Race, Media, and Allyship

Standing United Webinar Recording HERE and Presentation Deck HERE

How often do you publicly talk about Love? Compassion? Failure? Race? It always seems so much easier to talk about “emotions” without getting to the part where there is real emotion and feeling. When we think about the workplace, it is often thought of as a place without such emotion.

As a company, Madden has begun having difficult, vulnerable discussions to determine where we have failed, where we have succeeded, and determine how we will become a better company, partner, and ally. 

Madden is using this moment to reflect on our values as a company and as individuals, to have difficult discussions, and to evolve ourselves as allies in our community and the communities we serve. As we start this conversation, we invite our partners, friends, and allies to both join us and keep us accountable.

Read our recent blog post with Destinations International regarding the importance of growing more inclusive boards.

Continued, Sustained Progress

We can proudly say that half of Madden’s creative directors and managers are female, compared to 11% of the national average. We have been vocal and active to support inclusive travel, especially within the LGBTQ+ community. However, when it comes to being inclusive of all races and backgrounds in employment and management roles, we fall short. We must improve.

It’s not enough to verbalize support. Madden and others across our industry, communities, and beyond need to make commitments and implement actions for consistent, meaningful change. Our first commitment is to craft intentional plans and goals that we will be incorporating into company policies, culture, and marketing efforts. 

If we seek perfection, we will never get started. We can, however, make consistent, sustained action to move forward together. We want to be transparent about this to give others confidence to act and to provide a public, transparent way to be held accountable by our current and future employees and partners. Madden is taking action by:

  • Leading an Industry Effort to increase Board diversity: We have drafted and asked many of our colleagues in the industry to join us in calling for greater diversity on boards whom we provide sponsorship. See the letter and provide your support here
  • Continued Education and Discussions: Madden has begun inviting guest speakers to discuss diversity and inclusion not less than once a month. Our employee engagement team (HR) and all managers will undergo bias training by the end of Q3 in addition to the work they are already doing personally and professionally.
  • Creating a Diversity Review Panel: The panel will assess major campaigns and creative investments by our partners to help review and improve the inclusion of underrepresented groups in media, visitor guides, websites, etc.
  • Increasing Diverse Talent Recruitment: We are expanding our job postings to gather a more diverse population of candidates.
  • Eliminating Our Referral Bonus Program: We will continue to ask our team to refer people to the company, but we also want to ensure we are not only looking at candidates that look and act like us. We will reallocate this budget to the creation of the internship program below.
  • Strengthening Diverse Internship Programs: For the past three years we have participated in various internship programs, including TIMESTEP, that focus on providing relevant industry experience to minority engineers. We will be adding additional internship programs focused towards underrepresented populations. 
  • Growing Through Reading: Madden’s book club will shift focus by allowing every employee in the company to select a book that can help us all grow and be more culturally responsive through study and discussion. Some books you may want to consider are on this list.
  • Continued Salary Audits for Our Team: We completed a diversity wages audit across the company and found that salaries are very much based on experience. We looked at the combinations of gender (male/female), ethnicity (white/non-white), and experience. Across all combinations of those groups, except one, experience was the predominant factor in each group with the exception of Creative where age was nominally different and salaries were higher for non-white employees. As we look at the averages globally, 40% of the departments’ women make more than men and 60% of the departments’ non-white salaries exceed those of white employees. We will continue to monitor this, but the overall view looks to align towards experience where we would expect.

How Will Your Team Take Action?

It can be difficult knowing where to get started. Here are a few quick ways DMOs can start becoming better ally organizations today:

  • Audit Content, Photo Assets, & UGC: Take an open-minded look at the content used in your marketing. Look for opportunities to showcase a wider variety of people in your imagery. Evaluate your website content, blog, and social media efforts and audit for staff bias.
  • Talk About Inclusion With Your Partners: Your teams know your destination best. Brainstorm ways you can work together to be more inclusive and hold one another accountable.
  • Review Partner Listings: Are you featuring Black-owned business in your partner listings? Are there ways to highlight diverse businesses in a way you haven’t done before? Help your partners update their Google My Business listings.

Taking actions today, this week, this month, this year, and every year after will help us evolve and elevate ourselves to be a better company and better individuals. Madden is committed to transforming the way we think and act as a company and as individuals to improve the world around us.

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