The Multicultural Diversity Business Resource Group, a part of the Hyatt Hotels hosted a special Rev.Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. tribute this past week at the McCormick Place hotel location. The event, “Inclusion for Us All Martin Luther King, Jr. Style” included key Hyatt Hotel executives, Mark Hoplamzian; President and CEO of the Hyatt Hotels Corporation opening up the event with encouraging words of acknowledgment.
Carrying on the legacy of Dr. King, Hoplamzian recounted the Hyatt Hotel’s vision in being a global leader in hospitality and to value, embrace and encourage diverse perspectives to guide and grow the company’s business around the world.
Keynote speaker, Mary Frances Winter- CEO of The Winters Group gave a poignant reflection on how far society has come since Dr. King’s Dream in evolving an equal and fair world. In her personal letter addressed to the late Civil Rights Leader, Winter broke down in detail the celebrations of key milestones in voter registration, growth and opportunities in the workplace.
“We are all tied together in a single garment of destiny- in an escapable network of mutuality. I could never be what I ought to be until you are allowed to be what you ought to be. So, that’s what we really mean today by diversity-an inclusion about creating an environment so that everyone can reach their full potential.” Explains Winter.
She continued to read her letter in also acknowledging how far we must go in today’s society as social unrest among Americans is still racially divided, even though an African American President is in his second term.
As the program proceeded, newly appointed Vice President of Global Diversity & Inclusion for the Hyatt Hotes- Tyrone Stoudemire introduces a panel of distinguished guest speakers for a special discussion on diversity in the workplace. Panelists included Gloria Castillo- President and CEO of Chicago United, Andrea Zopp- President and CEO of the Chicago Urban League, John Gable- Senior Vice President of Lee Hecht Harrison and Cuc Vu- Director of the Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs for the City of Seattle.
Moderated by Stoudemire, the exchange between panelists were enlightening as each held a significant importance to bringing awareness of diversity in the workplace and the decrease of African Americans in top senior management positions in corporations.
In recognizing the common problem that plagues both the African American and Hispanic community, growing up in Chicago Castillo comments,
“It was a kind of segregation in Chicago that was true for Latinos and it was true for Blacks. One of the things, I see true in the Latino community is concentration and segregation. It’s as true for Latinos as it is for African Americans in Chicago and it’s one of the disappointments. We have the opportunity to come together and work together as we travel.”
Growing up with parents that were a part of the Civil Rights movement and actively involved in the Urban League in Rochester, New York- Chicago Urban League President and CEO, Andrea Zopp explains how she had to prepare her son to be aware of the racial barriers still in existence today.
“I have a 19-year old son who I have to give a lecture to about how to drive his car-his nice car. Also, what to do when he’s downtown around the Water Tower with his friends. I have to explain to him what that means- because they see themselves as high school kids. When they are walking together as a ‘pack’ down Michigan Ave. that’s not how everyone sees you. When you get stopped by the police, as you will- that’s a promise. I still have to have this conversation.”
The conversation between the executive panelists was a healthy dialogue about the changes in our society but also the growing change in how we view each other culturally. The common thread of Dr. King’s Dream is what influenced their journey and created a beautiful woven quilt of colors interlocking each of their paths together.
This special program served a positive purpose in building the Hyatt Hotel’s mission in bringing awareness and growth within the company’s corporate culture and acknowledged the importance of celebrating Rev. Dr. Martin King Jr.’s legacy.