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Creating a Culture of Equality in Hospitality: STHM Students Chart New Course

By: Courtney Kubitza
First Published: April 23, 2018
Topics: In the News, STHM School, Tourism & Hospitality

The true identity of any organization is created by its people. Diversity in ideas, values, and goals paired with a work environment of inclusiveness drives innovation and creates successful companies. In an industry dedicated to taking care of people and putting others first, the topic of diversity and inclusion is more important than ever for hospitality leaders.
At the School of Sport, Tourism, and Hospitality Management at Temple University, our students learn the importance of diversity and inclusion in the hospitality industry in and outside of the classroom.

Earlier this year, our students discovered firsthand how the role of diversity and inclusion impacts the success of Hyatt Worldwide during our Executives in Residence series. During the event, Vice President of Global Diversity & Inclusion at Hyatt Worldwide, Tyronne Stoudemire, shared insight of his career in diversity and inclusion with students.
In April, students in STHM’s chapter of National Society of Minorities in Hospitality (NSMH), charted a new course by hosting Temple University’s first Global Inclusivity Conference. The goal of this conference was to educate students on the importance of global inclusivity in the hospitality industry and discuss career strategies that influence future leaders of the hospitality and tourism industries. The conference, sponsored by PHLDiversity and IDEAL, brought together experienced professionals from all over the hospitality industry representing companies such as Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals, Bellevue Strategies, HelmsBriscoe, Sugarhouse Casino, and The Bynum Group.

For students attending the event, the experience was invaluable. Each student had the opportunity to learn from industry leaders and discuss challenges and opportunities facing the hospitality industry. Networking and workshops at the conference enhanced the student experience by discussing topics such as Realities of Entrepreneurship, Human Resources from a Millennial Perspective and How to Successfully Transition from College to Career.

The overarching concept of the conference can be found within each of the 13 guest speakers. There were professionals from the gaming industry, others from food and beverage, and some from destination management. Each of these sectors of the hospitality industry discussed the importance of diversity and inclusion in the workplace. STHM senior and President of Temple University’s NSMH chapter, Vanessa Chandler, shared her thoughts on the conference panels, “To see professionals in these respective fields making leaps and strides towards inclusion in hospitality was very impactful. It showed students endless possibilities within the hospitality industry and allowed for students to ask questions and learn about the variety in hospitality.”

Executive Director of PHLDiversity, Greg Deshields, expressed his excitement for the conference saying it was “terrific for charting a new course for Diversity and Inclusive and Career Strategies impacting future leaders of the Hospitality and Tourism industries”. A division of PHLCVB, PHLDiversity was the first Multicultural Affairs Congress (MAC) established by a convention and visitors bureau. The division has been instrumental in leading the discussion of diversity and inclusion and ensuring that meeting and hotel bookings in the city of Philadelphia reflect the shifting economic and cultural climate of our country. Their support of this conference helps to fuel the discussion in Philadelphia of inclusion in hospitality.

 A first for Temple University’s NSMH, the organization is looking forward to making this an annual event to bring more discussion around inclusion in the workplace.