In the second of our three-part series from the Travel Unity Roadshow, we ask our seven guests to share their thoughts on how the travel industry can make an impact via the principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Rhonda’s conversations with all of these leaders in our industry were truly fascinating, and we’re excited to share them with you.
Highlights of this episode include why we should see tour guides for the storytellers they are and how their unique position allows them to be at the forefront of DEI education by expanding the viewpoints in the stories they tell about the destinations that they visit. Our guests also discuss the importance of emphasizing the principles of DEI to young people and college students and why they should be woven into every aspect of a destination.
- David Naczycz, owner of WeVenture
- Dustin Woerhmann, President and Creative Director of Communify
- Elijah Washington, Youth and Collegiate Programs Director at Travel Unity
- Greg DeShields, Executive Director, Tourism Diversity Matters
- Janette Roush, Executive Vice President of Marketing at NYC & Co
- Jennifer Grimmer, President and CEO of Gilmer Chamber of Commerce
- Karen Kuhl, Executive Director, Cayuga County CVB
The Travel Unity Roadshow Defined
The Travel Unity Summit highlights the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion in all aspects of the travel and tourism industry. The event allows destination marketers and other travel professionals to discuss how they can incorporate the principles of DEI into their everyday practice. Our seven guests also share their word of the summit — and the terms and concepts that appear are insightful.
David Naczycz, Owner of WeVenture
David shares why the travel industry has a significant role in promoting DEI. The scale of our industry is vast, as is the number of people we touch so we can impact our teams, our companies, and our visitors and model the values of diversity, equity, and inclusion. David also emphasizes the need to take the concept of decolonization seriously, take some time to reflect, and make changes so that we’re not exploiting people, we’re spreading the wealth, and including everybody.
Dustin Woerhmann, President and Creative Director of Communify
Dustin outline the steps Communify are taking to bring DEI to their organization in terms of helping destinations to tell their authentic stories. Communify works to create advisory groups with a broad range of interests from a broad range of backgrounds to help put together inclusive marketing content for a destination. Dustin tells us why his word of the summit is inclusive and how the event is shining a light on what it means to be genuinely inclusive.
Elijah Washington, Youth and Collegiate Programs Director at Travel Unity
Elijah describes the topics most often discussed by students and young people around DEI and what they are primarily interested in. He shares how they are bringing the discussion to the youth in college and how they make the topic more accessible and applicable to students in the high school age range. Elijah also notes why it is so interesting to hear students’ views on DEI and how it relates to their community or culture.
Greg DeShields, Executive Director, Tourism Diversity Matters
Tourism Diversity Matters was founded on the principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion. As such, it is their priority to work within the travel industry to address those gaps in DEI. They help business leaders with appropriate resources and valuable strategies for their DEI programs via their four-pillar approach. Greg outlines the four pillars of his organization — the apprenticeship program, workforce development, DEI training, and research and data — and explains how each helps in reducing social and economic inequality and building awareness.
Janette Roush, Executive Vice President of Marketing at NYC & Co
Janette explores why accessibility needs a place in the world of inclusion and how NYC and Co are making an impact as marketers via the stories they tell. She describes why they devoted a lot of time during the pandemic to finding a broad range of stories that touch various audiences and sharing them via content hubs on their site. Janette’s word of the summit is ‘warm’ because of the welcome she has received and the sense of enlightenment shared by so many passionate people at the summit.
Jennifer Grimmer, President and CEO of Gilmer Chamber of Commerce
Jennifer believes that the travel industry can make a significant impact by portraying everyone and being inclusive when it comes to travel. Our sector should convey a welcome to anyone visiting any destination and be attentive to people’s needs in marketing and discussing travel. It’s exciting for Jennifer that the Travel Unity Summit is so popular, and she is thrilled to see that so many people working for DMOs across the country are committed to DEI.
Karen Kuhl, Executive Director, Cayuga County CVB
Diversity, equity, and inclusion is woven into every part of the tourism industry. Karen shares how the Cayuga County CVB works with a variety of partnerships and ensures that each individual organization has the same opportunity to be elevated and celebrated. She discusses what it means to be an advocate and an authentic friend to organizations means understanding and listening to them, and how that creates an alignment with visitors.
I hope you enjoyed the second episode of our special three-part series from the Travel Unity Summitt. All of these inspirational leaders had so much to share on how their organizations continue to impact DEI in the travel and tourism industry. Next week we’ll hear from more remarkable travel and tourism experts, so I hope you’ll join the conversation!
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