Strengthened diversity and inclusion in the DCVB/Visit Dallas
The Diversity & Inclusion board committee, comprised of executive leaders from Dallas’ ethnic and LGBT chambers and other city and key corporate partners, added Oncor’s Supplier Diversity Manager; Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits’ National Diversity & Inclusion; BridgeWork CEO; and PhaseNet Hospitality’s CEO to the committee this year as part of the strategic plan to expand the DCVB/Visit Dallas’ corporate representation. The committee provides thought leadership and executive engagement for the bureau’s diversity and inclusion strategy, assisting with educating the market, engaging external partners and promoting collaboration in the community.
Additionally, we continue to monitor representation by women and minorities on our board. Among the DCVB/Visit Dallas’ 46-member board, 49% are women and 47% are minorities.
Supported and elevated services provided to diverse groups
We submitted 18 RFPs to convention sales and assisted in booking the following: National Diversity Council, National Panhellenic, NAACP Board & Trustee Retreat, National League of Cities, AFRIMMA-African Muzik Magazine Awards, Texas County Treasurers Association, The National Association of Blacks in Criminal Justice, National Black Public Relations Society, LULAC Board Meeting, Leadership Women, Leadership Texas, Leadership Women Annual, Annual Latino Leadership, Texas Latino Gay Pride, The Women’s Foodservice Forum Annual Leadership Conference and The Women’s Foodservice Forum Executive Summit. RFPs were also submitted for National Council of LaRaza and the NAACP National Convention.
The team responded to 700 internal and external requests and 10 proposals throughout the year, including:
- The Women’s Foodservice Forum (WFF) Annual Leadership Development Conference
Held at the Omni Dallas Hotel and the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center Dallas, March 13-16. The team strategized with the WFF planning committee to ensure a smooth transition as this was the first year the meeting was ever held at a convention center. Mike Rawlings, mayor of Dallas, and Phillip J. Jones, DCVB/Visit Dallas President & CEO, addressed the opening session and welcomed over 2,700 attendees to Dallas. Collaboration between Convention Sales, Services, Marketing and Diversity & Inclusion departments assisted us in rebooking this group for three consecutive years.
- NAACP Board of Directors and Trustees meeting
We enticed the NAACP Board and Trustees to change their schedule and bring the Board & Trustee Meeting to Dallas, May 18-21. We hosted a BIG Dallas welcome reception at the Hilton Anatole for the group that included city and state dignitaries as well as presidents of the local NAACP chapters. As a result, the NAACP submitted an RFP for Dallas to bid on the National Convention.
- National Association of Latino Elected Officials (NALEO)
In preparation for the NALEO Conference, June 22-25 at the Sheraton Dallas Hotel, the team hosted a welcome reception that highlighted the city’s entertainment districts and Hispanic heritage. Over 700 people attended the closing event at the Omni Shoreham in Washington D.C. The team conducted a site visit for NALEO’s executive team and was recognized at a corporate reception for the years of engagement with NALEO leading up to the 2017 Conference.
- 47th Federally Employed Women’s national training program
Held at the Hilton Anatole July 11-14. The Services and D&I teams collaborated to support the group by participating in pre-event meetings to discuss logistics, community leadership involvement and sharing the event to local women-owned businesses. D&I assisted in securing speakers with our partners from DFW International Airport, Dallas Police Department and the City of Dallas. Mayor Pro Tem Monica Alonzo gave a motivating and BIG welcome to 2,000 attendees.
- World Travel and Tourism Council
The team supported the Tourism Department by serving as a WTTC liaison for the Ministries of Tourism from Uganda and the Bahamas during the conference in Dallas.
Conference of Minority Transportation Officials hosted its annual National Meeting and Training Conference, the nation’s premier gathering of professionals in the transportation industry, at the Omni Hotel July 10-13. The group’s solidarity and united spirit supported the City of Dallas after the tragic shootings, with 600 in attendance.
Increased partnership with diverse community groups
We’ve been actively involved with key civic and community partners in the Dallas area, including the North Texas GLBT Chamber of Commerce, Greater Dallas Asian American Chamber of Commerce, Greater Dallas Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Dallas Black Chamber of Commerce, Leadership Women, Women’s Foodservice Forum, Hispanic 100 and Texas Diversity Council.
Promoted more inclusive business partnerships
In an effort to ensure our vendor and supplier base is as diverse as our city and the visitors we serve, we’ve expanded the Supplier Diversity Program by identifying and verifying 75 businesses, including 12 LGBT welcoming hotels in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. These businesses are operated by women, minorities and the LGBT community and are vital to the economic growth of our city.
We received the DiversityFirst Award from the Texas Diversity Council and the Driving Diversity Award from the Greater Dallas Asian American Chamber of Commerce.
Diversity and inclusion training
The staff participated in over 466 hours of diversity and inclusion training and development throughout the year, from “What Gen Y Wants… Succeeding through Generational Diversity” facilitated by Lindsey Pollak, The New York Times Best Selling Author to Heritage Month speakers program sponsored by the Diversity and Inclusion Employee Resource Group.
Help promote events highlighting diversity and inclusion
We partnered with Southern Methodist University Latino Leadership Initiative to bring Soledad O’ Brien to town, which focused on her “I am Latino in America” tour, April 26 at the McFarlin Memorial Auditorium on the SMU campus. The tour included a national conversation with influencers, celebrities, national and local advocates, business leaders and academics. We partnered with the Dallas Business Journal’s “Women in Business Awards” program and luncheon and launched the first-ever “Women in Tourism” category. Honorees include Paula R. Fenner, The Adolphus; Maura Allen Gast, Irving Convention & Visitors Bureau; Andrea Gates, Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek; Mary German, Arlington Convention & Visitors Bureau; Dusti Groskreutz, Reunion Tower; and Sue Trizila, Wyndham Jade.
THE STRATEGY FOR 2017
We’ll continue to integrate diversity and inclusion into the bureau’s operations so that it influences all aspects of the organization and the creation of a common organizational language around diversity and inclusion. We’ll do this by:
- Supporting efforts to bring diverse groups to Dallas while reviewing and applying best practices for customizing the experience for definite groups.
- Implementing Phase III of the Supplier Diversity Program.
- Continuing to update data for the Resource Guide, offering diverse listings of available resources and marketing the city as an inclusive destination.
- Overseeing the Integration Team and Host Committee for MegaFest 2017.
- Continuing to engage BIG Influencers in the community while establishing strong relationships and partnerships to increase awareness about Dallas conventions, meetings and leisure travelers, thus boosting economic impact.
- Developing tracking and measurement tools used to evaluate the organization over the long term while continuously improving processes.
- Continuing to implement Diversity & Inclusion training and development.
- Coordinate with Marketing team and diverse agencies to produce CEO and community leaders event.
- Collaborate with D&I Committee to create nomination process for diverse influencer campaign, to develop one diverse influencer event.