals must also be responsible—and feel empowered—for their own personal growth and career aspirations. Essentially, we’re aiming to prepare future leaders in the industry for the driver’s seat of their own journey, where they get to truly help create and advocate for their own destiny. […] I’ve always been a champion for diversity, inclusion and equity in the industry. I’m now thrilled to take my passion and turn it into something that I truly hope will impact lives, change career trajectories and make a difference.

David Kong, Founder and Principal of DEI Advisors

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