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DEAI in Action: From First Steps to Results

Hospitality professionals are the first point of contact for visitors and have the opportunity to create a welcoming and inclusive experience for all visitors. Moderated by NYSTIA DEAI Committee Chair Nicole Mahoney, learn the power of embracing diversity and inclusivity in your destination from your tourism colleagues from planning to implementation, marketing, and community engagement.

Key Takeaways:

  • Learn different examples of actionable DEAI strategies from each panelist, including where to start and how to build a strategy of your own
  • Understand the importance of creating a welcoming and inclusive environment for all
  • Learn from real-life successes and challenges, offering practical knowledge for optimizing marketing strategies in the tourism industry.

The Panelists:

Todd Garofano
Executive Director
Discover Schenectady

Rebecca Griffin
Hospitality Department Chair/Faculty
Monroe Community College - Hospitality

Cassandra Harrington
President & CEO
Destination Marketing Corporation / This Is Cooperstown

Nicole Mahoney
Break the Ice Media

About Todd:

A passionate and creative thinker by trade with an entrepreneurial spirit, I thrive on building collaborative relationships that cause the "tide to rise and lift all boats". With a successful career spanning more than 25 years in sales & marketing, destination management and association development, I am honored and humbled to have been a part of, and led, the many teams who have had a positive impact on our local communities and industries. As a respected leader in the tourism and association sectors, I am always happy to lend a hand to my peers.

About Rebecca:

Rebecca Griffin (she/her) is a Department Chair and Faculty member for the Hospitality and Culinary programs at Monroe Community College. Rebecca teaches Hospitality, and culinary courses at the college and has a passion for all things Hospitality, and creating a welcoming environment.

Rebecca is the IDEA (inclusion, diversity, equity, accessibility) committee chair with Visit Rochester’s Visitor Industry Council. Rebecca works with committee members to plan professional development opportunities on inclusion, diversity, equity and accessibility topics for all of Visit Rochester’s 400+ member businesses. Rebecca recently worked with Visit Rochester to launch an IDEA eLearning for businesses to access/complete on their own time.

Rebecca has a bachelor’s degree in culinary arts from Paul Smith’s College, an MBA from St. John Fisher University and is working towards an Ed.D in Higher Education Administration from the Warner School at the University of Rochester.

About Cass:

Cass is a Finger Lakes native who now calls Cooperstown home. After a foray in the wine industry, she relocated to Central New York to champion the This Is Cooperstown brand for DMC. Through her leadership, DMC has expanded in client base, increased revenue, and added staff. While not working, she likes to go birding and she finds stress relief in pulling weeds and doing yoga.

About Nicole:

Nicole was recognized as 2019 Small Business Person of the Year by the Small Business Council of Rochester. She serves as a board member for the Ontario County Chamber of Commerce, a board member of the New York State Tourism Industry Association (NYSTIA), as Chair of the NYSTIA DEAI committee, and is a member of the Erie Canal National Heritage Corridor Finger Lakes Regional Council.

Outside of the office, Nicole loves spending time with her family (husband, four daughters and one son-in-law), traveling on family vacations, and playing cards with her long-time girlfriends. True to her home, she loves "living in wine country and drinking NY wine!"