One Year of Inspiring and Creating Change for the Tourism and Events Industry
Tourism Diversity Matters (TDM) launched in February 2021 working on its mission to foster diversity, equity, and inclusion practices that will educate, advocate, engage and empower in collaboration and cooperation with all industry initiatives.
In a press statement last week, Executive Director Greg DeShields commented, “Our team has worked to provide decision-makers in the tourism and events industry access, resources, and tactics to develop more effective Diversity & Inclusion strategies that will engage and retain a diverse workforce. Our goal is to create solutions that can implement, change, and contribute to organizational success.”
Among TDM’s year-one has accomplishments are more than two dozen DEI-focused presentations with notable organizations, successful apprenticeship programs, workforce development strategies, and the establishment of strategic industry partnerships.
“It has been a tremendous year for Tourism Diversity Matters since its inception in February 2021. From successfully launching the organization as a call to action in response to the civil unrest around the death of George Floyd in the Summer of 2020 and the Black Leaders CVB Letter to the Industry, which shook the entire industry, that followed soon after—to ending 2021 with the establishment of a strategic partnership with the U.S. Travel Association,” said Elliott Ferguson, TDM’s Chairman of the Board and President and CEO, Destination DC.
As TDM continues to make great strides in advancing DEI in the tourism and events industry, the organization is pleased to welcome new members to the Board of Directors with the addition of:
• Adam Burke, President and CEO, Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board
• Don Welsh, President and CEO, Destinations International
• Fred Dixon, President and CEO, NYC & Company
• Greg O’Dell, CEO, Events DC
• John Page, CTA, General Manager, ASM Global’s Greater Columbus Convention Center
• John Tanzella, President and CEO, IGLTA
• Ryan George, CEO, Simpleview
• Shelly Cruz, CMP, Vice President of Global Sales, MGM Resorts International
• Valerie Gavin, Senior Vice President of Hotel Sales & Marketing, Accor
The new board members join TDM’s leadership of Ferguson as Chairman of the Board and Mike Gamble, TDM’s Founder and President & CEO of SearchWide Global. These leaders will serve alongside TDM’s inaugural Executive Committee to play a key role in advocacy and the advancement of TDM’s four guiding pillars including Apprenticeship Programs; Workforce Development; Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI); and Research and Data.
“While it is rewarding to celebrate our first anniversary and see what Tourism Diversity Matters has accomplished in one year, we remain dedicated to creating long term solutions through complete industry engagement and participation,” said Gamble. “We will continue highlighting the good work happening in our industry as well as serving as a resource to provide value and insight.”
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Choose Chicago, with Miles Partnership, Commissions Local Artist Janell Nelson to Design
2022 Visitors Guide Cover
Janell Nelson of JNJ Creative in Chicago was selected after a search that began in November 2021. The goal was to spotlight diverse artistic talent that thrives across Chicago’s arts and culture community while creating opportunities for cultural connection and inclusion. This year’s Chicago Visitors Guide for 2022 will have a new look, an original work of art designed by a local artist of color.
“The design intention for this cover was to echo the vibrant energy that’s in all of Chicago’s multifaceted communities,” says Nelson. “A simple but seamless geometric pattern with a literal typographic tapestry of our neighborhoods on top is a nice nod to that. The colors are meant to feel both retro (historic) and resonate Chicago’s “flag-esque” style juxtaposed with ‘cousins’ of cultural flags — especially the blacks and greens. The warmth of the yellows and richness of the browns work together to feel like an embracement of people.”
“Our primary focus was to not only spotlight the diverse artistic talent that thrives in Chicago, but to also commission a work that embodied the true spirit of the city by weaving together a visual narrative that speaks to the city’s diverse cross section of experiences, communities and beauty,” adds Melissa Cherry, Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer at Miles Partnership.