Natural Habitat Adventures' Commitment to Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion
It’s not as if we didn’t know there was a lack of equity in the world before the BLM movement—we just hadn’t taken stock of our complicity. Sure, we had plenty of “reasons” why we lack diversity on our staff: the pool of potential employees near our geographic headquarters in Boulder, Colorado, isn’t very diverse; people of color may not be as interested in nature travel; potential employees from less privileged backgrounds haven’t had the travel experience we were looking for, etc.
But these aren’t reasons—they are excuses. And they can, and must, be overcome.
To tackle the challenge, a small group of employees, with no formal training or experience but with a shared passion and a willingness to learn and to make mistakes, came together as a task force to make Nat Hab a more diverse, welcoming and inclusive environment. Below are some of the first actions we are taking.
To ensure that we don’t lose ourselves in what could feel like a nebulous and almost arrestingly monumental goal, we divided our task force into small subcommittees—some focused internally, others with the task of reaching out far beyond our own community.
Once a month, we convene online JEDI Coffee Talks and turn off the phones for an hour so our entire staff has the option to participate. We send out links in advance to short readings and videos. Each session is introduced by one of our committee members, and we then break into smaller groups for a discussion of the topics, which have so far included Diversity in the Outdoors, Microaggressions, Bringing Your Whole Self to Work, and Inclusive Meeting Cultures.
We have established a marketing subcommittee that has drafted a checklist to consider when developing or reviewing marketing materials: Is our imagery welcoming to travelers and potential employees who are Black, Indigenous or people of color (BIPOC)? Are we using language that could discourage someone from a traditionally marginalized group from participating in our trips? This group is also compiling a list of creators and influencers from underrepresented groups to help expand the points of view portrayed in our marketing, and it is working on a dedicated web page that will keep our travelers and potential employees up to date on our JEDI initiatives—keeping us publicly accountable as well.
Another subcommittee is focused on networking. We’re reaching out to partners in our industry to brainstorm what’s working and what is not when it comes to such institutional change in other companies. We also welcome connections to BIPOC travel advisors and associations so that we can ask and learn what resources might be most appropriate and appreciated to aid in their success in our industry.
We’re updating our hiring practices to remove barriers for applicants from traditionally marginalized groups. We are revising the language in our job descriptions and on the hiring page of our website, adopting inclusive interviewing methods, seeking to post positions where they may be seen by a broader audience, and considering grit and passion over previous opportunities to have traveled the world.
We are presenting to career centers at historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and through organizations at more diverse colleges to raise awareness of adventure travel as a viable career path. We emphasize that all skill sets are needed in the travel business—sales, finance, computing, etc.—and that people come to this industry from a wide range of backgrounds and experiences.
We are working with partners to develop a mentorship program for members of Northern Great Plains tribal communities who are trying to grow tourism opportunities on reservation lands.
We hope that you, too, will take inspiration from our efforts. Our aim is nothing less than a better and more inclusive adventure travel industry.
If you’d like to collaborate and share ideas with us, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to contact our task force.