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Reimagining the Hospitality Industry as an Engine for Racial, Social, and Economic Equity

Jesse Biringer May 28, 2021

COVID-19’s impact on the hospitality industry creates a once-in-many-lifetimes opportunity to integrate a racial equity approach to rebuilding the sector from nearly the ground up. Resources are focused on supporting hotels through the pandemic, but the needs of hospitality workers – and their potential to solve industry challenges – are being largely ignored. The expected contraction of jobs post-COVID will harm the industries’ most vulnerable, who lack the education and confidence to easily transition to new opportunities. This panel will explore creative cross-sector approaches to building the equitable hospitality industry of the future – led by talented, upwardly mobile workers earning living wages and making meaningful contributions to sustain the industry. 

For example, 71% of housekeepers in the US in 2019 were people of color. Many are first-generation immigrants, primarily from the Caribbean, sub-Saharan Africa, Central America, and China.  They are often pigeonholed into the lowest wage jobs with little-to-no job security and few opportunities to advance. But imagine if hospitality truly were a ladder to racial and economic equity. It would provide real opportunities exactly where they are most needed. 

In contrast to change efforts focused on increasing diversity, equity and inclusion within a specific business, geography, or domain, like human resources, rebuilding the hospitality industry into a racial equity engine will require systems entrepreneurship. Stanford Social Innovation Review defines systems entrepreneurship as “a person or organization that facilitates a change to an entire ecosystem by addressing and incorporating all the components and actors required to move the needle on a particular social issue.” 

Panelists are working with frontline staff and businesses to design and operate hospitality ventures and making investments to build the sector of the future. Their portfolios include a boutique hotel, housekeeping staffing cooperative, upskilling and re-skilling service, and an investment fund. 

Jeremy Liu of Creative Development Partners, will be joined by Bo Kemp of the Fluent Group and Clara Lucana, a career housekeeping manager, to discuss innovative systems change approaches to supporting impacted hospitality workers, and creating leadership, ownership, and entrepreneurship opportunities for BIPOC communities.

Format

Panel

Meta Themes

  • Equity & Inclusion

  • Impact Investing

  • Social Entrepreneurship

  • Sustainable Development

  • Stakeholder Economics & Leadership

Themes

Hospitality, Cooperative Ownership, Workplace Equity, Career Ladders, Equitable Development

Purpose and Desired Outcome

Jeremy, Bo, and Clara will give an overview of current projects and pose questions to the audience to elicit feedback and generate new ideas to push the hospitality industry towards a more sustainable and equitable future. This panel is designed to engage a broad audience of stakeholders from the hospitality industry AND community developers, social activists, funders, etc. who are less familiar with hospitality and may never have considered the broad impact that change in this sector can have on racial, social, and economic justice.

Audiences

  • Allocators (Family Offices, HNW Individuals, Foundations)

  • Artists & Culture-makers

  • Asset Managers

  • Service Providers

  • Accelerators & Incubators

  • Corporate & SME

  • Entrepreneurs

  • Government

Speakers

  • NameJeremy Liu
  • TitleManaging Partner
  • OrganizationCreative Development Partners LLC
  • StatusConfirmed
  • NameBo Kemp
  • TitlePartner
  • OrganizationThe Fluent Group
  • StatusConfirmed
  • NameClara Lucana
  • TitleDirector of Housekeeping
  • OrganizationHotel Vitale Two Roads Hospitality
  • StatusInvited
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