The Path to Philly: 2018 Conference Presenting Sponsor American Airlines

| By James Gleason

Each year, NGLCC's International Business and Leadership Conference brings together hundreds of corporate partners and suppliers for a one-of-a-kind networking and event. This year's conference wouldn't be the incredible success it is without the unyielding support of Presenting Sponsor American Airlines. Take a look at American's plan for continuing to grow diversity and inclusion within its company and beyond as well as some quick tips for suppliers looking to get the most out of this year's conference.

1. What does diversity and inclusion look like at AA? 

Our company’s focus on diversity and inclusion has never been more deliberate.  We faced some difficult questions following several high-profile customer service failures and we elected to take a hard look at our approach to inclusion, diversity, and equality after hearing from some customers. Validating the trust our customers place in us and setting a new standard for inclusion and diversity are responsibilities we take very seriously. As a result, we identified four specific actions American will take to make our airline a more inclusive and diverse company:

  1. Conduct an inclusion and diversity gap analysis, led by an independent firm, that will review our practices — including hiring, promotions, training, customer and team member experience — and make recommendations where gaps exist compared to industry best practices. We will then develop an action plan to become world class in all areas.
  2. Implement company-wide implicit bias training to examine ways to recognize — and mitigate — implicit bias. This training will start with our leadership team and will grow to include each of our team members.
  3. Overhaul our customer discrimination claims process and create a new customer resolution team that will specialize in managing discrimination complaints to improve response, visibility, and coordination across the company.
  4. Sharpen our focus on team member concerns by increasing awareness of work environment policies and the process to report concerns. We will also improve our internal oversight and resolution of team member discrimination claims.

2. What is something exciting American has done to promote diversity and inclusion in the past year? What major achievements keep American as a leader in inclusion in the industry?

American and Mr. Parker joined the CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion in 2017, the largest CEO-driven business commitment to advancing diversity and inclusion within the workplace. American is one of more than 250 organizations that have taken the pledge and committed to cultivating a workplace where diverse perspectives and experiences are welcomed and respected, where team members feel comfortable and encouraged to discuss diversity and inclusion and where best practices can be shared.

  1. We are eager to become global leaders in inclusion and diversity and we are energized and honored by the steady recognition we receive in this space:
  2. For the 16th consecutive year, the Human Rights Campaign honored American with the highest possible rating in the prestigious Corporate Equality Index.
  3. American received the top score of 100 on the 2017 Disability Equality Index (DEI) and was named one of the 2017 DEI Best Places to Work for Disability Inclusion for the second consecutive year.
  4. For the ninth consecutive year, American’s Diversity Advisory Council received recognition as one of the Top 25 Diversity Councils in the nation by the Association of ERGs and Councils, ranking ninth in the nation in 2017.

In addition, more than 400 entry- to mid-level leaders and supervisors attended the second annual Inclusion Summit in June 2017, hosted by American’s Inclusion & Diversity team. The day-long event focused on identifying the impact and importance of inclusive behaviors within our diverse workforce that help shape the culture of American.

3. Why did AA decide it was important to support the 2018 NGLCC International Business & Leadership Conference, as well as previous Conferences?

We are so very proud of our commitment to the LGBT community. American was the first major airline to implement both sexual orientation and gender identity non-discrimination policies in the workplace, as well as launch a company-recognized lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) EBRG — known today as PRIDE. In addition, we were the first airline to provide benefits to same-sex domestic partners in 2000. During Pride month in June 2017, American celebrated its team members through Pride parade sponsorships in 17 locations and special social media posts and continued giving to LGBT organizations in the communities where our team members live and work. That said, we are privileged to align ourselves as a Corporate Sponsor of NGLCC International Business & Leadership Conference, the premier event that advocates for the economic opportunities and advancement of the LGBT business community.

4. How can Certified LGBTBE® suppliers prepare to get the most out of connecting with AA leaders in August?

The 2018 NGLCC International Business & Leadership Conference gives the Certified LGBTBE® supplier an opportunity to make connections and build relationships with NGLCC Corporate partners and other Certified LGBTBE® members.

Certified LGBTBE® suppliers should be prepared by:

  • Researching the companies you want to connect with
  • Understanding their company initiatives
  • Stating what sets your company apart from the competition 
  • Creating a concise individualized value proposition
  • Bringing innovation to the table

5. What is one success story from a past NGLCC conference that illustrates why AA feels it is so important to support this year’s conference?

Making connections and understanding what a supplier has to offer positions the supplier to be considered when opportunity knocks. Several years ago American was introduced to Zippy Dogs at the conference. Zippy Dogs continued the connection throughout the years, developing their relationship with American.  Last year an opportunity opened and Zippy Dogs was included.  They won the bid and provided the lanyards used at the 2017 conference.