Making a Difference Through Community
When I was nominated to participate in RHP’s first Diversity Council, I thought, “I’m sure there are probably a lot of people who would be great for this. What can I bring to the table?” Then I thought through my own personal journey. I am a Caucasian female, but I’m also the child of an immigrant. I’m a mom of two young girls balancing family and career priorities. I’ve mentored and managed a diverse workforce and overcome my own challenges, often being the only female at a conference room table. My story is one worth sharing.
Everyone has a story worth hearing. The more stories we listen to and welcome into the conversation, the better the outcome. By combining our foundational culture and experience with the perspectives of newcomers, we continue to make RHP even more innovative, agile, and inclusive. It just makes us better and attracts better talent and do better work.
As our Diversity Council cohort brainstormed ideas around diversity and inclusion, we kept hearing that same word over and over again: OPEN. After all, in the hospitality industry we’re OPEN to all customers. We’re OPEN for business. We’re OPEN minded. It was clear that there was a reason we kept hearing that word. We’re OPEN. Who doesn’t want to be OPEN? Most people want to be considered OPEN.
Using OPEN to drive our D&I initiative inadvertently changes the mindset. You can’t force people to change their personal perspective, but you can ask them to be OPEN minded and maybe start to think differently. We’re asking people to be OPEN to receiving the information we’re sharing — that it matters to get to know people, it matters to listen, to learn, to understand. It matters to make sure that we’re reflective of more than just ourselves.
We strengthened the OPEN concept this platform where people can be OPEN about their stories and interests, helping someone find a colleague who has walked a similar path. By being OPEN with each other, we have a greater chance to connect and make our organization richer and more interesting. As a result we also OPEN the opportunity to better serve our customers and community.
Through this Diversity & Inclusion Council I have encountered amazing people who I would have likely never met in my role or job function. It made me realize how we can all sometimes be siloed in our daily workstreams or locations. OPEN is intended to empower everyone to think beyond their floor, their wing, their building.
This council really drove home to me the idea that diversity and inclusion is not just a demographic profile. Just because you look a certain way or come from a certain socioeconomic background does not mean that you don’t fit into the diversity and inclusion conversation. OPEN includes everyone, top down, side to side.
Building a community is crucial to this program. It has to be fueled by individuals and remain authentic. If we can accomplish that, we can achieve our goals.
With OPEN, we have an opportunity to share real stories from real employees. So please, explore, listen, learn, contribute, and above all, stay OPEN. We want to hear all opinions and perspectives.
Lisa – Compensation Analyst
Topher – Sr. Events Manager, Grand Ole Opry
Austin – Group Services Manager