Q&A: Diversity Leader Randy Meck on LGBTQ Equality at Hilton
Hilton receives perfect score on sixth consecutive Corporate Equality Index
Hilton is proud to be a Best Place to Work for LGBTQ Equality, having been recognized by the Human Rights Campaign with a perfect score on the Corporate Equality Index for the sixth consecutive year. Reflecting on this honor, we spoke with Hilton's LGBTQ & Friends Team Member Resource Group (TMRG) co-chair, Randy Meck.
"I have always been proud to be a Hilton Team Member and this just gives extra justification as to why I am so proud of this company," Randy said. "At Hilton, I know that I can bring the 'complete me' to work."
Read on for more from Randy's experience and insights on fostering diversity, inclusion and belonging in the workplace, and hear from more of our Team Members here.
Q: Can you tell us a little about your career journey and what you do at Hilton?
My career certainly hasn't been linear! After graduating with a degree in business management, I followed a passion for basketball coaching and went into high school teaching and coaching. Over the next decade I worked as Athletic Director at a high school as well as at Dartmouth before deciding I was ready to use my business degree and new master's degree in leadership to explore the corporate world. I joined Hilton Supply Management in 2012 as a Project Supply Coordinator and currently serve as a Senior Manager for Replenishment where I oversee a team of four buyers who handle purchase orders for properties all over the Americas. I'm also the co-chair of the McLean LGBTQ & Friends Team Member Resource Group.
Q: Hilton has a number of Team Member Resource Groups, can you tell us about the LGBTQ & Friends group?
When I first joined the TMRG in 2012, it was a good way to get to know others who identified as LGBTQ or were allies of the community. It's a great group for networking and connecting with colleagues and it also serves a valuable business purpose. Executives come to our group for input on business objectives and we hope to help influence decisions when it comes to our community. We not only advocate but can also serve as a support group for Team Members just coming out or for Team Members with an LGBTQ family member. We also highlight members of our community who are making a difference, not only at Hilton but across the globe. Finally, I must say, we have great leadership. Jon Witter, Executive Vice President and Chief Customer Officer, serves as our Executive Sponsor and Gary Steffen, Global Head of Canopy by Hilton, serves as our Hilton Leadership Group (HLG) Advocate. They both are extremely supportive of our TMRG and our mission.
Q: What have been some of the most impactful moments of being involved with the TMRG?
When I attended my first event for this TMRG, not many people on my team knew that I was gay. I'll never forget when some of my teammates came through the doors. Thankfully, I never had to explain myself. They accepted me for who I was without question and that was something I had never experienced in my professional life before. I slowly came out to more colleagues after that event and never felt awkward about it again. Two years ago, I attended the Out and Equal Conference for the first time, where there were more than 3,000 people representing many different companies. It was both heartwarming and heart-wrenching to hear some of the stories shared. The best practices that other companies use in their LGBTQ resource groups were valuable, and it was great to hear the personal stories of folks like me from around the world. Growing up as a gay man in sports wasn't easy. I didn't think of myself as being very different, but I knew that I didn't have everything in common with many of the people I was working with. At Hilton, I know that I can bring the 'complete me' to work.
Q: You serve as the co-chair - why are you passionate about this?
Not only do I feel a sense of giving back, but I like to know that I am here to support folks who might need a little extra support. I was pretty lucky with my network of family and friends, but I know that not everybody has that luxury. I hope my colleagues know they can come to me for advice, support or just to talk to someone. It's also been a great way to network; I've met a lot of people that I probably wouldn't have met in my normal day-to-day job, and it's opened my eyes to lots of other opportunities within Hilton.
Q: What does it mean to you that Hilton has received a 100% rating on the Corporate Equality Index for the sixth consecutive year?
It's good to know that Hilton supports the LGBTQ community. I have always been proud to be a Hilton Team Member and this just gives extra justification as to why I am so proud of this company. The culture is amazing.
Q: Why is it important for companies to foster inclusion and belonging with the LGBTQ community?
I think the power of companies like Hilton will hopefully one day lead to stronger non-discrimination laws in the workplace. I also think it's important to recognize that our TMRG is not only for those who identify as LGBTQ, but it's also for our allies. The Friends who join our TMRG are very important to our identity. For me, in Hilton's corporate office in Virginia, it's nice to know that more than half of our TMRG members are actually allies. Their support means a lot to me and to the rest of our members.
About Hilton Hotels & Resorts
Hilton (NYSE: HLT) is a leading global hospitality company with a portfolio of 17 world-class brands comprising more than 5,600 properties with nearly 913,000 rooms, in 113 countries and territories. Dedicated to fulfilling its mission to be the world's most hospitable company, Hilton earned a spot on the 2018 world's best workplaces list, and has welcomed more than 3 billion guests in its nearly 100 year history. Through the award-winning guest loyalty program, Hilton Honors, nearly 85 million members who book directly with Hilton have access to instant benefits, including digital check-in with room selection, Digital Key, and Connected Room. Visit newsroom.hilton.com for more information, and connect with Hilton on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and YouTube.