Episode 226:

Roni Weiss was born in Long Island, New York, and grew up in Snohomish County, Washington, north of Seattle.

At the age of 10, Roni began attending Edmonds Community College (now Edmonds College), receiving his Associates of Arts and Science with Honors at the age of 12. He graduated from Lynnwood High School at age 15, then attended the University of Washington, receiving double Bachelors of Arts degrees in Drama and English by the time he was 18 years old.

Through years of world travels, Roni visited 70+ countries, including every country in Europe, six of seven continents, and taught English in Italy, France, Taiwan, and Chile, both to youth and professionals.

In 2011, Roni founded RW Social, a marketing and consulting company for the travel industry and nonprofits. From 2011 to 2016, Roni worked with Africa Travel Association (now Africa Tourism Association), assisting with and speaking at ATAs events in NYC, DC, and multiple African countries.

In 2013, RW Social launched the New York Travel Festival, an event focused on innovation and sustainability in the world of travel, which served as the genesis for Travel Unity, where he now serves as Executive Director.

Roni lives in Westchester County, NY with his partner, Lauren, and their four children.

Destination on the Left is joined by Roni Weiss, Executive Director of Travel Unity. On our podcast, Roni discusses his unique journey into the travel and tourism industry and the world of entrepreneurship. He explains how a broader view on community impact can create a win-win for both the tourism organization and the community it serves. In addition, Roni makes the case for why representation in marketing and PR needs to be executed thoughtfully and consistently with more depth. This conversation is the key to getting started or leveling up your focus on DEI, and Roni brings so much value to the table.

What You Will Learn:

  • Roni’s unique journey into the travel and tourism industry and the world of entrepreneurship
  • How a broader view on community impact can create a win-win for both tourism organizations and the communities they serve
  • Why representation in marketing and PR needs to be executed thoughtfully and consistently with more depth
  • Personal vs. Organizational Development tactics in the travel and tourism industry
  • Tips for finding the right candidates during the hiring process

Travel Unity

Roni Weiss is the Executive Director of Travel Unity, a non-profit focused on increasing diversity in the world of travel through individual and community empowerment. On our podcast, Roni discusses his unique journey into the travel and tourism industry and the world of entrepreneurship. He explains how a broader view on community impact can create a win-win for both the tourism organization and the community it serves. In addition, Roni makes the case for why representation in marketing and PR needs to be executed thoughtfully and consistently with more depth. This conversation is the key to getting started or leveling up your focus on DEI, and Roni brings so much value to the table.

Overcoming Inequality in Travel and Tourism

Travel Unity provided Roni with the opportunity to make an impact on both the personal development side and the business/organizational development side of the travel and tourism industry. The center circle of this ven diagram is the inequality in this world. Initially, that took the form of socioeconomic status in Roni’s work. But as he grew, Roni dove even deeper into the concept of cultural exchange, searching for new ways to bridge the gap between all types of people from different walks of life. When travel organizations adopt a similar perspective and focus on building connections in the communities they serve, it will help develop an environment where everyone thrives.

Be Proactive in the Hiring Process

Once a community has stitched the tears in its connective tissue, the travel and tourism sector can make a greater impact than ever before. Pushing for personal and organizational development in the community will create a future workforce that shares the same values. This is an ideal framework to work from as an organization grows. When adding new team members and filling existing roles, it is important to do everything in our power to build a team that supports our vision for diversity. Homogony doesn’t exist because we aren’t getting the candidates we need, it exists because we aren’t going out there to find them. This is something we have complete control over, and it will change the dynamic of our teams for years to come.

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