We consistently hear from Team Members that one of the reasons they love working for Hilton is because they know they can be their true self here. While we celebrate diversity year-round, this month we’re celebrating Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month. As part of Hilton’s diversity and inclusion efforts, we launched several Team Member Resource Groups, which are comprised of Team Members who voluntarily collaborate to support the goals of the company, promote professional growth through networking and development, and provide perspective to the company from their group’s vantage point. Keep reading to hear from members of our Asian-Pacific Islander Team Member Resource Group (APITMRG), Samrat, Elizabeth, and Wen Wen, about their personal career journeys, the importance of diversity, and career advice.
Q: What do you do for Hilton?
Samrat: I am a Senior Director in our Tax Technology group, which manages the data, systems, and automation at Hilton. We lead and manage the creation of new Tax Technology applications and enhancements as well as communicate and manage our technology needs with various internal and external groups.
Elizabeth: I work as a Senior Manager, supporting the overall business strategy and initiatives of Hilton Supply Management, our procurement department which provides high-quality, innovative services and solutions to more than 7,000 properties globally.
Wen Wen: As a Revenue Management Hotel Openings Manager, I help new and converting focused service hotels determine rates, implement our revenue management system, and manage their pre-sell dates. Within the team, I also test enhancements and bug fixes for our rate binder.
Q: Tell us about your career journey.
Samrat: I received my undergraduate degree in India and then completed my MBA from the University of Southern California. Prior to Hilton, I was in Connecticut with UBS as the Head of Tax Process and Technology. I have been with Hilton Tax in Memphis for the last five years.
Elizabeth: My career first started in Human Resources for a big bank, which was very different from Hilton! Seven years ago, I joined Hilton’s HR team, first under the HR Consulting Group and then in Executive Compensation. In 2017, I had the unique opportunity to get closer to the business and work with Hilton Supply Management through a huge transformation. My current role has taught me a lot about the hospitality industry and I love it!
Wen Wen: I have an English, Creative Writing degree from Barnard College. I started as a contractor for Hilton as a New Hotels Analyst, building hotels into Rate & Inventory. In 2011, I joined the Revenue Management Consolidated Center as a full service analyst. After a year, I became a focused service analyst. I was then promoted to Onboarding Manager after six months. I joined the Hotel Openings team permanently in 2017.
Q: This month, we’re celebrating Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. Why is diversity in the workplace important to you?
Samrat: I think diversity is important because people from different backgrounds bring different perspectives which leads to better decision making. Furthermore, having a diverse team reflects the current market place differences and allows us to align with consumers.
Elizabeth: When we take time to celebrate our diversity, we empower our Team Members to directly impact the company’s broader business initiatives and drive an inclusive workplace culture that shares our values. In my role as the chair of the McLean APITMRG, I am energized by the commitment and momentum to diversity and inclusion that is part of who we are at Hilton.
Wen Wen: A world without diversity is like a kitchen with only paprika for seasoning. I want a kitchen with all the spices, hoisin sauce and BBQ sauce. Diversity means representing the customers we serve, and not having a blind spot in our knowledge and experience.
Q: How is your local TMRG chapter celebrating this month?
Samrat: We will host a forum of speakers to discuss growth outlook of hospitality in Asia, trends, prospects, and challenges. We want our local community to understand and appreciate how important growth in Asia is to Hilton’s prospects and strategic plans.
Elizabeth: In McLean, we’re excited to host two leaders in the hospitality industry who are of Asian and Pacific Islander decent, Mark Wang, CEO of Hilton Grand Vacations and Jagruti Panwala, the first chairwoman of the Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA). We’ll have a deep dive discussion about trends in our industry.
Wen Wen: We’re hosting a market at our Dallas office featuring Asian cuisine and entertainment.
Q: A diverse and inclusive work environment takes everyone’s commitment! What’s one thing we can do to foster a more inclusive workplace?
Samrat: Spend time with people from different cultures, travel to new places, and learn different languages.
Elizabeth: I recently listened to an interview with Verna Myers, the VP of Inclusion for Netflix where she said, “Diversity is being invited to the party. Inclusion is being asked to dance.” One thing we can do to foster inclusivity is to make sure we engage with and listen to the people who think or work differently from you. You may find a solution to a problem you never considered before!
Q: What advice do you have for someone looking to grow their career?
Elizabeth: Be open to learning new things and seek out new challenges, even if it scares you. If you aren’t afraid of failing at a new task, you aren’t challenging yourself enough!
Wen Wen: Get curious about what other people are doing, and be open about your desire to grow. In 2013, I found out about an opening on my current team because I saw a manager on the team at the sinks in the women’s bathroom and asked, “How does someone get on your team?” If you take unconventional paths to your current position, you can bring a fresh, new perspective.