Spotlight on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Ambassador: Laurence Pinckney
Written by: Guest on June 16, 2021
At KHM Travel Group, we know that each of our travel advisors has a different path to growth. Agent journeys vary based on their experience, clients, unique passions, and lifestyle. Diversity, equity, and inclusion are at the heart of what we do as a host agency and are a huge part of empowering agents to build successful businesses.
Last year, we honored one outstanding KHM Travel Group agent with our new Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Agent Ambassador Award. This award recognizes the success that comes from embracing the priceless value of the people around us and encouraging others to do the same.
Our 2020 Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Ambassador Laurence Pinckney, of Zenbiz Travel, LLC and KHM Travel Group Agent since 2009 shares why diversity has shaped his mindset and how serving as an advocate for underrepresented communities impacts his travel business.
KHM: Why do you embrace Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in your travel business?
Laurence: Growing up as a child in North Philadelphia I was always exposed to diversity. My parents, both African Americans, had a diverse group of friends who were welcomed into our home. I went to integrated schools and attended a university where I was one of the few minorities. Travel expands your world. There is nothing like seeing people like you in advertisement for vacations with budgets from moderate to luxury budgets. The travel industry has a long way to go to get up to speed with diverse marketing, as well as diversity in the executive suites. We are noticing some progress but we are not there yet. When different people get to know and understand each other the world is a better place.
KHM: What impact have you seen from including Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in your travel business?
Laurence: I have seen different people from all walks of life become long-term friends. Travel offers that. When you watch little children, they don’t play [with friends] based on color. Exclusion is taught. Inclusion is natural.
KHM: What tips do you have for someone looking to be more inclusive with their travel business?
Laurence: Look around. If everyone looks like you then you probably would benefit by expanding your horizons. If you only select images of people who look like you for your marketing – you probably would benefit by looking for more diverse images to use.
KHM: Are there any organizations, certifications, or educational resources you recommend for travel agents to learn more about Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion?
Laurence: KHM Travel Group has a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee that meets regularly as a group and in sub-committees [to seek ways to increase the representation of agents and clients within our organization and the travel industry as a whole.] Your support and involvement makes a difference. There are also initiatives with GBTA – Global Business Travel Association and World Travel & Tourism Council.
KHM Travel Group is committed to building a culture that respects and embraces diversity, inclusion, and equity. Laurence Pickney has been a driving force between both the founding of our DEI Committee and its initiatives today.
We are honored to recognize Laurence and all of the nominees for the 2020 DEI Ambassador Award: Michael Cirrito, Dr. Joy Gilbreath, Kimberly Love, Marcus Williams, and Matt Wahlgren. Because of the example these individuals set forth, as Laurence stated above, “the world is a better place.”