Being a Good Human: Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the Travel Industry
Posted: 7/14/2021 - 3-Minute Read
At the Chamber, we’ve been welcoming members and visitors of various backgrounds to the Lake George region for years. We want to be a leader in diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), which is why our staff is engaged in continuing to learn about the best practices of DEI and maintaining an ongoing open and authentic dialogue.
Several members of our staff and our SUNY Adirondack Summer 2021 Intern Kayla Tremaine attended Travel Unity’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Virtual Seminar on DEI in the travel industry. Kayla provided a thought-provoking piece about what she learned and applied to her own life experience during the seminar.
Read on below!
By Kayla Tremaine
LGRCC&CVB SUNY Adirondack Intern — Summer 2021
I attended my first webinar this week. It was on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion by Travel Unity.
I volunteered for it through my internship, it wasn’t a requirement, but I was interested in the topic.
I’m going to begin with Equity.
This Webinar used the image above to show the difference between Equality and Equity.
This is going to sound strange, but this image is beautiful to me. It so clearly shows the difference and exemplifies why Equity is needed in….well, the world. It’s needed in government, in business, in social institutions. I’ve interacted with quite a lot of people who often feel that because they made the first bike work for them, then it can work for everyone, if they just work hard enough, want it badly enough. This image shows how unreasonable that is.
I’m managing in this world, using the predetermined paths society and government has created but rather than looking back and thinking “I’m doing it, so can they.” I look back and think “How can this be better? How can we make it a little easier?” I want everyone to succeed, not just myself.
Inclusion…this one is a little harder for me, because I don’t really understand not including people, at least not in the work place. Obviously, outside the workplace there is exclusion because people want to spend their free time with other people that they “click” with, but work is work.
I think I probably need more work on Inclusion, I’ve always had the belief that you go to work, you get along with everyone and do your work. It’s not about personal feelings or preferences, it’s about the work. I have had situations where I didn’t want to work with certain individuals due to their having substandard work quality and ethics, and maybe that counts as excluding, but I’ve also been able to work smoothly with individuals I didn’t like personally but they did good work….So, I don’t know.
*Mental note: You need more work on inclusion, Kayla, my dear.*
Last but the farthest from least, Diversity.
The Webinar was DEI, Diversity was first, but I decided to cover it last because, well, it’s a sizzling topic in the grand old US of A right now.
Our host was quick to clarify the Diversity is more than just race, but when most people hear the word, they first thing they think of is race. Specifically black and white. A lot of people wouldn’t consider an organization diverse if it has no people of color, regardless of the range in ages, sexes, genders, orientations, religions, etc. Race is the most visually obvious difference, followed by gender and sexes, so it’s the easiest to use to quick judge an organization.
Alright I went off on my own little tangents a bit. Refocus, Kayla.
The Webinar was about DEI in the travel industry. How to grow Diversity, ensure Equity and be Inclusive.
The key is to observe and listen. It seems simple enough but it can often be difficult to actually see the problems before it’s too late.
It’s easy to fall into the belief that you are comfortable in your place in the business and assume that others are also. And we all know what assume means….*blink blink blink*
Anyway, be open, keep yourself present and aware. Ask questions, if it is appropriate. Be understanding and patient about differences…
From personal experience, I know I sometimes offend people by turning down some social invitations. I am a homebody and just a teensy bit anti-social *Quiet, Mom* and turning down an invite, sometimes resulted in more drama than necessary. It took time for people to understand that I’m just not a social butterfly, unlike my husband who absolutely thrives at parties and events.
Don’t hound people but regularly touch base with your people, coworkers, clients, and customers, to get a feel for how they’re doing. If anyone exhibits signs of unhappiness or discomfort, gently probe and try to remedy the situation.
Be there. Be present. Actively listen.
Be a good human.
Travel Unity Pledges
We learned Travel Unity has two pledges for those dedicated to DEI — one for organizations and another for individuals.
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