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Initiatives launched in partnership with Conan Harris & Associates aim to increase diversity and employee retention and enhance procurement processes in the tourism industry

BOSTON (September 27, 2023) – Meet Boston [2], formerly known as The
Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau (GBCVB), is announcing the
launch of a Workforce Development and Supplier Diversity Initiative in
partnership with Conan Harris & Associates (CHA).

“These initiatives are not just goals; they’re a commitment to
enhancing Boston’s hospitality and tourism industry. Through workforce
development, supplier diversity, and a focus on our 23 neighborhoods,
we’re building a more inclusive, vibrant, and prosperous city for
residents and visitors alike,” said Hilina D. Ajakaiye, Executive Vice
President of Meet Boston who is leading this and other critical DEIB
initiatives. “These initiatives not only ensure exceptional
experiences for visitors but also empower our diverse communities,
promoting inclusivity, economic growth, and a brighter future for every
corner of our city.”

The formal launch of the Meet Boston-CHA initiatives occurs on October 5
with a 3:30 p.m. kickoff event at The Lenox Hotel. The October 5 event
will include representatives from both organizations, as well as
officials from the Mayor’s Office of Economic Opportunity & Inclusion
and the Massachusetts Executive Office of Labor and Workforce

“This embodies our commitment to driving positive change and creating
a more inclusive and equitable business environment,” said Martha J.
Sheridan, Meet Boston President and CEO. “At Meet Boston, we firmly
believe that diversity is a key driver of innovation, productivity, and
success. We recognize the immense value that a diverse and skilled
workforce can bring to our organization and this industry. We are
dedicated to providing equal opportunities for everyone.”

The Workforce Development Initiative will empower individuals from all
backgrounds with training opportunities designed to enhance their
skillset and employability. Meet Boston will collaborate with local
educational institutions, community organizations, and industry partners
to create tailored programs and training modules that address the needs
of job seekers and help bridge the skills gap. Over two dozen Meet
Boston-affiliated organizations will participate in the workforce
development program.

Additionally, the Supplier Diversity Initiative seeks to expand Meet
Boston’s network of suppliers to include businesses owned by women,
minorities, veterans, and other historically marginalized groups. By
diversifying the supplier base, Meet Boston and its partners will drive
economic growth for communities that have been traditionally
underrepresented in the travel and hospitality sector.  Meet Boston will
build an accessible platform featuring a database of diverse suppliers,
thus enabling industry partners to act with more intentionality and
purpose in their procurement processes.

Both initiatives will be informed and guided by a task force comprised
of organizations such as The Black Economic Council of MA (BECMA), Urban
League, Amplify Latinx, and the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce.

“Equipping a diverse and skilled workforce with the necessary tools
and resources for a successful career is critical to the growth of our
workforce economy,” said Conan Harris, CEO of Conan Harris &
Associates. “Partnering with Meet Boston on this important initiative
will not only increase diversity and enhance the procurement processes,
but it will also provide unprecedented opportunities in the tourism and
hospitality industry for historically marginalized communities.”

Meet Boston is the primary private-sector marketing and visitor services
organization charged with the development of meetings, conventions and
tourism-related business in the region. As a partnership organization,
Meet Boston promotes and collaborates with over 1,000 companies in the
greater Boston region and across New England to drive a robust visitor
economy and to build equity within the sector. The Meet Boston mission
is to elevate Boston’s vibrant neighborhoods and diverse people,
amplifying their stories and sharing them locally and across the globe.
Meet Boston delivers exciting and inclusive programs and services that
enhance the local economy by unifying an eclectic range of community
stakeholders around the opportunities, experiences, and energy that
define the destination and the visitor journey. For more, please visit:

Conan Harris and Associates (CHA) connects community-based organizations
with partnerships and resources from the non-profit, private, and public
sectors. As a certified minority business enterprise, we offer a range
of services that bridge the social, economic, and racial divide
experienced by disenfranchised communities in health, education, housing
and workforce development. Our work fosters inclusion, diversity and
social change through services that include strategic planning,
workforce development, community relations and engagement, executive
coaching and training, and capacity building.   Please visit [3] to learn more.

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