We are celebrating Pride at Hilton all month long. To learn more about what makes Hilton a great place to work for all, we sat down with Cameron Smith, Guest Assistance Development Coach and co-chair of our LGBTQ Team Member Resource Group (TMRG). When asked what makes her most proud to work for Hilton, Cameron said: “Never once have I felt out of place [at Hilton], judged for my identity, held back for my sexual orientation or being my authentic self. As a mainly open transwoman, I am proud to work for a company that lifts their employees up for their success and skills regardless of the person. My career is determined by the choices I make and the direction I choose, not by anything else. Hilton has always made me feel welcome, safe and equal to that of my peers.”
Keep reading to learn more about Cameron’s story and how she says Hilton has positively impacted not just her career, but her entire life.
1. How would you describe the experience of working at Hilton?
Working for Hilton has truly become an extension of my family. In the last 13 plus years, I’ve met so many wonderful people who’ve been constant in my life outside of work. From promotions, to watching other’s children grow up to forming lifelong friendships, working for Hilton is so much more meaningful than just a job. Working for Hilton can best be described like finding your forever home or your soulmate. The connection you feel – from day one – is like none other. You truly feel as if you are a part of the Hilton family!
2. How has working at Hilton influenced your life?
As we all know, with any amount of time, you will inevitably go through the ups and downs of life. In 2016, my mother was diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer. My world was changed. I lived in Texas and she lived 900 miles away and I felt helpless. Work from home was so new that our department had not been afforded the option to do any testing, but my manager knew the pain and struggles I was going through and worked with me to create a work from home arrangement so I could be there for my mom. Just when I thought Hilton had been there for me in my greatest time of need, Hilton stepped in again when my father was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer, right as my mom finished her last treatment. The gratitude I felt and continue to feel for the compassion my leaders had for me is surreal. I will forever be grateful and continue to put my all into everything I do.
3. What’s your favorite part about working for Hilton?
I cannot sum it up in just one thing! Now that work at home is in full force, I have loved the flexibility I have to work from anywhere. I love that my leaders trust me and encourage me to do my job remotely. My manager also supports a healthy work-life balance and instills in his employees the importance of thriving in and outside of work. Not only does my direct manager encourage me to thrive, the entire leadership team supports thriving!
4. What doors of opportunity has Hilton opened for you?
If you would have asked 13 years ago when I first started at Hilton, where I saw myself in 5-10 years, I would have had no clue. I was happy to be offered employment, but, at the time, it was just another job. Hard work, determination and the willingness to learn and grow have made such a difference in my life and those things do not go unnoticed. I have worked in several capacities, across several departments and have received opportunities I didn’t even know existed. As a result, I’ve been noticed for my work and my projects, and knowing I’m providing valuable results for our company is one of the greatest accomplishment one can feel. As a Hilton Team Member, there are so many options available if you are open to putting in the time and work and getting yourself out there.
5. Why do you feel diversity is important in business?
Diversity is not only important in business, but also in our communities and everyday lives. Diversity allows businesses to have insight from various minds and thought processes and, having a diverse culture creates opportunities for innovation which leads to growth and success for not only the employees but the company too. Inclusion is equally important in business. Creating an environment that promotes respect, encourages dialogue and allows people to be their authentic and true selves is key to attracting both employees and customers.
6. What advice would you give people in search of their most authentic self?
Be true to yourself first. At Hilton, we believe in advocating fearlessly, and this should start with self-love and respect. Don’t be afraid to seek understanding of your feelings or thoughts and surround yourself with the support from friends and loved ones who care about you. We all realize our authentic self at different times and it’s okay if you aren’t ready to share. No matter what, “You” come first and should always make sure you take care of yourself. When you are ready, there are teams, friends, and Team Member Resource Groups waiting to accept you for you, embrace you for your courage and ensure your decision is not only welcomed, but celebrated.