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Destination On The Left

Destination On The Left is a podcast focused on the travel and tourism industry that explores successful collaborations, creative marketing ideas and best practices. Interviews are a mix of Destination Marketers, Industry Leaders, Consultants and businesses in the industry. We explore consumer marketing programs and travel trade marketing programs. This podcast provides an opportunity for professionals in the travel & tourism industry to share what they have learned and successes that they have achieved.
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Now displaying: October, 2020
Oct 28, 2020

Greg DeShields currently serves as the Executive Director at PHLDiversity a business development division of the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau.

As Executive Director of the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau PHLDiversity, Greg is responsible for developing and implementing plans, strategies, and initiatives specifically designed to raise Philadelphia’s image as a diverse multicultural destination leading to hotel room nights and economic impact for the region.

Greg is a graduate of Johnson & Wales University Providence, Rhode Island, with an A.S. Degree in Hotel & Restaurant Management; and B.S. Degree in Hospitality Management.

His professional development includes a certification from the Institute for Diversity, Urban League of Philadelphia, Leadership Forum, Leadership Philadelphia, and Greater Philadelphia Leadership Exchange.

Destination on the Left is joined by Greg DeShields, the Executive Director at PHLDiversity. PHLDiversity is a business development division of the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau that develops and implements plans, strategies, and initiatives specifically designed to raise Philadelphia’s image as a diverse multicultural destination. During our conversation, Greg talks about why it is so important for businesses to create a strategy for diversity, equity, and inclusion in their organizations AND communities. Then he explains what it takes to implement the strategy for long-term results.

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • Greg’s journey into the travel and tourism industry
  • How multiculturalism has a financial impact on destinations
  • How DEI continues to evolve as time moves forward
  • Why DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) is a marathon, not a sprint
  • The business case for creating a DEI strategy
  • How to foster community participation and involvement for diversity, equity, and inclusion
  • Why proactive strategy and planning is better for DEI than taking a reactive approach
  • How a collaboration between PHLDiversity and a local LGBT chamber led to new revenue and business for both organizations
  • How podcasting ties into the work that PHLDiversity does

The Expansion of DEI in Travel and Tourism

Greg DeShields is the Executive Director at PHLDiversity, a business development division of the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau. He is responsible for developing and implementing plans, strategies, and initiatives specifically designed to raise Philadelphia’s image as a diverse multicultural destination leading to hotel room nights and economic impact for the region. During our conversation, Greg talks about why it is so important for businesses to create a strategy for diversity, equity, and inclusion in their organizations AND communities. Then he explains what it takes to implement the strategy for long-term results.

The Evolution of Multiculturalism

After Greg spent some time getting settled in his career, he started to understand the economic impact that multiculturalism had on destinations across the globe. But once he moved from the board of directors to a leadership position in PHLDiversity, he started working to expand the table beyond culture. It embraced all communities like women and LGBT, and DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) continues to evolve over the years. Now, Greg and his team are focused on eliminating barriers and creating access for people of color.

Creativity and DEI

Normally we talk about examples of creativity used to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in the travel and tourism industry. But in this case, the PHLDiversity organization is an example in and of itself. The organization has been around for over 30 years, and in the late 1980s, Philidelphia was not known as a tourist destination. When Atlantic city started to gain notoriety, the city needed to find a way to engage diverse communities as gaming expanded. This led to the formation of a new organization that brought black voices into the discussion. Community participation has been a key part of their work to this day, and PHLDiversity continues to engage the local population in new and innovative ways.

Episode Transcript

We value your thoughts and feedback and would love to hear from you. Leave us a review on your favorite streaming platform to let us know what you want to hear more of. Here is a quick tutorial on how to leave us a rating and review on iTunes!: https://breaktheicemedia.com/rating-review/

Oct 21, 2020

Cindy Rodriguez is the Co-Founder of Adirondack Diversity Solutions, a Human Resources consulting firm focusing on diversity and inclusion within the workforce and beyond. Adirondack Diversity Solutions works with organizations to create and execute initiatives that share the organization’s vision, support its mission, and live its values through forward-leaning innovations that materialize the social and economic benefits of a diversified workforce and client base.

With over ten years of Human Resources experience spanning across industries, Cindy delivers innovative human resources solutions that promote transparency in policy and procedures, communication strategies, community engagement, all while embracing and embedding diversity, equity, and inclusion into organizational values, culture, policies, and practices.

Destination on the Left is joined by Cindy Rodriguez, Co-founder of Adirondack Diversity Solutions. Her company is an HR consulting firm that designs and implements initiatives around their clients’ visions, missions, and values. As a result, they can capitalize on the social and economic benefits of a diversified work environment. With over ten years of human resources experience, Cindy delivers innovative human resources solutions that promote transparency in policy and procedures, communication strategies, community engagement. On our podcast, Cindy explains how this approach to HR ties into the ideas of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • What is is like to be “one of a few”
  • Why there is a lack of representation in consumer campaigns
  • What travel and tourism professionals can do to improve engagement with diverse audiences
  • The work Cindy’s team is doing to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace
  • Why intentionality is such a powerful tool for travel and tourism professionals

Using Creativity and Collaboration to Address Racism

Cindy Rodriguez is the Co-founder of Adirondack Diversity Solutions, an HR consulting firm that designs and implements initiatives around their clients’ visions, missions, and values. With Cindy’s expertise, Adirondack’s clients can capitalize on the social and economic benefits of a diversified work environment. Cindy has over ten years of human resources experience, and she delivers innovative HR solutions that promote transparency in policy and procedures, communication strategies, community engagement. On our podcast, Cindy explains how this approach to HR ties into the ideas of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

“One of a Few”

Cindy is a first-generation Latina, and her love for travel and tourism was sparked by the annual trips to her parents’ home countries as she grew up in the United States. Through her experiences, however, Cindy often found herself feeling that she was “one of a few,” and that sparked her passion for the work with diversity, equity, and inclusion that she does today. Wanting those things is not enough. So Cindy partnered with Dr. Donathan Brown to help other organizations carry out those beliefs. From policies and procedures to recruitment and retention, they help clients engage communities of color to create more comprehensive products, programming, and outreach strategies.

Driving Community Engagement

Throughout her career, Cindy and Dr. Brown have relied heavily on creativity and collaboration to address racism in local communities. The Adirondack Experience and The Cooperstown Friends of The Village Library are two great examples. ADS has partnered with them to help tourism leaders of color share their journeys and visions for the future. While they’re helping to put the spotlight on this demographic, they are also engaging the community as a whole with a unique, action-oriented dialogue. The power of creativity and collaboration is limitless, even in unprecedented times.

Episode Transcript

We value your thoughts and feedback and would love to hear from you. Leave us a review on your favorite streaming platform to let us know what you want to hear more of. Here is a quick tutorial on how to leave us a rating and review on iTunes!: https://breaktheicemedia.com/rating-review/

Oct 14, 2020

Melissa Cherry serves as the Chief Operating Officer at Destinations International. She is responsible for the development and execution of the overall marketing and communications, product engagement, information technology, meetings, and education strategies to promote and elevate the Association’s mission and brand to drive awareness of its impact to advance the success of the destination marketing industry worldwide.

Prior to joining Destinations International, Melissa was senior vice-president for marketing and cultural tourism at Choose Chicago. During her four-year tenure at the city’s official destination marketing organization, she led Choose Chicago’s domestic and international marketing strategies, including all efforts for brand strategy, integrated marketing, research, advertising, official publications and collateral, website, social media, and event marketing. Additionally, she launched the first-ever Cultural Tourism Strategy to increase visitation and awareness to Chicago’s cultural entities, events, and neighborhoods.

John Percy is President and CEO of Destination Niagara USA. It is the official Tourism Promotion Agency and a full-service Destination Marketing Organization serving Niagara Falls and Niagara County, New York/USA. Previously, John served as Vice President of Sales and Marketing for the organization. Other prior experience includes Vice President of Tourism for the Niagara Falls Convention and Visitors Bureau and 15 years in shopping center marketing and management in both Western New York and Detroit, Michigan.

In addition to serving as Vice Chairman for the Board of Governors for the American Bus Association Foundation and on the Board of Directors for ABA’s actual association, John also serves as the current Chair-elect on the Destinations International Foundation Board of Trustees. He also serves on boards for the Niagara USA Chamber of Commerce, Niagara Falls Community Mission, and the Niagara Falls National Heritage Area.

John is also a co-chair of the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion task force for Destinations International, a task force that Melissa Cherry oversees in her role.

Destination on the Left is joined by Melissa Cherry, COO at Destinations International, and John Percy, President and CEO of Destination Niagra USA, to discuss America’s racial unrest. The conversation about equity, diversity, and inclusion can be uncomfortable to have, but it is needed in every aspect of our lives right now. On our podcast, Melissa and John share their personal stories about how they have been impacted by bias. The racial conversation is both a challenge and an opportunity, and there is so much we can do right now to make sure this moment in time does not pass us by.

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • Melissa and John’s journeys into travel and tourism
  • How equity, diversity, and inclusion manifest in the travel and tourism industry today
  • Melissa and John’s personal experience with racial bias
  • Why the conversation about race is both a challenge and an opportunity
  • How we can use creativity and collaboration to tackle prejudice in travel and tourism
  • Why Destination International’s DEI Committee was created and how it has evolved
  • What we can do NOW to make an impact on racial inequality in the U.S.

Systemic Prejudice in Travel and Tourism

Destination on the Left is joined by Melissa Cherry, COO at Destinations International, and John Percy, President and CEO of Destination Niagra USA, to discuss America’s racial unrest. The conversation about equity, diversity, and inclusion can be uncomfortable to have, but it is needed in every aspect of our lives right now. On our podcast, Melissa and John share their personal stories about how they have been impacted by bias. The racial conversation is both a challenge and an opportunity, and there is so much we can do right now to make sure this moment in time does not pass us by.

Coming Together As One

As the conversation about race is amplified, there is a new sense of urgency and a light at the tunnel. But while there are many opportunities for addressing the issue of race, there are a lot of challenges. Through Melissa and John—a woman of color and a gay, white man—their personal stories show how real systemic prejudice and bias is here in the U.S. It is something that we can’t ignore any longer, and by coming together as one force of creative problem solvers, we can tackle this adversity in our industry once and for all.

The Racial Conversation

Right now, there are a lot more conversations about race and they are easier to have. But only a couple of years ago, we still had to convince people to be a part of the conversation at all. The best thing we can do as a collective is to show empathy and facilitate open discussions about the realities we don’t truly understand. What do our organizations look like? What do our communities look like? Those are the questions we need to be asking ourselves in order to properly direct our problem-solving skills and make a difference.

Episode Transcript

We value your thoughts and feedback and would love to hear from you. Leave us a review on your favorite streaming platform to let us know what you want to hear more of. Here is a quick tutorial on how to leave us a rating and review on iTunes!: https://breaktheicemedia.com/rating-review/

Oct 7, 2020

In Destination on the Left’s 200th episode, we kick off October’s theme of equity, diversity, and inclusion. Nicole Mahoney shares experience with these issues, and she talks about the different ways her team is working together to live out the ‘equitable’ core value within their company. Learn what we can do to explore, understand, and act on the topic of diversity in the travel and tourism industry.

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • Host Nicole Mahoney’s experience with the challenges of equity, diversity, and inclusion
  • What Nicole’s team is doing to live out the ‘equitable’ core value within their company
  • What we can do to explore, understand, and act on the topic of diversity in the travel and tourism industry
  • The lessons Nicole learned about diversity in applicant pools during the hiring process
  • How Nicole’s team took a proactive approach to diversity in their company and industry
  • How the team was living out their core values, and where they were falling short
  • Why addressing systemic racism in your organization will impact existing employees, future employees, and clients alike

Addressing the Topic of Diversity in our industry

In Destination on the Left’s 200th episode, we kick off October’s theme of equity, diversity, and inclusion. Nicole Mahoney shares experience with these issues, and she talks about the different ways her team is working together to live out the ‘equitable’ core value within their company. Learn what we can do to explore, understand, and act on the topic of diversity in the travel and tourism industry. In light of recent events in the United States that sparked severe racial unrest, the opportunity to have this conversation could not have come at a better time.

Looking into the Mirror

With racial injustice sweeping the country right now, it is hard to focus on more than race. In the travel and tourism industry alone, racial diversity is a major issue, and it goes all the way to the leadership level of top organizations. As Nicole started to think about this, she realized that even her own company is guilty of homogeneity. Nicole didn’t build a team of white women on purpose, and there was no discrimination in the hiring process—she just didn’t receive a diverse applicant pool. But that is how she and her team *used* to think. After the death of George Floyd, they decided to take a proactive approach to diversity instead of leaving it to circumstance.

A Deep Dive into the Unknown

At first, Nicole and her team weren’t quite sure how to address the issue of diversity in their company and industry. But after exhausting every resource and contact they could pull from their network, a plan started to materialize. They used their ‘equitable’ core value as a framework and starting point in their exploration of systemic racism and diversity in the United States. The team figured out where they were living that core value, and where they were falling short. And as a result, the discoveries they made will shape the policies and actions of the organization as a whole, impacting existing team members, future team members, and clients alike.

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