Making a Difference Through Community
In my previous role, diversity and inclusion were front and center. I was the Director of Events for Nashville CARES, an HIV and AIDS organization, so my focus was on planning large-scale community events like the AIDS Walk and Dining Out for Life. By virtue of the work that we did and the communities that we served, diversity was a daily focus, a daily mission.
Six years ago, I left Nashville CARES to join RHP. Diversity was actually one of my concerns when I joined this company—it didn’t seem like it was talked about much. I came to work at the Grand Ole Opry, which is a very traditional organization. As a gay male, I worried about how I was going to be accepted, how I was going to be perceived, how I was going to fit in. I didn’t know what to expect.
I was part of the first Diversity Council where we discussed ways that the company could evolve, how we could have diversity better represented. We all agreed that OPEN just felt perfect. It speaks to everything that we want employees to feel—welcome and free to be themselves. People understand what that word means, so they’re more likely to get involved.
I hope OPEN serves as that beacon to people who may feel different or who are worried about joining the company. Once they see that we have something like this, they’re going to feel like it’s a company they can consider. They know that they’re welcome before they even walk in the door. I hope that this creates that feeling of safety for people.
Now that we’ve started taking these steps internally, it’s time to showcase it externally. We can do everything to make employees feel great, but we should also focus on making sure the community knows, making sure that the people who are searching for jobs know, that other organizations and businesses know, what RHP stands for—that we are supportive and diverse in our workforce and in our beliefs.
Chaley – Leadership & Development Manager, Corporate
Austin – Group Services Manager
Nicole – Marketing Strategy – Hotels