Reflecting on Actions to Improve Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in 2021, with Nicole Mahoney

Episode 260

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With a talent for creating special events that blossomed while working for my dad’s car stereo shop, I got my start in marketing at Frontier Field in Rochester and began serving as the executive director of the internationally known Lilac Festival. Later on, I headed the Canandaigua, New York Business Improvement District while also performing projects for the tourism promotion agency Visit Rochester.

In 2009, I founded Break the Ice Media, with more than 20 years of experience in tourism marketing. I now host “Destination on the Left,” a highly successful tourism marketing podcast.

As a business owner, I know what it takes to be successful. I founded BTI to help businesses tell their brand story through public relations, digital and traditional channels. I have the ability to uncover unique marketing opportunities and develop marketing and public relations initiatives that help clients build long-term success.

On this episode of Destination on the Left, I discuss why I’m starting 2022 with a sense of reflection, renewal, and anticipation for what is ahead. Since 2020 I have been on a journey to understand the world in a broader sense, which has led to a search for greater meaning and a focus on intentionality in my actions. This week I want to share what I have done to understand differences, identify opportunities for personal growth, and take action to help make my world more equitable, diverse, and inclusive.

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  • How the Break the Ice Media team explored the topic of what diversity, equity, and inclusion meant to them and defined the actions they could take to make a difference
  • How Nicole became the Chair of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee for the New York State Tourism Industry Association
  • How the 2021 Travel Unity Summit helped the industry focus on the importance of increasing diversity
  • The difference between equity and equality and why it is important
  • How to take your own incremental action by taking the Travel Unity Individual Pledge, which is for all who believe the world of travel should be welcoming to people of all backgrounds and abilities
  • What the Break the Ice Media team identified when they dug into their core value of equity and how they sought more diverse perspectives
  • How rounding out the team led to an invitation for Break the Ice Media to pitch to Cayuga County and Auburn, New York, for their Harriet Tubman Equal Rights Heritage Campaign to commemorate the 200th Birthday of Harriet Tubman in 2022

Reflecting on Our Journey in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Over the last two years, my small company has been grappling with how we fit within the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion conversation, and we have really committed to educating ourselves around the topic.

I was very candid in Solocast 16 about the team’s journey to live out the ‘equitable’ core value within our company, and we have recently reflected on our most recent client work to see how it is significantly impacting our collective worldview. When examining how we aligned with our values, we found that we needed to work on developing more diverse partner, freelance, and subcontractor relationships to ensure we represent a wide range of viewpoints.

Being Intentional

Big things will happen when you set your intentions and start to take action. You may feel as if you are taking baby steps at first, but time will pass, and you will realize that all those incremental moves have led to a monumental shift and change in your organization. I’m grateful that we took this journey and for the lessons we learned along the way, particularly the importance of humility and vulnerability when addressing biases and issues related to diversity, equity, and inclusion.



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